NO FRILLS GETS THE JOB DONE
TOYOTA’S latest facelift for the Prado replaces the vertical ‘elephant ears’ headlight design with more conventional, horizontal headlamps, tougher looking grille, new bumper and dark accented taillights.
Most variants gain automatic emergency braking but not manuals (such as the one we tested, the GX five-seater from $58,450 drive-away, the cheapest ticket into a Prado). Auto lifts the price to $61,600 and the auto-only seven seat GX is $64,200 drive-away.
The audio touchscreen is bigger, navigation and CD player are standard, though there’s still no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The base model gets a convenient sensor key with push button start but not auto headlights.
The warranty is only three years/100,000km, service intervals are short at six months/10,000km but the first six services are just $220 each.
The GX is a comfortable place to be. The quality of the materials is excellent, the seats are super comfortable and supportive, and there is ample storage in the doors, glovebox and a giant, deep centre console. There’s no shortage of room front or back.
The Prado is surprisingly refined. It’s a quiet and smooth operator with plenty of sound deadening between the cabin and diesel engine. The off-road tyres are quiet, too. Seven airbags and the Prado retains its earlier five-star ANCAP rating; if tested to current standards, the lack of automatic emergency braking (AEB) would make it ineligible for a five-star score.
A rear camera is standard but the display is not as clear or as sharp as in other cars, or other Toyotas.
The guiding lines still don’t turn with the steering and rear parking sensors are not standard on the GX.
The 2.8-litre turbo diesel can’t match the power of some rivals but it’s a smooth and efficient operator.
The six-speed manual is a gem, working well with the engine’s torque, but towing capacity is 2500kg; the auto can haul 3000kg.
Ride comfort is excellent thanks to the cushy off-road tyres but they don’t turn as sharply as road-biased rubber, so you need to take it easy in roundabouts and tight turns, especially in the wet. Other models get a digital speedo. Long range fuel tanks mean you can get more than 1100km between refills.
Verdict: Save some money, don’t worry about the chrome bits. The Prado GX tops my list as a seriously capable off-road wagon that doesn’t cost the earth.
The Toyota Prado GX.