TOY­OTA LAND CRUISER PRADO 3.0DT VX-L

Driven - - Review Term -

THE POP­U­LAR TOY­OTA PRADO RE­CENTLY RE­CEIVED A BIT OF A NIP AND TUCK FOR ITS MID-LIFE RE­FRESH. BERNIE HELLBERG SPENT A COU­PLE OF WEEKS LIV­ING WITH THE GOOD-AS-NEW MEGA SUV.

When Toy­ota in­tro­duced the ‘new’ Prado back in 2014, it reaf­firmed the brand’s dom­i­nance in the big and ca­pa­ble SUV mar­ket. Lead­ing the field is a po­si­tion that Toy­ota is gen­er­ally com­fort­able with, the Prado is spe­cial, even by the Ja­panese brand’s high stan­dards.

Hence, the prospect of spend­ing my sum­mer break be­hind the wheel of the icon it­self got me quite ex­cited.

LOOK­ING GOOD

As large sport util­ity ve­hi­cles go, the Prado is one of the bet­ter-look­ing ones. Not that the words “bet­ter look­ing” do this beast jus­tice, it is hand­some, yes, rugged even, but in an ur­bane way that echoes the five gen­er­a­tions of Prado that have gone be­fore. It is big, bold, in­tim­i­dat­ing, and re­fined, all in equal mea­sure.

The most notable changes to the cars ex­te­rior fea­tures are the vastly re­worked grille, head­light set-up, and ma­cho-fied bon­net lid with . If you thought that the Prado was im­pos­ing be­fore, the sig­nif­i­cant changes to the nose have ratch­eted that up by two notches, at least. The rear has also been en­hanced with new tail­lights.

A new se­lec­tion of wheels have also made their way onto the en­hanced Prado range, with vari­a­tions be­tween the TX mod­els 17” wheels, and the high-gloss painted 18-inch­ers of the VX and VX-L de­riv­a­tives.

In­side there have been some en­hance­ments too. The in­te­rior is still dom­i­nated by a mas­sive cen­tral stack of air-con­di­tion­ing vents, a huge touch screen, off-road but­tons, and the cli­mate con­trol sys­tem. Leather trim­mings dom­i­nate the in­te­rior – even the doors are leather lined on the VX and VX-L, with prom­i­nent am­bi­ent light­ing strips in the dash and doors that an el­e­gant touch to the over­all in­te­rior am­bi­ence, es­pe­cially at night.

Elec­tric seats, heated and cooled, elec­tri­cally-ad­justed steer­ing wheel, satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion, and a re­mark­able 14-speaker sound sys­tem are also on-board.

VER­SA­TIL­ITY IS KEY

De­spite all of its fancy in­te­rior fea­tures, the Prado would be noth­ing if not prac­ti­cal. Toy­ota has built this suc­cess story on the back of Prado’s lux­ury and ver­sa­til­ity, and with all seats fold­ing com­pletely flat in the new car as well, open­ing up its mas­sive load space, this tra­di­tion is main­tained.

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