AMONG A SEA OF DUAL-CAB UTES, TOYOTA’S PRADO REMAINS THE CHAMPION 4X4 WAGON.
SOME 525 less Toyota Prados were sold in 2016 than in 2015, although Prado retains fifth spot overall in the 4x4 top 10 and is comfortably the best-selling 4x4 wagon. This slow erosion of sales continues the recent trend, but it wasn’t as bad as 12 months ago when sales dropped by 857 units.
In what’s been a volatile 4x4 market in many ways, the Prado has been a steady hand at fifth place for a few years now as others around it move up (Ranger) or down (Navara) – in the case of the Jeep Grand Cherokee both up and down within a very short period of time.
The fact the Prado still sells nearly 15,000 a year is testament to both the vehicle itself and the strength of the Toyota brand, given the core design now dates back to 2009. The Prado has continued to find favour with buyers despite a significant shift away from traditional 4x4 wagons and towards the now fashionable 4x4 dual-cab utes.
What’s more, the popularity of dual-cab utes has spawned a swag of ute-based 4x4 wagons also trying to eat away at Prado sales. The all-new Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, although smaller than the Prado, has come from nowhere to sell more than 6000 units in 2016, while other newcomers like Toyota’s own Fortuner (3871 sales) and Ford’s Everest (3614 sales) must also be having a negative impact on the Prado. Even sales of Isuzu’s MU-X and Holden’s Colorado 7 (now Trailblazer) are up, proving there’s still plenty of interest in 4x4 wagons even if the love is being spread more thinly.
The Prado itself has also undergone change, and 2016 represents the first full year of sales of the 2.8-litre diesel engine and new six-speed automatic gearbox. The 2.8-litre diesel replaced the 3.0-litre diesel that first saw service in 2006 in the previousgeneration 120 Prado, while the new sixspeed automatic replaced the previous five-speed auto. These changes add to the Prado’s refinement rather than performance and, as ever, the Prado remains a comfortable and accomplished tourer and a more-than-capable off-roader.