Land Cruiser Prado: More luxury, comfort and prestige
With an off-road heritage spanning more than 65 years, Land Cruiser remains unique in its segment for an ability to combine outstanding quality, durability and reliability with unrivalled off-road performance and ever-greater levels of luxury, comfort and ownership prestige.
Land Cruiser is the most widely available model in the global Toyota product range – being sold in more than 190 countries worldwide. Its unmatched off-road abilities have earned it a rock-solid reputation as one of the world's toughest and most reliable 4x4s.
Having test driven the Prado 3.0 VX for a week, I can attest to this reputation. The vehicle has a more modern and robust exterior styling, sophisticated, comfortable and higher quality interior, and improvements to its user-friendliness, both on and off-road.
The all-terrain support systems help even unskilled drivers make the most of Land Cruiser's off-road performance. They also add to the overall mix of on-board tools which makes the Prado one of the most technically advanced, safe, pleasurable and easy-to-use 4x4 vehicles in the world.
The Prado range has traditionally consisted of two grades, the midlevel TX and high-grade VX. For the first time a new third grade, called VX-L, has been added to the model line-up.The VX-L model combines all the features of the VX whilst adding a power-operated tilt-andslide moonroof and comprehensive active safety assistance package to the mix.
New-look frontal elements such as the bonnet, grille, headlamps, bumper and wings draw on structural elements from the model's design heritage.
The standard convenience specification list befits the stature of the Land Cruiser Prado. It includes automatic dual-zone climate control, six-speaker touch audio system, electrically adjustable driver's seat, illuminated entry, cruise control, park distance control, keyless entry, three power outlets, Bluetooth connectivity, USB, third row seating and reverse camera.
High-grade models add memory function for the driver's seat, a 14-speaker premium audio system with woofer, multi-information display, power tilt-and-telescopic steering adjustment, rain-sensing wipers and power-fold-down third row seats.
Sadly for us here in South Africa, we have to make do with the aging, but proven 3.0 D-4D engine, offering a lethargic 120kW and 400Nm available between 1 600–2 800 rpm. This is mated to a fivespeed automatic transmission with gear ratios optimised for low-speed tractability and off-road use.This engine, we are told, can only be replaced with the newer six-cylinder
unit found in the Australian versions if and when the quality of our diesel fuel improves.
The 4.0 litre petrol engine uses a six-speed automatic transmission. Maximum power is 202 kW at 5 600rpm, with peak torque of 381Nm delivered at 4 400rpm.
All Prado models feature Toyota's Active Traction Control system, which actively regulates wheel-slip by directing torque to the wheel with the most traction.The system is capable of applying braking pressure to wheels individually to maximize traction. A low-range transmission with user-selectable rear and centre diff-locks and Hill Assist Control forms part of the standard ensemble.
Adapting to terrain
The Multi-Terrain Select system
(VX and VX-L only), operated by a centrally mounted rotary knob, allows the driver to select the correct mode depending on the road ahead. The system has five pre-configured modes (mud and sand, loose rock, mogul, rock and dirt, and rock) to tailor the vehicle's traction control, transmission characteristics, power delivery and suspension settings to the terrain at hand. Downhill Assist Control is included on VX and VX-L models.
The 4.0 V6 derivatives additionally feature Drive Mode Select which offers five modes; Comfort, Sport, Sport +, Normal and Eco; to adapt vehicle dynamics according to driver preference.
The package includes a PreCollision System with pedestrian detection function, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert and Automatic High Beam.The Adaptive Cruise Control system uses radar sensors in the front grille to monitor the distance to the vehicle in front and applies corrective action via both throttle and brake inputs to maintain a specified gap.
The Prado has quite a formidable list of rivals such as the newly launched Nissan Patrol and the pricier Land Rover Discovery. What the Prado offers is peace of mind motoring which will last long after you decide you want to sell it.
Technical information supplied by Toyota SA.