Facelifted LandCruiser Prado smarter, safer and better looking jack of all trades
The third generation – technically the fourth generation, the first generation Prado wasn’t sold in Australia – Toyota LandCruiser Prado range has come in for a second major facelift, with Toyota placing an emphasis on active safety technology, value and smoother styling inside and out.
We sampled the mid-spec Prado GXL fitted with the six-speed automatic transmission, and carries a recommended retail price of $62,990 plus on road costs.
Toyota has dumped the 4.0 litre petrol V6 from the Prado range, citing slow sales, so the only engine option available is the 2.8 litre four-cylinder diesel, which produces 130kW @ 3400rpm and 450Nm @ 1600-2400rpm, unchanged from the previous version.
The diesel powerplant provides the Prado with strong, torquey performance, and with a powerband starting so low in the rev range means that the Prado is ideal for towing and tackling rough terrain.
The engine isn’t the quickest, nor is it particularly refined or quiet, but it’s up to the job and it is relatively efficient. Toyota says the Prado will do 8 litres per 100 kilometres on a combined cycle. We achieved around 10.1 litres across a mix of country and peak hour bumper to bumper traffic.
Now, for the new driver assistance and safety tech: the Prado GXL now gets autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning. All worthwhile additions, especially for something that’ll most likely be used as a family hauler.
Toyota’s adaptive cruise control seems to be a blessing and a curse at the same time: the system is relatively quick in identifying changing traffic situations but can’t be activated at speeds below 50km/h, which is frustrating, as an array of other systems on the market can bring the car to a stop, and then resume with traffic. Still, Toyota’s system is handy on long freeway cruises.
The lane departure warning emits a high pitched tone every time you stray over the lines and takes its job very seriously. You’ll rarely drift out of your lane ever again.
Other key changes include wonderfully powerful bi-LED headlamps which aid night driving immensely with their crisp white light. A safety feature within themselves.
Weirdly, though, despite all this newfound tech – all of which is to be commended – the GXL still misses out on front parking sensors, automatic headlights and wipers. We understand that Toyota needs to keep a bit of distance between its model grades, but the Prado GXL is a $60k+ car and it needs to be specified accordingly. The omission of the automatic lights and wipers are an inconvenience, but the front parking sensors are almost a necessity given that Prados will regularly navigate school and shopping centre car parks.
Aesthetics are subjective. We like the new front end though, and we think that it brings the Prado closer to its LandCruiser brother. It’s a similar story inside: the dashboard is smoother and less blocky. Disappointingly, some of the plastics were hard and shiny, and clash with the GXL’s soft, velour trim. We’re not so sure how well that velour is going to hold up if it comes into contact with mud during the course of an off-road adventure.
What we like:
- New safety kit
- Improved value
Not so much:
- Misses out on auto lights, wipers and front parking sensors
- Still a big cumbersome thing to drive. It’s no tank, but if you’re not going to do any off-roading or serious towing, the Kluger is probably the car for you.
- Cheap and hard interior plastics
- Diesel engine can lack refinement
Sale or no sale?
If we were in the market for a well-made, carefully executed and proper 4×4 with seven seats and a newfound sense of style, we would buy a Prado GXL.