Toyota Kluger GXL an ideal family hauler, however it needs to be better value
The fully-equipped Toyota Kluger Grande showed us that the third generation Toyota Kluger is incredibly spacious, pleasant to drive and is powered by Toyota’s sweet 3.5 litre V6. But should you want a Kluger with a touch of luxury but without the $70k odd price tag, there’s the Toyota Kluger GXL.
The Kluger GXL sits between the base GX and flagship Grande in the Toyota Kluger family, and as you would expect, it is priced in between the two as $55,190 and offers a middling level of standard equipment.
As per the rest of the Kluger range, the Kluger GXL is available is two or all-wheel drive. The car tested was equipped with the optional all-wheel drive system.
Standard features include tri-zone climate control (the middle row gets their own climate controller mounted on the back of the centre console), leather trim for all seven seats with seat heaters for the front two seats, a reversing camera, parking sensors, keyless entry and push button start and automatic headlamps and wipers. Satellite navigation and front parking sensors are not offered on the GXL.
There’s also quite possibly one of the biggest centre consoles in the business which could comfortably house any sort of paraphernalia a family could throw at (or into) it. Head and leg room for the front two rows are excellent but the third row is only suitable for children. The third row of seats also folds flat and is incredibly easy to raise and lower.
The interior is well laid out, with a no nonsense and ergonomic design and that shelf integrated on the bottom of the dashboard remains clever and unique. However, what we did notice this time around is that the Kluger feels decidedly American.
As aforementioned, all Australian-delivered Klugers are sourced from Toyota’s Princeton plant in Indiana in the United States and many of the interior plastics look and feel American. The seats too, are very large and offer minimal support when compared to Korean rivals such as the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento.
Mechanically the Kluger GXL features the same 3.5 litre V6 and six-speed automatic as its GX and Grande siblings. Power and torque are rated at 201kW @ 6200rpm and 337Nm @ 4700rpm. The V6 spins freely and moves the Kluger along with ease. The auto box can take too long to kick down during overtaking, though which can cause the engine to labour unnecessarily.
Combined fuel consumption is rated at 10.6 litres per 100 kilometres on a combined cycle, and we averaged 11.6 litres during the test week.
Ride is compliant and comfortable, and the handling was acceptable for a mid-size/large SUV.
The Toyota Kluger GXL is the ideal family friend, then. Well, yes and no. As a standard alone offering the Kluger GXL definitely ticks all the right boxes, but when compared to its direct rivals the Hyundai Santa Fe Elite and Kia Sorento SLi, things start to work against the Kluger.
Both Koreans are fitted with satellite navigation as standard and they’re offered with Hyundai Group’s excellent 2.2 litre turbo diesel. Additionally, they’re both covered by more comprehensive warranties than the three year/100,000 kilometre deal offered by Toyota. Most crucially, despite being better equipped, diesel powered and better backed, both the Hyundai and Kia are at least $5,000 cheaper than the Kluger GXL. These are all important factors for the family SUV shopper.
The Toyota Kluger GXL is covered by Toyota’s three year/100,000 kilometre warranty.
Name: Toyota Kluger GXL
Engine: 3456cc petrol V6, [email protected] and 337Nm @ 4700rpm, six-speed automatic
Price: $55,190 plus on road costs
Options: Metallic paint ($550)
Country of origin: United States
Price as tested: $55,740 plus on road costs