Spiritual Return for Iconic a[euro][approximately]Aussie' Off-Roader; Grant Edwards Heads for the Snowy Mountains to See Where It All Began

Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia), November 16, 2013 | Go to article overview

Spiritual Return for Iconic a[euro][approximately]Aussie' Off-Roader; Grant Edwards Heads for the Snowy Mountains to See Where It All Began


VITAL STATISTICS

Model: Toyota LandCruiser Prado.

Details: Five-door seven-seat large four-wheel drive sports utility vehicle.

Engines: 4.0-litre V6 petrol generating maximum power of 202kW @ 5600rpm and peak torque of 381Nm @ 4400rpm; 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel 127kW @ 3400rpm and 410Nm @ 1600-2800rpm.

Transmissions: Six-speed automatic or five-speed automatic.

Consumption: Petrol - 11.5 litres/100km; Diesel - 8.5L/100km (a), 8.8L/100km (m).

CO2: Petrol - 271g/km; Diesel - 225g/km (a), 232g/km (m).

TEEMING rain, snow-capped mountains and freezing cold conditions in the middle of November.

Daunting? Not for the Toyota LandCruiser Prado.

Sitting in the heart of the Snowy Mountains, this is the birthplace of Toyota's rugged off-roader family.

Sir Leslie Thiess first imported Cruisers to work on the hydro-electric scheme back in the 1950s.

Being a land of extremes, we're the ultimate test bed for the LandCruiser.

Chief engineer Sadayoshi Koyari says the motto is: "If it can survive in Australia, it can survive anywhere".

The latest chapter in the Japanese brand's presence Down Under has just been written with the upgraded LandCruiser Prado.

It arrives in a trimmed line-up, down to 11 variants after the three-door was canned due to slow sales.

There are a host of tweaks inside and out, with the same petrol and diesel drivetrains carried over.

The entry-level GX remains $55,990, but all other models have increased retail prices. Range-topping Kakadu models have risen the most, $1455, which lifts the bottom line to $91,590 for the petrol and $92,590 for the oil-burner.

Comfort

One thing that has not been altered is the exceptional space.

Five adults can appreciate the first two rows and, while the third row is best left to children, smaller adults can cope for shorter trips.

Getting into the third row is now easier courtesy of a wider seat fold angle (from 33.8 to 46 degrees).

For the driver there is a new-look speedometer and tachometer on GX and GXL. These grades have an LCD multi-information display.

Up-spec VX and Kakadu variants have a groovier three-dimensional design with thinner white needles and blue illumination around the edges.

On the road

While many of the changes may appear superficial there are some vital new inclusions under the skin. Probably the most important is trailer sway control.

Given the proliferation of Prados towing around the country it's a pivotal safety feature. The technology helps suppress swaying that can be caused by crosswinds, poor roads and sharp steering.

Whether on the open road or the beaten track, the Prado feels at home.

Quiet and smooth, covering big distances is done with ease. Both the petrol and diesel variants lope along beautifully on the highway with minimal fuss.

Yet its dexterity to fill the family brief while also being able to get down and dirty bolsters the Prado appeal.

It features some outstanding off-road technology, which enables drivers of all ability to tackle challenging terrain. …

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