By: IOL Motoring Staff
Toyota's Land Cruiser Prado is renowned for finding that delicate balance between on-road comfort and off-road prowess and the latest model simply adds some polish to that well-proven formula.
While its basic shape and rugged body-on-frame architecture are retained, the SUV gains a muscular new front end headlined by a huge vertically-stacked grille that's bound to command attention. It's flanked by higher-mounted headlights that flow into the grille like intimidating teeth. At the back, the eagle eyed will notice restyled taillights and wider licence plate panel.
The raft of interior changes includes a new upper centre console as well as fresh interior inlays, fabrics and colour schemes. Perched between the driver's instruments is a new Optitron metre with 4.2-inch colour display with animations that can show the vehicle's angle, diff lock operation and what the traction control is doing at each wheel.
Furthermore, a new switch panel gives drivers more intuitive control of the vehicle's off-road systems.
FIVE TERRAIN MODES
All five-speed automatic models come with Toyota's Multi-terrain Select gizmo with five terrain modes: Mud & Sand, Loose Rock, Mogul, Rock and Dirt & Rock.
Dial it in to match the terrain you're about tackle and it automatically modifies the throttle, braking and traction control systems to suit.
As before, the Prado has a permanent four-wheel drive system complete with a rear diff lock and a Crawl Control function that manipulates the engine and brakes to basically do the job of a low-range gearbox when the driver needs to crawl up or down a steep slope at walking pace.
To make life even easier, the Multi-terrain Monitor can display the view ahead on the vehicle's 7-inch central display screen. This system can also show the locations of obstacles detected by the clearance sonar.
To optimise comfort and road holding both on and off tar, engineers upgraded both the standard suspension system and the optional electronically modulated Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System.
BEEFED UP DIESEL
As before, buyers can choose between a 3-litre turbodiesel and 4-litre V6 petrol engine.
The diesel has been upgraded to make it Euro 5+ compliant and its outputs have increased to 140kW at 3400rpm and 420Nm from 1600rpm (up from 120kW/400Nm). However, Toyota South Africa cannot confirm, at this stage, whether local models will receive the engine upgrade.
According to manufacturer claims, the upgraded diesel Prado will accelerate from 0-100km/h in 11.0 seconds, reach a top speed of 175km/h and sip an average of 8.1 l/100km on the combined cycle.
The 3956cc V6 petrol model now pushes 207kW and 385Nm, gets to 100 in 10.9 seconds, reaches 180km/h and guzzles 10.8 l/100km.
Expect to see the new Prado in South Africa in November this year, fresh from making its first local appearance at the Johannesburg International Motor Show in October.