The new Land Cruiser Prado, which hits South African streets and trails this week, comes with more than just a new face - Toyota has redesigned the interior, added some safety features and refined the suspension.
Yet that face will be the big talking point.
The 2014 Prado features a boldly oversized grille, which Toyota says was inspired by Land Cruiser's heritage, and a redesigned bumper. The grille is flanked by new headlights, which feature LED daylight running lamps in the case of the VX model. Little else has changed on the design front, with the exception of new alloy wheels (17-inch on the TX and 18-inch on the VX) and new taillight clusters with clear lens blocks.
MORE MODERN INSIDE
Moving inside, occupants are greeted by a redesigned dashboard that features classier materials and details as well as a new multi-media audio system linked to a seven-inch colour screen that also displays reverse camera images. VX models gain a blind spot monitoring system.
Automatic climate control and leather seat trim are standard across the board, and the front seats now feature power-adjustment (eight way for the driver) with memory function.
Furthermore, the forward-folding angle of the second-row seats has been increased by 12 degrees, making access to the third-row even easier.
IMPROVED ROAD COMFORT
To enhance passenger comfort and driver control, the Prado sports an improved version of Toyota's Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, while VX buyers gain the added benefit of Adaptive Variable Suspension and height-adjustable rear air suspension. Trailer sway control is now standard across the range.
No changes to report on beneath the bonnet, where the Prado still offers a choice between the 120kW/400Nm 3-litre turbodiesel and 202kW/381Nm 4-litre V6 petrol. According to Toyota, the V6 petrol will guzzle 11.5 litres per 100km on the combined cycle; but no need to marry an oil company heir/heiress if you opt for the oil burner, which sips a more reasonable 8.5 l/100km.
Both engines are mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with a sequential shifting function.
ADVANCED OFF-ROADING GADGETS
The gearbox is linked up to a permanent four-wheel drive system with a lockable Torsen centre differential and two-speed transfer case. VX Prados take the off-roading cause further with a rear diff lock and Crawl control, which is a type of low-speed off-road cruise control.
The VX also features a Multi-Terrain Monitor and Multi-Terrain Select for off-roading. The former uses the colour screen on the dashboard and various cameras to give drivers a view of potential obstacles to the front, side or rear of the vehicle while crawling through deepest, darkest… wherever.
Multi-Terrain select, now operated by a dial, is similar to Land Rover's Terrain Response system and adapts the acceleration, braking and traction control to one of six terrain settings dialled in by the driver.
4.0 V6 TX - R632 200
3.0 DT TX - R642 000
4.0 V6 VX - R728 200
3.0 DT VX - R732 400
Included in the price is a three-year/100 000km warranty and five-year/90 000km service plan.