2017 Toyota Kluger Road Test and Review…
The 2017 Toyota Kluger is advertised as a vehicle designed for families, and designed to attract attention. It’s actually pretty good at both.
This is a seven-seat SUV that has earned support from a legion of drivers, people who appreciate Toyota’s consistent build quality and reliability, as well as predictable running costs and resale value.
However, critics suggested the previous model was somewhat thirsty, with other makers snapping at Toyota’s heels. Think our 2016 Car of the Year, the Mazda CX-9.
The Kluger for 2017 has had a face-lift, and its new look is appealing, businesslike and evolutionary rather than radical.
I always seek the opinions of others when it comes to car styling; and it was certainly well received, especially the new silver trimmed grille. So part of that advertising promise has been kept, yes it does attract attention.
How does it rate for a family? Seven seats, plenty of room for back seat passengers, and loads of storage space if third row seats are not in use and folded down.
Comfortable? Absolutely. Buyers would have to be hard to please if they don’t like the fit and finish, even in the base model.
It is beautifully put together, and the feeling you get is that this car is strong and safe, and somehow reassuring.
The dash is well thought out. The infotainment system works smoothly, Bluetooth pairs almost instantly, and functions are easy to negotiate.
There is one feature I really like, and I hadn’t noticed one for years. It’s a slim parcel tray below the dash, that runs from the left of the driver, nearly across to the passenger’s door.
How handy is that!
Items placed there are not readily visible to prying eyes out in the street, and it’s perfect for keys, a mobile phone, and maybe a coin wallet for those inevitable parking meters.
How does it drive? Well the 2017 Toyota Kluger comes with an upgraded 3.5 litre V6 petrol engine, with claimed improvements in performance and fuel consumption thanks to direct injection.
This is teamed to an eight speed automatic transmission.
Power is rated at 218kW with 350Nm of torque. Petrol consumption is listed at 9.1L/100km, claimed to be a 10% improvement; all well and good, but I got nowhere near that during my time with the car, in fact, my average after a week was 15.1 litres per 100km.
It handles well, steering is accurate and the Kluger is most enjoyable on a long haul, or just the commute.
Perhaps a perfect car for heavy traffic, because it’s comfortable, quiet – unless you push it along under stiff acceleration – and you get a commanding view of your surroundings.
There are a couple of issues I would like to point out, although they are unlikely to be deal breakers.
- There was no automatic stop/start, which would certainly help with fuel economy.
- It comes with a foot pedal parking brake. One of my pet aversions.
And where are the extra safety features on the entry level models? Things like blind-spot monitoring, lane assistance, cross traffic alert and city emergency braking?
As the 2017 Toyota Kluger is pitched at families, then surely all possible safety measures should be standard across the range, not just restricted to the top model.
All in all though the package is very nice, and there’s a lot to like. With this improved version of the already popular Kluger SUV, Toyota seems set to win over a host of new fans.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2017 Toyota Kluger
Engine: 3.5 litre V6 petrol producing 218kW/350Nm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Safety: Five stars
Origin: United States
Price: from $43,550 (GXL from $57,550)