Joel Helmes road tests and reviews the 2014 Toyota Prado.
The Toyota recipe for success is simple; offer quality vehicles that are functional, easy to live with and do what they promise.
The Toyota LandCruiser Prado fits perfectly into that strategy.
Priced from $55,990, the Prado range offers plenty of choice with four different specification levels to choose from.
There are two engines on offer across the range – 3.0 litre turbo diesel or 4.0 litre V6 petrol.
The GXL is one grade up from the entry-level GX and is available with both engines; I had the V6 fitted with the standard five-speed automatic transmission, a combination that will set you back from $63,190.
So, what’s it like? It’s good, really good in fact.
The V6 engine is quiet and provides good acceleration from a standing stop and at speed. I averaged 13.2L/100km in mostly city driving, the official combined figure is 11.5L/100km, sure, we aren’t talking hybrid like consumption, but for a big V6 SUV its actually pretty good.
For such a large vehicle the Prado handles quite well, the ride is superb and the steering magnificent.
I also took the Prado off-road and across corrugations and the rough stuff the big Toyota was completely predictable, capable and confidence inspiring. The approach and departure angles are impressive and despite crawling over some fairly serious sandstone nothing underneath rubbed or scraped.
Inside the cabin the Prado provides seating for seven, legroom in the front two rows is generous, you lose a little in the middle row if you have passengers in seats six and seven, though overall space isn’t an issue anywhere in the cabin.
Access to that third row of seats though isn’t the best I have seen and the actual size of the seats would really only suit children, or adults only on short trips. Kudos to the Toyota engineers though for the interesting way the third row of seats fold into the floor, very clever!
The Prado GXL seats are very comfortable and supportive, though more under leg support in the front seats would be welcomed.
From the driver’s seat visibility is excellent, thanks mostly to the sizeable wing-mirrors, which also fold in at the push of a button.
The gauges are clear and the leather wrapped steering wheel a real highlight. The driver info screen though is a bit dated.
The air-conditioning control panel gets a pass-mark, though the inclusion of a digital clock on the display screen probably makes things a bit busy.
The GXL comes standard with a reversing camera and rear parking sensors, though satellite navigation is a very notable omission and isn’t even an optional extra!
I was very pleased to see the GXL grade Prado get rear air-conditioning controls (which you can override from the front) and four good-sized air-vents in the roof.
Cabin storage areas are well placed and generously sized and when the third-row of seats is down the cargo area is generously sized.
The Prado also features a very handy 220v power outlet in the back!
As you would expect the 2014 LandCruiser Prado boasts a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Summing it up: Yes, the price tag is substantial. But, the fit and finish, the confidence inspiring drive and overall feeling of comfort and quality provided by the Prado is very hard to go past.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 4.0 litre petrol V6 delivering 202kW and 381Nm
Transmission: Five-speed auto
Price: From $63,190 (GXL petrol)