Motoring

VX specs in the new Toyota Land Cruiser Prado make it a sweet ride

The new Prado might not be flawless, but it will get you to the top, says Thomas Falkiner

19 November 2017 - 00:00 By Thomas Falkiner

Be honest now. Is this really an all-new Prado or just a facelift?
This is simply an updated version of the same Land Cruiser Prado that's been around for almost a decade now. Last refreshed in 2013, this facelift brings some noticeable changes in the exterior aesthetics department.
While the rear gets racy C-pillar taillights (C for Cruiser, get it?), the front benefits from new headlamps, apron and bonnet. It's a rootin'-tootin', square-jawed makeover that not only gives the Prado a much-needed shot of machismo but also brings it in line, looks-wise, with its bigger Land Cruiser 200 brother.The "new" Prado has also grown in length - 60mm - and all model grades now come with LED daytime-running lights plus an automatic light-control system as standard fare.
Is a new model grade available?
Yes. You can now order your Prado in range-topping VX-L trim. Sporting all the luxuries native to the VX (pretty much everything you want), it throws in a sunroof as well as some Toyota Safety Sense technologies to keep you safer on the road.
The package includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection function, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert and automatic high beam assist.
Toyota seemed particularly pleased with the latter, even though it's been around since the late '90s. Better late than never I guess. VX models now all come standard with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, while even the "lowly" TX scores ventilated seats plus a cool box in the centre console.
Has the interior been brought up to Land Rover spec yet?
Nope. Despite Toyota's efforts, the Prado is, in comparison with European rivals, still something of an ergonomic shambles, with switches and dials and control knobs scattered everywhere around the cabin. It's also home to some questionable silver plastics that look as if they've been repurposed from an old Kenwood boom box.Although having said this, everything is well pieced together and feels game for a life of hard knocks. The seats are comfortable and refinement levels are straight out of the top-drawer. As I said previously, spec level on VX and VX-L models is generous: satellite navigation, a 14-speaker sound system, Bluetooth integration and power-fold-down third-row seats being some of the highlights.
Is there anything different under that chunky new bonnet?
Toyota has decided not to mess with the formula, so you still have the option of the tried-and-trusted 3.0-litre D-4D diesel or 4.0-litre V6 petrol. (Why anybody would pick the latter is beyond me.) While the diesel might not be the most powerful motor in its class, it offers tons of torque (400Nm) and reasonable refinement, not to mention tidy fuel economy.

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