Toyota has updated the popular Prado range, with a new turbo-diesel powerplant the headline act. At 2.8-litres capacity, the latest diesel engine is smaller than the one it replaces.
However, maximum power rises by 3kW and maximum torque by 40Nm when mated with an auto gearbox. Six-speed manual diesel models deliver lower maximum torque of 420Nm, instead of the new six-speed auto’s 450Nm.
The Prado’s new 1GD-FTV diesel engine is basically the same as used in the latest Hilux and the new Fortuner, albeit with the addition of a balance-shaft for added smoothness.
Performance from our auto-only, top-of-the-range Kakadu test vehicle was solid enough, though hardly startling. At times, a bit of extra grunt wouldn’t have gone astray to hustle the Prado’s near-2500kg mass along. Away from the blacktop, it feels more convincing, thanks to maximum torque coming on stream low down between 1400 and 2600rpm and a nicely progressive throttle.
The Prado remains a highly capable off-roader and the Kakadu’s specific features include constant full-time 4WD, low-range transfer case, centre and rear diff locks, crawl-control system, downhill assist control, hill-start assist, multi-terrain select (settings for rock/dirt, loose rock, mud, and sand) and height-variable suspension.
The multiple views afforded by the four-camera terrain monitor are handy for spotting hazards off-road and when manoeuvring in tight carparks. But the wide, side-hinged tailgate is heavy and can be awkward in parking spots with limited space behind the vehicle.
The top-shelf Prado isn’t cheap, but the standard equipment list is extensive and includes driver assistance technologies such as rear cross-traffic alert, trailer sway control, and blind-spot monitor.
It also has seating for seven (with curtain airbags for all rows) and good oddments – stowage space, a refrigerated centre console box, and a 220-volt outlet in the cargo area.
Row three seats, better suited to kids or limited adult use, power fold and stow in the cargo area floor, while the middle row slides fore and aft.
With a comfortable ride, user-friendly cabin and the ability to eat up the miles with ease, the Prado makes a good choice for touring. And the Kakadu’s standard Blu-ray rear-seat entertainment system with remote and three wireless headphones, DAB+ radio, and 17-speaker JBL audio should help keep everyone entertained.