Toyota Prados are highly popular in the new and used market and equally at home performing urban family duties, tackling tough off-road terrain or towing up to their 2500kg limit.
It’s an accomplished ‘jack of all trades’.
The 120 series was released in 2004, with engine, transmission and equipment upgrades in November 2006. The new 1KD-FTV 3.0-litre turbo intercooled four-cylinder diesel delivered substantially more power and torque than the equivalent capacity engine it replaced. The quad-cam variable valve timing 4.0-litre petrol V6 carried over from earlier 120 series. Both engines were offered in the four grades – GX, GXL, VX and Grande. Both engines were now mated, model dependent, to either a six-speed manual or five-speed auto.
The V6 is a respectable performer, but can be thirsty. The diesel’s flexibility, torque and fuel economy makes it an excellent choice, especially combined with the auto. With two less cylinders registration will also be cheaper than the V6.
A notable exception to standard features on entry-level GX models was ABS brakes; they were part of an option pack that included brake assist, electronic brake force distribution, cruise control and leather wrapped gear-shifter and steering wheel.
Buyers wanting stability control and curtain airbags, in addition to the standard on all models dual front airbags, will need to look for the VX or Grande versions.
Eight seats are standard, though third row seats fold up to the sides when not in use impinging on cargo space. Temporary removal is possible but awkward.
Comfortable ride and 180-litre fuel tanks make it excellent for extended touring. Handling is secure but rather wallowy when pushed. The rear mounted spare wheel can block rearward vision somewhat so some owners fit reversing cameras to assist with parking what is a large vehicle
Off road Prado is highly capable, but arguably is out-classed by bigger sibling LandCruiser. That said plenty of owners are likely to give up before the Prado does.
The 120 series was replaced by the 150 series in November 2009.
Prado upholds Toyota’s reputation for reliability, but avoid vehicles that haven’t been serviced as scheduled. Don’t neglect scheduled diesel timing belt renewal either – to do so could prove expensive. Check for body or mechanical damage under the vehicle from off-road use. Also look for rust below decks from use on the beach or other corrosive environments; don’t forget to check inside chassis members too.
The original diesel injector sealing washers can leak on models built between June 2004 and October 2007, causing carbon sludge that blocks the oil strainer with consequent engine failure. We believe the vehicle maker specifies the seals should be replaced as part of routine maintenance at scheduled valve clearance checks (every 2yrs/40,000km).
Check for blistering of the dash pad as it’s expensive to fix. Listen for noisy diesel injectors too.
A professional pre-purchase inspection is highly recommended.
Under the pump
Prado will use between 12.0 litres and 18.5 litres of petrol, or 8.5 litres and 11.5 litres of diesel every 100km, depending on model and driving conditions.
For an indication of what you would pay for this vehicle please go to RACQ's online car price guide or contact our Motoring Advice Service on 07 3666 9148 or 1800 623 456 outside the Brisbane area.
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