2009 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado | new car review
2009 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado
The Prado along with the Land Cruiser are Toyota’s most successful SUVs in the Middle East and worldwide too.
Unlike the Land Cruiser the Prado is a more aggressively styled SUV with flared wheel arches, a mean looking vertical slat grille, tough front bumper and large peeled back head lamps. The Prado is for those who want everything the Land Cruiser provides but in a smaller and butch looking package.
The Prado is a capable off-roader with good on tarmac performance as well. The interiors are well appointed and furnished with quality materials which create a sense of luxury akin to an executive sedan. It is sold in two versions; a short wheel base three-door model which seats five and the full size five-door Prado. The three-door version caters to the needs of singles or couples looking for a competent compact SUV but it due to its short wheelbase its ride and handling is not as good as the five-door version.
The Prado comes with a choice of two petrol engines and one diesel engine. The base unit is a 2.7 litre four-cylinder with 175bhp while a much more powerful 4.0-litre, 262bhp V6 engine is also available. For the environmentally conscious there is also a relatively fuel efficient 3.0-litre diesel engine but this unit produces a paltry 101bhp which is just not enough to lug this two tonne SUV. Only the 4.0-litre V6 has the muscle the Prado needs to sail over off-road obstacles and also perform well on the highways.
The diesel Prado comes only in GX trim and with a five-speed manual transmission while the petrol models come in GX and VX trims and have a choice between a five-speed manual and four-speed auto for the 2.7-litre model, and a five-speed auto on the 4.0-litre versions.
Off-road ability is almost as good as the Land Cruiser thanks to full time 4WD system with centre differential lock and Hill Start Assist. The Prado rides on 17″ steel/alloy wheels which are shod with wide 265/65 profile tyres which can tackle the most challenging off-road condition and provide strong grip on the black top too.
The interiors of the Prado are a comfortable place to bask in especially in the top of the range VX trim which offers high levels of luxury along with a long list of automotive gadgetry which enhance driver involvement and occupant comfort.
If you opt for the top range Prado you will get leather seats with power adjust, navigation system, remote engine starter, dual air conditioner with three row vents, cool box, six-speaker CD system with Bluetooth, alloy wheels, power mirrors, moon roof, parking sensors and cruise control. Dual front airbags along with ABS, EBD and traction control are standard fitment but there are no side or curtain airbags unlike the Land Cruiser.
In the Middle East the Prado’s toughest competitors include the Mitsubishi Pajero and the Nissan Pathfinder but the Toyota has managed to get quite s stranglehold on the SUV market much like its big brother the Land Cruiser. The Prado is a good buy for those looking at a proper 4X4 SUV but don’t need the extra large Land Cruiser which costs more too. The Prado is as robust and reliable as the Land Cruiser and is backed by Toyota’s 3 year/100,000 km warranty.
A new version of the Prado, for the 2010 model year, is due out in the region at the end of 2009.
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