Most reliable off-roader
Published: 10/01/2018 12:00 pm
The face-lifted 2018 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado has improved its looks to complement its reliable can do anything character.
New LED headlights flank the newly designed grille of the Prado. The new front bumper has a nicely compact and neat looking LED fog light and the centre section of the bumper has been shaped like a skid plate for off-road action. The slightly more aggressive wheel fenders only enhances its tough look.
The SUV’s chiseled bonnet, which besides looking good, offers enhanced downward visibility while off-roading. The side step is a very useful addition and it also has illumination. The rear spoiler and a high mount brake light are also effective. New brake cluster and rear bumper offer a clean looking back. In short, this big, tall and robust looking Prado seems very ready for anything that comes at it.
The side step makes getting in and out of the Prado a lot easier and as you climb in you enter wide doors that offer up the very spacious and airy seven seat cabin. The interior is made with durable and classy materials and makes it feel like it will last a life time. Wood-grain panelling and chrome coloured side protection moulding with the robust fabricated seats add to the classy feeling of the interior.
The new Prado has a generous headroom for all the occupants and second row seats can hold three full grown adults comfortably. An easy to use slide function will fold the seats for an easy access to the third row of seats that are surprisingly spacious and very accommodating for children or smaller adults.
The dual manual air conditioning cools the entire compartment very quickly and the easy to use 9-inch navigation system is simple and uncomplicated. Parking sensors and rear view camera are a big help when parking this broad Prado. The car’s overall length has been increased by 60mm plus a minimum ground clearance of 215mm, a 31 degree approach angle, a 25 degree departure and 22 degree ramp breakover angles only highlights the car’s off road capabilities.
It also helps to have a very capable 4.0-litre V6, producing 271hp and 381Nm of torque mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. This full time 4WD System with TORSEN Limited Differential, in an easy to operate dial type transfer switch, lets you shift smoothly between low range and high range drive. The electronically controlled Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System or KDSS offers outstanding drivability off road and a comfortable ride on tarmac, it helps to keep all tires on the ground and suppresses body roll for a excellent handling and stability on any road surface.
On normal road conditions the Prado feels very stable and very solid on the brakes, no wobbliness in high windy conditions even though its side profile is pretty big. It feels well weighted down but at the same time can be very light footed as the quick acting 6 speed automatic transmission does well to shift the car quickly through the gears. A bit of body roll is always going to be present in such a big 4x4 like this Prado, but it is certainly handled it with great poise.
A very comfortable suspension gives the feeling of gliding down the road. Once you get used to the car’s dimensions, driving in tight spaces becomes quite effortless. And the turning radius for this car is surprisingly good and makes this Prado feel agile on the road and even better when off-roading. The steering inputs while off-roading makes this 4x4 so much fun to drive and very manoeuvrable with quick response in any direction. Having the Prado in full time 4WD meant that our limited off-road excursion was done in normal drive mode as this is a hugely capable 4x4 that seamed to take all the off road conditions with ease. We were in complete comfort tackling some rock crawling, sand duning and gravel traps and it felt like we hardly challenged this Prado. Durable and reliable with excellent quality all round makes this a perfect companion for all conditions.
A seven seater with loads of space, abundant storage the new Prado comes with excellent safety features. it has a lane departure warning with front and side airbags for front passengers, curtain airbags for tree rows and knee airbag for the driver. Its strong chassis offers excellent impact protection and a wide track with vehicle stability control and ABS makes you feel more secure. Great visibility and very big side mirrors adds to the surrounding view.
Whether you are taking a leisurely drive down to the supermarket, a long drive to neighbouring countries or for ultimate camping trip into the unknown, the 2018 Toyota Prado is made with the knowledge that this it is going to be the most reliable companion to have.