New Toyota LandCruiser Prado is out of automotive factory with lots of Prestigious Enhancements and indeed a higher grade..What would Prado’s proud enthusiasts get from the new three-grade model, which are not in the old two? MATILDA FRACES finds out…
Toyota’s premium SUV, the LandCruiser Prado in the past earned itself various nicknamed. To some, it is King of the Jungle. To some enthusiasts, it is “Rough daddy.”
All these have got to do with Prado’s combination of off-road performance and on-road competency. Of course while the likes of Bentley and Range Rover have featured in music albums of artists around the world, including Nigeria, LandCruiser hardly does. Notwithstanding, the latter is more of status symbol in a country like Nigeria.
Big news is that new edition has cruised out of Toyota plant. Not the same old story. It is out with lots of improvements.
More than that, there is now a higher grade known as VX-L, meaning buyers now have three options, including what had all along been mid-level TX and high-grade VX.
The new VX-L model combines all the features of the VX whilst adding a power-operated tilt-and-slide moonroof and comprehensive active safety assistance package to the mix.
The new Land Cruiser now comes with a more agile and dynamic design.
Its overall length has increased by 60mm to 4,840mm. Its bonnet has been shaped to improve downward visibility at the centre and it is sandwiched by the sides of the bumper to help protect the engine bay. The corners of the lower part of the bumper have integral fog lamps and kick upwards, while the centre section is shaped like a skid plate for easier maneuvering off-road. The top section of the wings has been raised so that it’s easier for the driver to pinpoint the vehicle’s extremities.
The front grille and headlamps have been organised into a single, powerful graphic and set higher for better off-road functionality. The grille’s apertures have been enlarged for optimum engine cooling, while the headlamp main beams are positioned inboard to avoid damage when driving off-road.
In keeping with Land Cruiser Prado heritage, the grille itself features broad vertical bars with slit-shaped cooling openings, finished in chrome. The headlamp clusters comprise high and low beams, front turn indicators and daytime running lights, contained in a distinctive housing.
TX models utilise halogen bulbs, whilst VX and VX-L models feature high brightness LED units. All models feature LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) and foglamps, in addition to automatic light control system, as standard.
The sharply trimmed lower section of the body reinforces the Prado’s broad stance and minimises the impact of the front overhang on the vehicle’s off-road approach angle.
Ground clearance is 215mm, with 31-degree approach, 25-degree departure and 22-degree ramp break-over angles.
In profile, the peak of the front bumper has been raised and the bonnet, wing line as well as front and rear bumpers, have been aligned on the same horizontal axis, generating a more athletic and dynamic vehicle posture.
The vehicle’s profile is further enhanced by stylish new alloy wheels; 17-inch alloys on TX and high-gloss painted 18-inch rims on VX and VX-L derivatives.
New elements at the rear include a redesigned lamp cluster (featuring two stacked C-shapes) with an LED stop light; a smaller rear garnish plate and a restyled bumper.
Prado is offered in 6 exterior colours – including a new red-hued Crimson metallic and earthy Avant-Garde Bronze metallic finish.
The top of the new centre console tower has been set lower (by 25mm) for a sleeker appearance and better front-on visibility when driving off-road. It is fitted with a new eight-inch, full-colour multimedia screen, a flush-fitting air conditioning control panel and the drivetrain-related instrument cluster.
The controls for driving and comfort functions are located in separate panels for ease of use, positioned behind a new, leather-trimmed gear lever. They include switches to operate new integrated heating and ventilation for the front seats.
The centre console features a silver textured finish with a metallic effect. Soft pads are provided on either side to cushion the driver and front passenger’s knees.
The redesigned instrument binnacle has a four-gauge lay-out with precision Optitron (high- definition back-lit) meters with a metallic base panel and polished dials with raised scale markings. The meters flank a 4.2-inch TFT colour multi-information display (VX and VX-L) which presents comprehensive vehicle and infotainment data, controlled using switches on the steering wheel. The combination leather- and wood-trimmed steering wheel itself is new, shared with the larger Land Cruiser 200.
The luxury and sophistication of the interior are amplified by new white illumination for the instrument panel, centre console and door-mounted switches. The new cabin lighting scheme uses LEDs for the front footwells, headlining, glove box and door panels.
Two interior colour schemes are available: Black and new elegant ‘Neutral Beige’. A matte-finish Walnut wood trim is paired with the Black interior, whilst the Beige iteration is paired with a modernistic matte “blonde wood” accent.
TX models inherit the much favoured ‘coolbox’ located in the centre console binnacle. In keeping with the cool-theme, all models are now equipped with seat ventilation for driver and passenger -in addition to the seat-heating function (for first and second row occupants).
The top-tier VX and VX-L models are outfitted with Satellite Navigation and an enhanced surround-view Multi Terrain Monitor camera system which also includes Panoramic and overhead view modes. The 14-speaker Premium touchscreen infotainment system incorporates a tablet-like design and easy to operate switchgear.
The standard convenience specification list is of course befitting the stature of the Land Cruiser Prado: automatic dual-zone climate control, 6-speaker touch audio system, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, illuminated entry, cruise control, park distance control, keyless entry, three power outlets, Bluetooth connectivity, USB, 3rd row seating and reverse camera.
High grade models add memory function for the driver’s seat, a 14-speaker Premium audio system with woofer, multi-information display, power tilt-and-telescopic steering adjustment, rain-sensing wipers and power-fold-down 3rd row seats.
The Land Cruiser Prado retains the proven 3.0 D-4D engine, offering 120 kW and 400 Nm available between 1,600-2,800 rpm. This is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission with gear ratios optimized for low-speed tractability and off-road use.
The 4.0-litre petrol engine uses a six-speed automatic transmission. Maximum power is 202 kW at 5,600rpm, with peak torque of 381Nm delivered at 4,400rpm.
All Prado models feature Toyota’s Active Traction Control system (A-TRAC), which actively regulates wheel-slip, by directing torque to the wheel with the most traction. The system is capable of applying braking pressure to wheels individually to maximise traction. A low-range transmission with user-selectable rear and centre diff-locks and Hill Assist Control (HAC), naturally forms part of the standard ensemble.
The Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) system (VX and VX-L only), operated by a centrally mounted rotary knob, allows the driver to select the correct mode depending on the ‘road’ ahead. The system has five pre-configured modes (mud & sand, loose rock, mogul, rock & dirt and rock),
to tailor the vehicle’s traction control, transmission characteristics, power delivery and suspension settings to the terrain at hand. Downhill Assist Control (DAC) is included on VX and VX-L models.
The 4.0 V6 derivatives additionally feature ‘Drive Mode Select’ which offers five modes; Comfort, Sport, Sport +, Normal and Eco; to adapt vehicle dynamics according to driver preference.
VX-L grade versions of the new 2017 Prado are equipped with Toyota Safety Sense active technologies to help prevent accidents from happening, or mitigating the consequences if an impact does occur.
The package includes a Pre-Collision System (PCS) with pedestrian detection function, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) and Automatic High Beam (AHB). The Adaptive Cruise Control system uses radar sensors in the front grille to monitor the distance to the vehicle in front and applies corrective action via both throttle and brake inputs to maintain a specified ‘gap’.
The driver can choose from three pre-selected distances via a steering mounted button when the system is operating in this dynamic mode. The system also allows toggling between traditional constant speed and adaptive modes based on driver preference.
Further driver support is provided in the form of a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (both VX and VX-L) and an upgraded tyre pressure warning system – with digital read out in the multi-information display.
These active safety systems complement the standard seven airbags and comprehensive brake and stability control systems (ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, VSC, Trailer Sway Control and aforementioned Traction Control).
With an off-road heritage spanning more than 65 years, Land Cruiser remains unique in its segment for its ability to combine outstanding quality, durability and reliability with unrivalled off-road performance and ever-greater levels of luxury, comfort and ownership prestige.
Land Cruiser is the most widely available model in the global Toyota product range – being sold in more than 190 countries worldwide, including Nigeria. Its off-road abilities have earned it a rock-solid reputation as one of the world’s toughest and most reliable 4x4s.
Though not yet assembled in Nigeria, PRADO has been the most popular choice of Nigerian political class, as well as the rich. Also in South Africa, it has a cult-like following with off-roading enthusiasts admiration deeply rooted in the legendary robustness and go-anywhere-ability of the Land Cruiser brand.
Despite the sales draught in the Nigerian auto industry and not too clever state of the South African market performance in 2017, the new Land Cruiser Prado, especially the new highest grade is likely to flood the city highways and government before long.