Toyota: 2014 Land Cruiser Prado VX V6 review

Toyota: 2014 Land Cruiser Prado VX V6 review

toyota-land-cruiser-prado-2014-rear-quarterOne of those ads out there says that big is good. This Land Cruiser is so big that each one they build has a bottle of champagne cracked across its bow and is released from the factory down a slipway.

toyota-land-cruiser-prado-2014-front-interiorJoking aside, this size gives the Land Cruiser Prado some advantages. For one, you can tow a reasonable sized load (2500kg braked) while seating seven people, or five people with an enormous amount of luggage.

There’s excellent headroom and ground clearance, and of course you have the advantage of full-time four-wheel drive with a lockable differential and low-ratio. The five-speed automatic is built to handle high torque, and is very smooth, too. You can use sequential mode if you want to swap cogs yourself.

The off-road smarts also extend to a Multi-Terrain Monitor with four selectable terrain modes, Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) which adjusts the front and rear stabiliser bars based on the movement of hydraulic cylinders, CRAWL control to maintain consistent low speeds to allow the driver full attention while steering through tricky terrain, Active Traction Control, and Hill-start Assist Control to prevent the car from rolling backwards when starting on a hill.

There’s also the four-camera system so you can see around the car when venturing off the beaten path, and you can wade through water 700mm deep.

Watch this video to see how the Multi-Terrain Monitor works

toyota-land-cruiser-prado-2014-sideYou might find the Land Cruiser a bit cumbersome around the city, though. At almost 4.8m long, and almost 1.9m wide and tall it fills most parking spaces and doesn’t have a particularly tight turning circle. Fortunately parking sensors and cameras all around the vehicle make manoeuvring in tight spaces much easier, and also allow for safer exiting of blind junctions.

Toyota’s getting in on the modern terminology with its toyota-land-cruiser-prado-2014-appsmedia centre interface. The 7-inch touchscreen accesses ‘apps’ such as navigation, audio, telephone, eco and setup. The navigation system is excellent giving numerous detailed graphical representations of the road. For example, as you approach a motorway exit, the graphic changes to look like a motorway exit in 3D. The sat nav also gets traffic information for Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

toyota-land-cruiser-prado-2014-third-rowThe audio system supports Bluetooth streaming and connects quickly and easily. You can also control your telephone via the screen if it’s Bluetooth enabled. If you want more control over your music, you can plug your iPhone or iPod directly in via USB.

Passenger comfort is excellent. Two of the rear seats are heated, and the rear area has its own climate control. There’s plenty of legroom, too.

A third row of seats is available. With almost all other toyota-land-cruiser-prado-2014-rear-hatchseven-seaters you have to manually erect the seats, but this Land Cruiser has two buttons which allow you to raise and lower the third row.

If you use the third row, it basically uses most of the boot space. To access the boot the rear door will swing open sideways, but also you can just open the rear window to drop things in if it’s already heavily loaded.

The Land Cruiser VX Prado is a machine with a specific purpose. It’s not designed to be hustled around winding roads (frankly, it doesn’t do this well and passengers will complain). It’s a bit ugly around the grille area. Despite the KDSS suspension, there’s a lot of body roll into the corners.

However, if you love reproducing, you have a boat, and you live rurally, the Land Cruiser is perfect. If you want to tow things you might want to try the diesel as well as this 202kW 4-litre petrol.  The 127kW 3-litre diesel has more torque (410Nm vs 381Nm), and better fuel economy (8.5l/100km vs 11.5l/100km), and it’s the same price. My fuel economy for the week, which consisted of a mixture of city and motorway driving, was 14.8l/100km.

Or if you want a little more luxury you can stump up another ten grand for the VX Limited which has blind spot monitoring, radar cruise control, adjustable suspension, rear seat entertainment and a few other luxuries.

Price: VX Petrol base model $94,780. With JBL Premium Audio and sat nav (as tested) $98,820. VX Limited $109,780

Pros

  • Full of features
  • Practical

Cons

  • Cumbersome
  • Not the prettiest SUV out there

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