Car Review: New Toyota Land Cruiser Prado

Off-roading in style…

It’s been 65 years since we saw the very first Land Cruiser model, the Toyota Jeep B1 and since then, the Land Cruiser remains an icon within its segment, mainly due to its “no terrain is impenetrable” reputation.

Land Cruiser is sold in more than 190 countries worldwide and in South Africa, it has an almost cult-like following, among off-roading enthusiasts. So where do you launch the new Land Cruiser Prado? Sani Pass of course!

Yes, it can take you anywhere, but it looks good while doing it as well! It builds on its trusty, robust look with a revised bonnet, grille, headlamps, and bumper. All models feature LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) and foglamps, in addition to automatic light control system, as standard. The profile sees a raised front bumper and new alloy wheels have been added to the line up. The rear also sees a restyled bumper and lamp cluster. Prado is offered in six exterior colours – including a new red-hued Crimson metallic and earthy Avant-Garde Bronze metallic finish.

Land Cruiser Prado

The interior has also seen some upgrades with the top of the new centre console tower being 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. Touches of silver textured finishes add a more premium feel in the cabin. My only gripe is with the touch screen, but this is not a Toyota -related thing, it is with touchscreens in general. They are hard to operate even when on smooth tar roads! When off-roading it is near impossible to operate, even as a passenger. Trying to press the correct button is like trying to pin a tail on a donkey blind-folded! 

Land Cruiser Prado

The seats also prove a little uncomfortable, especially on long trips. Which is unfortunate as this is exactly what this car will be used for. And if you are in the passenger seat when tackling some treacherous off-roading, forget it! The bouncing is real!!!! You want to be the driver in these situations.

But speaking of off-roading,  the Prado really does feel like it can take you anywhere, in style! Ground clearance is 215mm, with a 31-degree approach, 25-degree departure and 22-degree ramp break-over angles. The all-terrain support systems help even unskilled drivers make the most of Land Cruiser’s off-road performance. And something that will give buyers peace of mind is that the Prado is designed for easy maintenance and repairs. Because we all know that no matter what, off-road vehicles can take a bit of a beating.

The Prado range has traditionally consisted of two grades, the mid-level TX and high-grade VX. For the first time, a new third grade, called VX-L has been added to the model line-up. The 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. It retains the 3,0 D-4D engine which is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. The 4.0-litre petrol engines uses a six-speed automatic transmission. 

As much as this car is built for both on and off-roading, where it shines is off-road. As a cruiser on the highway, the lack of power is noticeable and over taking on an incline may require some strategic planning.

The Prado is aimed at customers who want bush or boulevard. If you are not an avid off-roader, there would be no point in putting this on your list of buying options. It would be like buying trail-running trainers and only using them on the pavement. This car was made to go off-road with space, good looks, tech and safety thrown in for good measure.

New Toyota Land Cruiser Prado Pricing

Land Cruiser Prado 3.0D TX               R 821 700

Land Cruiser Prado 4.0 V6 VX           R 930 000

Land Cruiser Prado 3.0D VX               R 932 400

Land Cruiser Prado 4.0 V6 VX-L        R 967 200

Land Cruiser Prado 3.0D VX-L           R 969 600