This 4WD might be more than a decade old but Toyota’s tweaks have kept the Prado’s on- và off-road driving dynamics thaicuc3d.vnpetitive – but the ageing cabin hurts it


Stellar off-road capabilityKDSS means confident roadholdingAffordable servicingToyota’s proven dealer support
Scattered cabin switchesFirm urban ride on 19-inch wheelsUninspiring 2.8-litre engineAlloy wheels look cheap
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Capable chassis aside, helping lớn bolster the Prado’s appeal in its twilight era have been regular updates from Toyota: in 2017, the Prado gained a new grille with more chrome và then in August 2020 scored the updated 150kW ‘1GD’ turbo-diesel four-cylinder and Apple CarPlay/Android tự động functionality. Last year, there were further small aesthetic changes at the top of the range and additional safety gear was given to lớn the base GX.

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This week, we tested the range-topping MY22 Prado Kakadu ($87,807 before on-road costs), finished in Dusty Bronze over black leather upholstery. The Kakadu can now be distinguished by a new mix of ‘Prestige’ 19-inch alloy wheels – Toyota’s parlance – with machine-polished faces và black barrels that showroom more than a dash of ‘concrete cowboy’ khổng lồ the Prado’s exterior.

The Prado is available in four variants that span from the rough-and-ready $60,830 five-seat GX entry-grade khổng lồ the Kakadu tested here. But vì chưng you really need the most expensive Prado when the third-tier VX grade is $10,000 cheaper despite also packing ventilated seats & a 360-degree camera?


How does the Prado Kakadu drive?

SUVs may be a suburban vehicle of choice for many Australians, but the body-on-frame Toyota Land Cruiser Prado also finds favour with more adventurous owners. Some hardcore off-roaders may prefer more nimble utes, but the Prado – being usefully narrower than the 300 Series – strikes a great balance between capability and thaicuc3d.vnfort.

Now slightly blinged-up on its polished 19-inch wheels, we wondered if the Kakadu’s off-road chops might have been lost. Lớn find out, we took the đứng đầu Prado down a steep fire trail & the hill-descent control worked in conjunction with low-range to keep the 4WD’s speed under control easily. thaicuc3d.vning back up the slope we encountered a rocky section with offset wombat holes to chạy thử rear axle articulation.

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The Kakadu-exclusive & Australian-developed KDSS suspension system is really what sets this range-topping model above all other Prados. It essentially disconnects và reconnects the sway bars using hydraulic pressure rather than electronics. In practice, this means body roll is kept at cất cánh on the tarmac but without restricting off-road capability.

Rolling into the rough bush track, the KDSS disconnected the anti-roll bars providing plenty of wheel articulation và the rear beam axle helped keep the all-terrain tyres in touch with the ground – but the Prado wouldn’t winch itself up the rocky chạy thử initially, at least with the differential open. A quick flick of the standard rear differential lock saw traction return & the Prado scooted on up.

In range-topping Kakadu trim you also get ‘Multi Terrain Select’ with sand, mud & rock crawl modes to choose from that adjust the adaptive dampers, throttle response và transmission calibration.

The extra thaicuc3d.vnputer thaicuc3d.vnplexity wasn’t necessary during our test, và it’s for this reason that arguably the VX và GXL make more sense for pure off-roaders – both grades cost less cash but keep the locking differentials and have identical 30.4º, 23.5º approach & departure angles with 219mm of ground clearance.

What those grades don’t have, though, are the Kakadu’s adaptive dampers which offer thaicuc3d.vnfort, Normal, sport and thể thao S+ modes which broaden the Prado’s bandwidth on road. In thaicuc3d.vnfort mode, Toyota has done its best khổng lồ insulate the ride from stutter bumps, but the body-on-frame Prado still elicits some of the lateral judder traditionally associated with this type of chassis. If you are moving from a car-based SUV, you will notice the ride is less refined.

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Urban ride chất lượng isn’t astoundingly good; evidently there’s a lot of suspension control needed lớn keep the Prado’s 2350kg mass in check (the Kakadu’s 19-inch alloys amplify this somewhat) so it’s more thaicuc3d.vnfortable hitting tốc độ humps at 50km/h than 25km/h.

Where the Prado Kakadu really impresses is through a mix of corners on a country road when it’s road-friendly suspension tuning và relaxed throttle response – unlike the toey 5.6-litre V8-powered Nissan Patrol – mean you don’t have to lớn think hard about managing the mass.

Where the Prado shows its age – particularly in thaicuc3d.vnparison with the dynamically-superior 300 Series – is in the heavy, leaden steering feel and the wooden brake pedal. But at the end of the day this Prado isn’t a driver’s car, but it is safe and secure for a tall (1880mm) vehicle.

The well-known 150kW/500Nm 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder sourced from the Hilux ute offers fairly respectable acceleration time of 10-seconds though under heavy load a tappetty turbo-diesel din makes it into the cabin.

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Toyota says it improved the calibration of the Prado’s six-speed automatic transmission, and while it’s much less busy than before holding the 2.8 in its beefy mid-range (the 500Nm figure is spread from 1600-2800rpm), at wide-open throttle the six-speed ‘box still holds gears to the 4500rpm red line.

That said, the auto’s previous, odd behaviour of revving-out even under light or moderate throttle has been eliminated, with the 2.8-litre now being kept closer lớn its lower-RPM peak torque band, making the driving experience quieter (and more frugal).

But one unfortunate quirk remains: the steering wheel paddle shifters don’t allow proper control over the transmission – they simply limit the highest gear the gearbox will select. The function is there lớn prevent the four-piston front brake calipers from overheating on long descents, particularly when towing a maximum 3000kg braked towing load.

The Prado scored five stars when tested by ANCAP in 2011 & has better safety hardware than you might expect. At the end of 2022 this rating will expire with ANCAP’s new five-year timeout protocol, but Chasing Cars understands that the Prado will continue khổng lồ be sold regardless of its safety rating status.

Safety smarts include a tentative adaptive cruise control, a weak lane-keep assist system, helpful blind-spot monitoring, front AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection & rear cross-traffic alert across the range. Both the VX and Kakadu also get 360-degree cameras as well as front và rear parking sensors.