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Scrutinizing the New Toyota Prado

Posted on Monday, November 26, 2012

Toyota are globally renowned for their 4WD vehicles, a byword for ruggedness and practicality. Now they are continuing this tradition with their latest offroader, the Prado.


Offering a 3-door range (the SX and ZR) and a 5-door alternative (the GX, GXL, VX and the Kakadu), with flexible provision for up to 7 seats, the Prado range sports a stylish choice of eight colours (Crystal Pearl, Silver Pearl, Graphite, Metal Storm, Blue Storm, Ebony, Sandstone, Dark Furnace). So the Toyota Prado is impressive technologically and aesthetically. 


The SX, ZR and GX are powered by a belt-driven 4-cylinder in-line Turbo diesel engine, with a fuel consumption of 8.3 litres per 100km. Features include climate control, power windows, vanity mirrors and digitally controlled ventilation, all fitted as standard. Hydraulic power steering and cruise control are standard across the entire Prado range (the Kakadu and ZR have radar cruise control). Both models are automatic transmission only.

The GXL, VX and Kakadu are available in diesel and petrol versions. The specifications for the diesel engine are as for the 3-door models, but with slightly higher fuel consumption, and the diesel GXL and VX are available as manual or automatic. The Kakadu is automatic transmission only, however. The petrol engine is a big 6-cylinder 4-valve V6 with a fuel consumption of 8.8 litres per 100km, controlled by Toyota's Dual Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence. This is a system for providing optimum valve timing, improving fuel consumption and delivering an enjoyable driving-experience while reducing emissions. 


What makes the Toyota Prado really new is its advanced Driver Assisted Technology. The system has been updated with innovative additions to make driving both on and off road much easier and safer. 


Safety is paramount, and the Active Braking with Intelligence (AB-i) ensures sudden stopping in emergencies, thanks to sensors inside the wheels sending feedback to the braking system. Traction Control (TRC), operated by brake or throttle, makes acceleration on slippery or mixed surfaces much safer by locking any wheel that slides. Vehicle Stability Control works in conjunction with AB-i and TRC to control oversteer and understeer, thereby reducing the potential for hazard. 


As regards manoeuvrability the Prado is highly adaptable to all-terrain driving while handling well on roads too. Hill Start Assist (provided on automatic models only) ensures that uphill starts do not slip downhill and is invaluable on low-traction terrain. Downhill driving, parking and reversing are also governed by Toyota's Intelligence system. Multi-Terrain Select, working with the Advanced Braking System, selects different rates of traction for mogul, loose rock, mud-and-sand, rock, from the steering wheel. 


Powerful, practical, safe, great to drive, with luxurious interiors, the Toyota Prado is a first-rate option for the driver seeking a new 4WD car.


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