Toyota’s Land Cruiser Prado might not be South Africa’s most sophisticated luxury 4×4, but it is very popular for good reason.

The Prado rides on a rugged steel ladder frame platform, which means it can flex and conform to technically challenging terrain when off-road adventuring. It also makes the Prado very durable if you are going to travel thousands of kilometres on South Africa’s huge gravel road network.

Strong demand for these ‘junior’ Land Cruisers

Residual values are high, indicated that the market demand for these “junior” Land Cruisers remain strong. The inherent mechanical design has been without significant update since the current fourth-generation version was introduce in 2009, which illustrated how good a job Toyota’s engineers did.

For keen off-road enthusiasts who require some luxury on their journeys and want a vehicle which can fulfil the dual role of family transport when not on safari, the Prado is excellent. But is not perfect.

Image: Supplied

MORE POWER WITH A SMALLER ENGINE

The primary weakness is a lack of potent turbodiesel power. At crawl speeds, with low-range engaged, the three-litre four-cylinder engine is entirely adequate. But it can be annoying weak as a highway cruiser, especially when you need to overtake slower trucking traffic.

With peak outputs of only 120kW and 400Nm, not to mention a kerb mass in excess of 2100kg, Prado can be a lazy long-distance drive. Toyota engineers have now delivered superior engine solution which should greatly excite South African fans of this 4×4 model.

The company’s 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine, available in both the Fortuner SUV and Hilux double-cab bakkie, recently announced a technical upgrade to 150kW and 500Nm. Those would make for very handy numbers in the Prado and Toyota has announced that this will be the case.

Powertrain upgrade

A powertrain upgrade for the evergreen luxury 4×4 station wagon is in the works, with Japan being the first market to receive these more powerful 2.8-litre turbodiesel variants.

Not only will this engine upgrade make for superior throttle response and overtaking performance, but it has a lower idling threshold too, which will improve the low-speed off-road driving experience too.

Australia is due to receive the first of its new-generation powerplant Prados in September.

Although the stronger 2.8-litre engine will finally make its local debut too, exact scheduling for the South African launch is unclear.

Onlineautos
Author: Onlineautos