Mildura Weekly : Friday November 22 2013 Vol 8 No 4
www.milduraweekly.com.au 60 Mildura Weekly – 22/11/13 By MIKE COSTELLO THE Prado remains Australia’s top-selling large SUV, but only by the skin of its figurative teeth. The question is, can this mild mid-life update keep at bay a ravening horde of rivals led by Jeep’s booming Grand Cherokee, which is close to overtaking the Toyota in the sales race this year. Notwithstanding that particularly remarkable statistic, the Prado equation remains much as before: it’s built to a formula a little different to the rest, in various ways, and therefore stands alone for a large horde of buyers. For instance, cars such as the Ford Territory offer the same seven-seat capacity, but can’t touch the Prado off the beaten path. The Grand Cherokee has the off-road chops but only five seats. The ute-based Colorado 7 or Isuzu MU-X are just as rugged but lack refinement. Mitsubishi’s Pajero and Nissan’s Y61 Patrol are as old as Methuselah. Toyota’s offering remains a compromise car, and that’s why you see so many both traversing the outback and transporting the kids to their suburban schoolyards. But it also remains a pricey beast, and this new one is between $236 and $1455 more than before (with the exception of the unchanged base model, which starts at $55,990 plus on-road costs). The GXL favoured by 75 per cent of buyers kicks off from $61,490, while the VX and Kakadu versions cost at least $77,990 and $91,590 respectively – that’s many thousands more than all rivals. If you’re just looking at a Prado for the school-run, it’s hard to justify the extra spend over the excellent Ford or Jeep, frankly. But if you want to tackle the bush, the Prado steps into its own. Under the skin, Toyota doesn’t mess with the formula. The unchanged 4.0-litre quad-cam V6 petrol engine still makes 202kW of power and 380Nm of torque through a five-speed automatic transmission that can also be used with the sequential shift function. Fuel consumption on the combined cycle is a claimed 11.5 litres per 100km. However, 95 per cent of sales are the 127kW/410Nm (between 1600 and 2800rpm) 3.0-litre turbo-diesel matched to either six-speed manual or five-speed auto transmissions (VX and Kakadu are auto-only). Consumption is a claimed 8.5L/100km (8.8 for the manual). Both transmissions are matched to a full-time four-wheel drive system with a lockable Torsen centre differential and two-speed transfer case. A strong and refined unit it may be, but its 2500kg towing capacity falls short of the 3000kg-plus figure of many ute- based rivals, and even Ford’s 2700kg turbo-diesel Territory. The automatic diesel combination is the most popular of all, and while the five-speed unit has proven itself reliable, it retains a propensity to hunt around for the perfect ratio, with an especial tendency to hold too-low a gear on a decline. The more upmarket dashboard design lifts the look inside, and a standard reversing camera is a welcome addition. There remains a plethora of soft-touch surfaces, and the quality feels bombproof. The redesigned rear seat helps access to the third-row seat, and legroom in the middle row remains vast, but the tailgate- mounted spare wheel makes opening the door (from a side hinge, not a split one) a chore. Time spent on an off-road course shows the Prado still means business, with the long- travel front independent/ live rear axle suspension copping a workout. Upmarket versions get a five-mode traction control system that adjusts torque delivery depending on the nature of the surface being driven. The frontal camera on higher- end versions is also handy, considering the big slab-like bonnet impinges on vision. The addition as standard of trailer sway control - which helps prevent ‘jack- knifing’ when undergoing a swerve with a trailer - and an emergency brake signal to the range are both very welcome and overdue, while the Kakadu also gains a blind- spot monitor and pre-crash auto brakes as standard fare. • Continued Page 63 We like Good ride and refinement for a hardcore off-roader, cabin quality and ergonomics, trick off-road modes and front camera Room for improvement More expensive than before, towing capacity still lower than rivals, fussy five-speed auto TEST DRIVE Prado gets a mid-life facelift With greatness comes great expectations. Introducing the newest Ultimate Driving Machine that is driven by great expectations, the all new BMW X5. From great to greater to greatness, the third generation BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle will exceed your expectations. Expect an even more exhilarating on-road experience with intense power and performance at every turn. Expect the perfect harmony of luxury, comfort and safety. Expect everything the Ultimate Driving Machine should be. Contact Mildura BMW to arrange a test-drive today. DRIVEN BY GREAT EXPECTATIONS AT MILDURA BMW. INTRODUCING THE ALL NEW BMW X5. Mildura BMW Sales Finance Service Parts Mildura BMW Cnr Seventh St & Etiwanda Ave, Mildura. (03) 5021 2999. www.mildurabmw.com.au LMCT 10074 Overseas model shown.
Friday November 29 2013 Vol 8 No 5