Australia is a key market for the large four-wheel-drive SUV, so Toyota subjected the 2018 model, which is the first update since 2009, to some of the most punishing challenges Australia’s unique environment could offer up.
Toyota also heeded criticism levelled by WhichCar‘s sister publication Wheels at the current-generation Prado when it launched in 2009, with Toyota LandCruiser chief engineer Sadayoshi Koyari conceding that feedback provided by Wheels had directly influenced the engineering team’s focus for the new version.
“When it comes to the drive-select, when the Prado came out in 2009 [Wheels] criticised it a lot,” he said. “This was good feedback for us to check the stability and rethink the system. We had daily challenges on that.
“As a result, we changed the modes to meet the need of our customers and we also tested them in Australia so that we could be sure that this time we would meet your needs.”
As Australia’s top selling large SUV, the Prado is a critical model for the Japanese car maker locally, and the fifth-generation model underwent an extended two-year testing and development program in central Australia.
“Australia is a very big market for us for the LandCruiser, therefore, when it comes to reliability and durability, we have to test it in Australia,” said Koyari. “Not only for a short term but for a long time.”
“For off-road conditions, we implemented multi-drive select feature and also the automatic crawling systems. We really had to test whether the new systems can cope with a real off-road situation. Not just a rough road but a real off-road situation.”
“These kind of voices from our customers are very important for us, not only for LandCruiser but for Toyota. We want to hear the voices of our customers and implement the feedback in our product development. This is a good example of that”.
The updated Prado arrives in November this year.