AFTER a few years of slowly eroding sales, the Prado’s star is on the rise again.
The final year of the previous 3.0-litre diesel – 2015 – wasn’t good for Prado, nor was last year, the first full year of sales of the new 2.8 diesel.
This mid-size wagon market is much tougher than it once was, with Prado facing off against the Everest, Trailblazer, MU-X and the slightly smaller Pajero Sport, all new players. Aside from the meteoric rise and fall of the Grand Cherokee, the Prado has only ever battled the now-well-aged Pajero in this market.
No doubt there’s also been a somewhat lukewarm reception to the Prado’s new 2.8-litre diesel, with not everyone happy with the idea of a smaller engine and that there’s no significant power jump over the previous 3.0-litre.
However, in a case of like-the-smaller-engine-or-not, buyers are returning to the Prado most likely for the core ownership values that come with the Toyota brand. Either way, there’s nothing particularly wrong with the 2.8 engine, even if it’s no rocket. It’s certainly quieter, smoother and generally more refined than the previous 3.0-litre, and it’s torquey off idle and happy to rev.
It’s a sweet engine that’s also backed by a smarter and more refined six-speed gearbox, which has two overdrive ratios, whereas the previous five-speed had a single overdrive.
If anything, sixth gear is too tall, and it’s a shame Toyota didn’t see fit to lower the final drive gearing to bring the new sixth back to where the old fifth was and gain a performance benefit everywhere else.
Regardless of the new powertrain, the Prado remains happy in the suburbs, out on the open road, or indeed off-road.
2017 (to June): 6686
2016 (to June): 6223
Change: + 6.9%
Cabin & Equipment: C
Towing & Practicality: B
Final word: It’s not too exciting to drive, but still does everything well.
*Scored against class competitors. A= Excellent. B= Very Good. C= Good. D= Fair. E= Poor. F= Fail.
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The quintessential magazine for Australia’s four-wheel drive and offroad enthusiasts.
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