THE Toyota Prado settled into a comfortable, easy cruise on the highway, but more than the others on test it felt the weight of the caravan.
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At 100km/h, the transmission couldn’t decide if it wanted to lock the torque converter or not, so revs fluctuated between 2300rpm (unlocked) to 1600rpm (locked) in fifth gear at 100km/h. While engine noise was obvious when sitting at 2300rpm (which was most of the time), it wasn’t a conversation-stopper.
The gut feeling that the Prado was slower than the others was reflected in the performance figures. While it was quicker than the Toyota Fortuner and only a fraction slower than the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport to 60km/h, (its constant 4WD helping traction on the slippery surface, no doubt) it was the slowest of the group to reach 80km/h from a standing start and also the slowest on the hill climb.
The Prado was the heaviest wagon here (albeit only 38kg heavier than the Ford Everest) with engine outputs towards the bottom of the group, and the additional drag of constant 4WD over the others running part-time 4WD (set in 2WD for our testing) wouldn’t help either.
The Prado did a pretty good job keeping speed down on the test descent, and it reached a peak of 62km/h at the bottom of the hill.
The Toyota’s fuel consumption was the highest recorded for the group (although not much more than the Ford Everest), but the big drawcard with this vehicle is its massive fuel range. With 937km of safe touring range when towing, you can afford to miss a fuel stop that you can’t with the others.
The Prado dropped 20mm at the rear and rose 15mm at the front and, with a 2790mm wheelbase and 1225mm rear axle-to-towball overhang, looked like it had the goods for stable towing.
That’s how it turned out, too, with no yawing and very little pitching it was a very solid and stable towing platform. The Kakadu has adjustable dampers and for towing, Sport mode was the best setting. Even then it was a little soft on rough roads, where the Prado’s nose would pitch a little.
While Toyota isn’t the only one to have a Gross Combination Mass less than the combined weight of the vehicle, maximum payload and maximum towing capacity, it’s hardly significant. Just 15kg will have to be taken out of the vehicle or ’van to meet the Prado’s GCM figure.
The Prado’s side mirrors were the largest of this group and in many instances you wouldn’t actually need towing mirrors to tow legally. We had to use the extended securing strap to get the towing mirror clamps onto the mirrors, though.