Safer towing for top-selling Prado – caravancampingsales.com.au – caravancampingsales.com.au

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Safer towing for top-selling Prado

Towing and off-road ability unchanged but popular Toyota off-roader gets trailer sway control plus other equipment upgrades

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! That seems to be the guiding principal of Toyota with the latest update of Australia’s top-selling large SUV, also one of the nation’s most popular tow vehicles.

Four years after the Australian launch of the 150 Series LandCruiser Prado in 2009, a mid-life facelift of the rugged off-roader sees some styling tweaks including an adventurous new headlight design with plunging inbuilt daytime running lights and LED main beams on some models, plus a deeper front bumper with fresh five-bar grille.

There are also new tail-lights with red and clear lens segments and a LandCruiser logo integrated within the clusters, while aero fins have been added to the wing mirrors and rear combination lamps.

Not just a cosmetic revision, the latest Prado also brings upgraded steering and suspension systems, extra safety features, revised interior switchgear, improved third-row access and more equipment across the range.

However, the five-door Prado wagon retains its rugged body-on-frame chassis design with long-travel, all-coil independent front and five-link live rear suspension systems.

Also unchanged are the 202kW/380Nm 4.0-litre DOHC V6 petrol engine, which drives through a five-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift function, and the 127kW/410Nm 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel matched to either six-speed manual or five-speed auto transmissions.

Towing capacity remains 2500kg (less than ute-based rivals like the Holden Colorado 7), but caravanners will be pleased to know that trailer sway control is now standard across the Prado range. The system detects trailer sway due to crosswinds, rough roads or sharp steering actions via the stability control’s yaw sensor and controls it via braking, illuminating an instrument warning and activating the brake lights.

While the base GX model gains a reversing camera, Kakadu models now also gain a blind-spot monitor operated by millimetre-wave radar, in addition to active cruise control and pre-crash safety systems.

The only mechanical changes are locally retuned steering and suspension systems, with revisions to the hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering system aimed at improving response and feel around centre to provide a better feeling of connection with the road.

There are some minor increases in pricing across the range, which starts at $55,990 for the entry-level GX diesel five-seat manual, rising to $92,590 for the top-spec Kakadu diesel seven-seat auto.

Prado sales are down more than 15 per cent so far this year, but it remains the nation’s most popular large SUV. However, it faces further competition from other body-on-frame off-roaders in coming months with the imminent arrival of the Isuzu MU-X as well as Ford Ranger-based Everest.

Isuzu Ascender

Long-time Toyota fans, Queensland’s Kedron Caravans recently got the opportunity to test-drive a new Prado Kakadu fitted with the latest range of factory accessories on Moreton Island, while towing the company’s latest 16ft single-axle XC3 off-road caravan (pictured).

A shorter, lighter version of the original dual-axle XC3. the full ensuite van has a 1760kg Tare and packs plenty of features for its compact size and high-$60,000 pricetag, including cafe dinette, double bed, kitchen with full oven, TV/DVD, air-con and top-load washing machine.

Glenn Gall, part of the infamous The Gall Boys. said he was particularly impressed with the new-look, airbag-compatible factory alloy bull bar, which unlike previous versions is not visible above the front bonnet when driving.

He also likened the Prado’s off-road abilities to its big 200 Series LandCruiser brother and said the diesel-powered Prado had few problems towing the two tonne van over some gnarly terrain, which included hard and soft sand, inland tracks with deep rutted cuttings, freshwater crossings and rocky bypasses.

“Put very simply, it is an extremely capable and comfortable vehicle,” he said.

For a full rundown on the latest Prado, click here .

To comment on this article click here Published. Friday, 15 November 2013

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