Fri | Aug 14, 2020

Land Cruiser Prado – prince of the hill

Published:Sunday | July 5, 2020 | 12:08 AM
 The interior of the 2020 Toyota Prado TX-L is focused on functionality, usability, and durability.
The interior of the 2020 Toyota Prado TX-L is focused on functionality, usability, and durability.

The Land Cruiser Prado has been a seller for Toyota for decades, appealing to not only those looking for a luxury sport utility vehicle but hardcore off-roaders who seek adventure on the weekends. To satisfy these two brackets, the Prado’s path is one of evolution rather than radical change. Many rivals have transitioned over to car platforms and unibody construction for their large SUVs then layer on the mechanical and electronic solutions necessary for off-roading. Not the Prado. The constant refining of the formula that makes it a class leader means its off-road prowess is baked in. The Prado is pure natural ability rather than over-engineered technical trickery.

Every inch of the Prado is designed to deliver to its two primary demographics. On the road, the Prado is pillow-smooth regardless of the surface. It glides gracefully over imperfections that would upset many rivals. Yet, despite the soft ride, there is a good sense of control as the chassis gives feedback to what grip levels the suspension and full-time four-wheel-drive system are delivering.

The four-cylinder turbo diesel is a tried and true workhorse geared to match the relaxing ride. In its normal mode, power is a gentle surge of acceleration, while in SPORT or manual mode, where it doesn’t auto-shift up, drivers have a bit more control. There is no mistaking the near two-and-a-half-tonne weight, but there’s more control when cornering and braking than many would expect.

This same vehicular grace excels when the road surface turns to nothing. Unperturbed, the Prado will continue to crawl easily over anything in its path. Craters, overhangs, ledges, rocks, sand, gravel, wet grass, and the ilk do nothing to halt the Prado’s progress. Front, rear, break-over angles, suspension articulation, and ground clearance are all optimised to carry the vehicle with its passengers and their cargo to whatever off-road location they wish. In the case of tough situations, there is a switchable four-wheel-drive low mode and a centre differential lock for maximum traction. Just be assured that as a Prado owner, if you need to get there, you will get there.

BRINGING MORE TO THE TABLE

There are different facets to luxury. The Prado has a comfortable feel with its isolating ride and sizeable interior. With four or fewer passengers, it feels like a large living room with a skylight when the sunroof of the TX-L model is open. Elements like three-zone climate controls, leather, a cooled centre console box, and temperature-controlled seats figure into the luxury picture, too. Technology has become a part of the lexicon of modern luxury. While there’s keyless entry and push-button start, the Prado sticks to the older concept of bullet-proof amenities.

The interior draws heavily on Toyota’s reputation for durability and reliability. All the controls are clear, simple to operate, and easily within reach from any seat. There’s no need for a PhD to access any function inside the Prado. They exude what the older guard might call bank-vault build as everything feels rock-solid and probably will last as long as the vehicle.

The 2020 Land Cruiser Prado TX-L does what Toyota does best: providing unmatched off-road ability, on-road comfort, and the right number of features to keep owners happy. The choice to slowly evolve adds the knowledge of familiarity to those upgrading and keeps the reputation of reliability. In five, or even ten, years from the purchase date, they’ll be able to fire up the vehicle and take it wherever they want with no issue. In reality, many modern SUVs have gone to the other end of the spectrum, focusing on on-road performance. This leaves the Prado, with the off-road traits it inherits from Toyota’s own off-road king, the Land Cruiser, with very few competitors.

For views and comments email, yl.jamaica@gmail.com

Vehicle was provided courtesy of Toyota Jamaica, contact: (876) 923-7231-5, email: sales@toyotajamaica.com

• Price of tested model: $12,706,515

• Price range: $11,123,800 to $15,153,243

• Engine: three-litre inline turbo diesel four-cylinder – 163bhp

• Torque: 295lb/ft

• Transmission: 4WD, automatic

• Fuel tank: 87 litres

• Body type: SUV

• Competition: Mitsubishi Pajero, Nissan Pathfinder, Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Land Rover Discovery

STANDOUT FEATURES:

• Smooth ride quality

• Off-road ability