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TOYOTA LAND CRUISER PRADO: CRUISING TO THE PREMIUM SPOT

When the name Toyota Land Cruiser Prado comes up, there is hardly anyone who hasn’t heard of this iconic name. Having a 65 year long heritage and being sold in over 190 countries, the Land Cruiser Prado has become a living legend in the off-roading scene. Just like the name Toyota has become synonymous with reliability the land cruiser name is synonymous to hardcore off-roader. Pairing the combination of reliability and hardcore off-roading capability and what you get with it is known today as the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. We spent a day with the Prado to find out whether Toyota’s latest offering still lives up to its Land Cruiser name or not.EXTERIOR

The New Prado is a facelift version of the ongoing model with some subtle changes mainly on the aesthetic side. The main noticeable part of the Prado is the front end of this mammoth vehicle. The headlight is the most obvious change with the new one looking more like the bigger Land Cruiser L200 series. It gets LED DRLs (Daytime Running Lights) under the bi-xenon projector headlight. In between the redesigned headlight sits a bold new grill that makes the Prado look a lot more aggressive.Moving above the grill is a new scoop in the hood that aids in the visibility department, with the Prado being such a huge car it is beneficial to extract every bit of added visibility possible. Not much has been changed on the side profile of the vehicle except the redesigned 18 inch alloy wheels. The 12 spoke wheel finished in gun metal grey looks quite attractive. Moving to the back portion of the vehicle most of the design has been carried over from the previous generation Prado, only the tail lights have been updated slightly. The tail gate still opens up horizontally which can prove to be a hassle when parked in tight spaces.INTERIOR

Toyota have opted not to tamper too much with the interior of the Prado, leaving it as close to the previous generation as possible with only some new features added to the list. The front seats are power operated and the driver side seat has the memory function to save your preferred seating position. The model we tested had the heated and ventilated seats to make sure you are comfortable in all weather conditions. The infotainment system is placed just above the climate control, it is very intuitive and easy to use. The cabin is very big and spacious but it lacks a little in terms of outright quality considering the price of the car.It competes with vehicles from big brands such as Land Rover and Mercedes to name a few and when comparing the interiors to those models it does look a little too dull. But from the very start Land Cruisers have always been thought as function over form which is quite true. While its interior may not be as fancy as some of its rivals yet it has a comparable list of features to them. The second row seating space is very generous with a lot of leg, head and shoulder room present making it comfortable even with three people in the back. The Climate controls of the back seats are separate and are mounted on the back of the glove box. From there you can adjust the temperature as per your wish and don’t need to battle with what the person in the front row has set.The glove box is cooled so if you want to keep your drinks cold then the Prado can do it for you. This being a seven seater vehicle we had to check the third row as well. While you can fit an adult in the 3rd row it will prove to be difficult in a long haul and it best for the kids. The third row of seats can be electrically operated for the convenience of putting it down to enlarge the boot space.

PERFORMANCE

Under the hood of the Prado sits a 3 liter 4 cylinder turbo charged diesel engine producing 170 bhp @ 3400 RPM and 410 Nm of torque starting as low as 1600 RPM. You can feel the instant rush produced by the 410 Nm of torque but the auto gear seems to upshift fast so you don’t get to experience your body being pinned to the seat due to the immense pull of the vehicle. In order to do that you will have to switch it to manual mode and push the pedal to the floor. Since the torque is produced very low in the rev band it is quite capable while going off road even in the auto mode but you will experience the fact that sometimes the auto miscalculates the gear and will need a little more effort to get over the obstacle. This isn’t the case when you put it in manual mode, it easily powers over anything put in its path.It features a classic ladder frame chassis which adds rigidity in the handling of the Prado and it has excellent wheel articulation to get over most of the difficult obstacles. While driving this huge vehicle you tend to forget how big it is due to the fact that it drives so effortlessly. However if you are stuck in some tight situation then Toyota have you covered with its 360 degree camera view. There is a camera placed at all four sides of the car and with the help of those cameras you get a bird’s eye view on the screen. This comes in quite handy coupled with the parking sensors while parking a vehicle of this proportion but it can also come in handy while you going off road.Think of it this way, you have a very difficult obstacle to overcome and you have to have your car in the perfect position to get over it, but you are alone and no one is there to help you navigate your way. You can turn the 360 degree camera on and use the bird’s eye view to line up as needed. You don’t have to worry about the vehicle getting dirty as there is a headlight washer that cleans the headlight with a jet of water just at a push of a button. There are other host of features that help in your off road experience such as multi terrain ABS (Anti-lock Braking System.), Down Hill Assist Control, Hill-start Assist Control, Vehicle Stability Control and Adaptive traction control. The Prado is a permanent four wheel drive vehicle with 4 High and 4 Low and when the going gets tough you can also lock the differentials to power your way through the toughest of obstacles.THE VERDICT:

The Toyota Land Cruiser Prado is a vehicle that needs little to no introduction and is one of the bestselling models in its category. With its go anywhere attitude you have a vehicle that is very well rounded off. While most owners might not opt to take such an expensive vehicle off-roading, but that is where the Prado truly excels! The model in question in this review is the Land Cruiser Prado VX priced at Rs. 2, 33, 00,000 while the base model Prado starts from Rs. 1,84,00,000.

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