Car reviews - Toyota - LandCruiser Prado - RV6 5-dr wagon
On-road ability, passenger-carrying ability, quality build
Room for improvement
Suspension soft under full load
16 Jul 2004
THE Prado was claimed to be one of the first four-wheel drive wagons to offer car-like protection for passengers involved in frontal-offset, side impact and rollover crashes.
Although still capable of venturing down tough bush trails, the full-time four-wheel drive Prado was also designed to meet customers' demand that off-roaders drive more like cars.
Unlike the bigger and tougher LandCruiser, it was designed very much with on-road performance in mind.
Suspension is by double wishbones at the front while the rear features a live axle, multi-link set-up that provides passive rear steer for better turn-in and grip during high-speed cruising.
The springs and dampers have been set up to provide a soft and supple ride and the Prado soaks up bumps around town but can be a little too soft when carrying a full load of up to eight passengers.
Prado's steering works well, being nicely weighted and reasonably direct.
The use of full-time four-wheel drive also gives the Prado better on-road grip than part-time four-wheel drive vehicles - which appear to a dying breed, even with heavy-duty vehicles such as the Prado's big-brother LandCruiser.
An all-new 3.4-litre V6, which develops 132kW and 303Nm, features the company's usual scissor gear-operated twin camshafts per cylinder bank.
Performance is strong throughout the rev range and the engine even delivers a subtle but sporty V6 growl as the revs build up.
The engine is mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic which gives crisp, no-fuss gear changes.
Inside, the Prado follows the usual well laid-out Toyota formula - all controls are easily reached and nothing feels fiddly or cheap.
Prado's tall cabin can give the impression this is a rather skinny off-roader. But it offers a commanding view front and rear.
The good news for urban warriors is that it is as much at home on the road as off it.
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