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Toyota Prado makes world debut

Show time: The new-generation Toyota LandCruiser Prado is bigger in most body dimensions.

Latest Toyota Prado breaks cover in Sydney before Frankfurt motor show debut

Toyota logo14 Sep 2009

By PHILIP LORD

TOYOTA’S fourth-generation medium-sized SUV, the LandCruiser Prado, was unveiled to Australian media today in Sydney in an event timed to coincide with the Prado’s global release in Japan a day before its Frankfurt motor show debut.

When it goes on sale here in late November, the longer, wider and lower Prado will receive more sophisticated electronic driver aids, better safety features, improved 3.0-litre turbo-diesel and 4.0-litre petrol V6 engines and a three-door model – the first Toyota mid-sized three-door SUV since the 1980s Bundera.

We were not able to open the doors or bonnet of the pre-production sample vehicle sent in from Japan for the reveal (and seeing inside was not easy because of dark-tinted windows) but plenty of hints were given on what is to come in the new Prado later this year.

8 center image The 80mm longer, 10mm wider and 15mm lower five-door body takes much of its design inspiration from the LandCruiser 200 series, with a few Prado elements such as the vertical bar grille and the side-swing tailgate with the number plate mounted to the side.

Toyota says the new body and 15mm lower ride-height (190mm) improves aerodynamics, reducing the drag figure from 0.37Cd to 0.35.

Side mirrors now house LED turn signals, while the taillights are also illuminated by LEDs, and the headlights have projector low beams.

No information was forthcoming at the reveal about the new three-door Prado, although Toyota’s sales and marketing executive director David Buttner said it would be a niche model that Toyota would offer in a number of model grades.

The chassis appears to be much like the current Prado 120 series, but if the sample vehicle shown today is representative, at least the top-of-the-line model will have active yaw anti-sway-bar control and air rear suspension.

Significantly, Toyota representatives would not divulge the new Prado’s model code, suggesting that while it might be called a fourth generation, its underpinnings are probably shared with the current, third generation 120 model.

The sample car was shod with 18-inch alloy wheels – a first for Prado – and probably will be standard on top-line models. From pictures given to the media it also appears that 17-inch wheels will be offered on lower spec models.

The 3.0-litre engine has been fettled to achieve a combined fuel figure of less than 9.0L/100km (down from the existing model’s 9.3L/100km figure), and the 4.0-litre – now with dual VVTi for inlet and exhaust – has a 10 per cent power improvement. No other fuel consumption figures (or indeed any output figures) were divulged at the reveal, but Mr Buttner said that fuel consumption would also improve for the V6.

Mr Buttner also ruled out the possibility of a V8 Prado (which is sold in the US as the Lexus GX470).

Existing five-speed auto and manual transmissions will carry over with minor strength improvements.

Safety features are improved with seven airbags, stability control and traction control standard across the range.

All but the entry-level model with have a reversing camera. The sample vehicle also had what appeared to be a front-mounted off-road camera.

Toyota’s divisional manager, product planning Peter McGregor said TMC covered 100,000km in local pre-product testing, 70 per cent of which was on dirt roads. Most of the testing was done in the north, with hot-climate testing.

Australia is the Prado’s fourth biggest market, after the Middle East, Europe and China. By year’s end, Toyota expects to deliver its 150,000th Prado since the second-generation 90 series arrived in Australia in 1996.

Last year, the Prado was the country’s biggest-selling mid-size SUV.

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