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Driven: Prado debuts Toyota’s new global diesel

New 2.8-litre diesel slated for Toyota’s HiLux and Fortuner premieres in Prado

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Toyota logo1 Sep 2015

TOYOTA’s mainstay LandCruiser Prado will be the first to usher in the car-maker's brand new Euro 5-compliant global diesel engine, ahead of both the HiLux ute and related Fortuner SUV.

Installed as part of a 2016 revision package to the capable SUV, the high-tech 1GD-FVT 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine improves power, torque and drivability, while lowering both fuel consumption and emissions.

And even though the petrol-engined version of the Prado makes up only a tiny fraction of local sales, Toyota has tweaked the 3.0-litre V6 to comply with Euro 5 regulations.

However, the upgrades will be accompanied by price rises across the line-up, which erase some of the reductions made in January 2015 in the wake of the free-trade agreement with Japan.

Prices have risen all the way across the range, from a low of $390 on the VX and Kakadu petrols (which are special order-only), to $500 on diesel GX five- and seven-seat automatics, $1000 on diesel GX five- and seven-seat manuals and GXL petrol seven-seat auto, and $1500 on the GXL seven-seat manual.

The five-seat GX manual diesel kicks the range off at $52,990 plus on-road costs, and it tops out at $84,490 for the Kakadu auto diesel. In contrast, Ford's Everest ranges from $54,990 to $76,990.

The mechanical changes come two years after a major mid-life refresh for the Prado, and include the addition of a new, more sophisticated six-speed automatic transmission, satellite navigation for the volume-selling mid-grade GXL variant and rear cross-traffic detection for the range-topping Kakadu.

Elsewhere, the trim levels and exterior treatments remain completely unchanged amongst the four (GX, GXL, VX and Kakadu) grades.

“Continuous improvement has always been a hallmark of the LandCruiser Prado, and it’s recognised by the buying public,” Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Tony Cramb told journalists at the local launch. “So much so, that since its launch (in 1996) more Australians have bought a Prado than any other SUV.”

Toyota has sold more than 237,000 Prados since the vehicle’s local launch in 1997. Australia ranks behind only China in Prado sales, according to Toyota Australia.

Mr Cramb underlined the significance of the new engine, while reiterating the company’s support for the petrol-engined variant, despite contracting sales.

“The new diesel engine is really important, particularly from a Euro 5 standpoint,” he told GoAuto. “It offers all the things that that particular group of customers have been looking for, and it’s more capable as well.”

Despite sales equating to just 1.2 per cent of total Prado numbers, and moving both the mid-spec VXR and range-topping Kakadu to order-only status for the petrol engine, Mr Cramb insisted the company would continue to offer the V6.

“Our commitment to the V6 remains, which is why Toyota has made it even better.

To Toyota and our dealers, that is a significant amount of people, many of whom are repeat buyers who would otherwise be forced to go elsewhere,” he said.

“Every last one of them is obviously valuable to Toyota.

“Even though the petrol segment is becoming smaller and smaller, that engine has (still) been enhanced.”

The new 1GD (Global Diesel) engine measures 2.8 litres in swept volume across its four inline cylinders. All new from the sump up, the engine features an extensive list of improvements over the outgoing 3.0-litre engine.

A new variable-nozzle turbo is claimed to be 30 per cent more efficient and offers 50 per cent faster response, while much work has been carried out in the area of friction minimisation. A timing chain and roller-rocker valve actuation have also been fitted to further reduce friction losses.

More rigid engine mounts and acoustic panelling underneath and above the engine are aimed at reducing engine noise.

Power output is 130kW at 3400rpm and 450Nm from 1400 to 2600rpm in automatic guise, with torque falling to 420Nm in manual spec.

Fuel economy for the new engine is rated at 7.9 litres per 100 kilometres, while carbon dioxide emissions are 209 grams per kilometre.

This makes the new Prado diesel more fuel efficient than the forthcoming Ranger-based Ford Everest, which will offer an official fuel figure of 8.5L/100km from its 143kW/470Nm 3.2-litre five-cylinder diesel unit when it arrives in October.

The Prado’s petrol engine, meanwhile, has undergone minor revisions to qualify it for Euro 5 status. A revised exhaust system, new fuel injectors and remapping of the engine control unit have netted gains of 5kW (up to 207kW), while torque remains at 381Nm.

While emissions of carbon dioxide have dropped slightly from 271 to 266 grams per kilometre, fuel economy has actually increased by 0.1 litres per 100 kilometres to 11.6L/100km.

A new six-speed automatic transmission replaces the five-speeder, with electronically actuated shifting adding a mode known as high-speed gear-effective utilisation for fifth and sixth gears. The new box’s first gear is shorter, while sixth gear is 19 per cent longer than the old five-speeder’s top gear.

A sequential lever has been added to the cabin, but there are no steering wheel paddles. Petrol-powered Prados are an auto-only proposition, while the entry level GX and mid-spec GXL diesel can be optioned with a six-speed manual.

The GXL has been upgraded with a satellite navigation system and additional stereo speakers, while the top-spec Kakadu gains rear cross-traffic detection alert.

The Prado has sold 8925 units to date in 2015, a fall of some eight per cent year on year. Of those, just 107 were petrol-powered variants.

2015 Toyota Prado pricing*
GX 5-seat TD$52,990
GX 5-seat TD (a)$54,990
GX 7-seat TD$55,490
GX 7-seat TD (a)$57,490
GXL TD$59,990
GXL (a)$60,990
GXL TD (a)$61,990
VX (a)$72,990
VX TD (a)$73,990
Kakadu (a)$83,490
Kakadu TD (a)$84,490
*Excludes on-road costs

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