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Driven: Toyota launches third-gen Kluger at $40,990

Third time lucky: The new Toyota Kluger is still petrol-only but more frugal than before thanks largely to its new six-speed auto that replaces the outdated five-speed unit used previously.

Price of entry to new Toyota Kluger up $500, but seven-seater down $2200 to $40,990


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11 Mar 2014

TOYOTA Australia has launched the larger and more efficient third-generation Kluger from $40,990 plus on-road costs, a reduction of $2200 over the outgoing base seven-seat variant.

Called the GX, the new range-opening variant replaces the KX-R that retailed in seven-seat guise for $43,190. However, as Toyota has axed the cheaper five-seat layout on the new model, the actual price of entry increases by $500 (the five-seat KX-R was $40,490).

The mid-range GXL, meantime, kicks off $1500 cheaper than the KX-S it replaces at $49,990. Finally, the flagship Grande is now available from $63,990, which is $3355 more than before.

These prices are for the front-wheel-drive offerings, but all-wheel-drive (with torque distribution of up to 50:50 front:rear) is available on all variants for an extra $4000, down $500 from the premium commanded on the old model.

Pricing remains a little higher than rivals including the Ford Territory ($39,990 to $58,060 in rear-wheel-drive) and the Hyundai Santa Fe ($37,990 to $51,490, all in AWD guise). These prices encompass both petrol and pricer turbo-diesel versions.

Nissan’s Pathfinder – petrol-only and sourced from the US like the Kluger – ranges from $39,990 to $60,990 in front-drive guise. The company charges between $4000 and $4500 extra for AWD.

All Kluger models use a carryover 3.5-litre petrol V6 engine producing 201kW at 6200rpm and 337Nm at 4700rpm, matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. As before, no fuel-saving diesel is available, while the US-market petrol-electric hybrid is also off the table for now.

Claimed combined-cycle fuel economy for the 2WD versions is 10.2 litres per 100km, down 7.2 per cent. AWD versions now use 10.6L/100km, an 8.0 per cent improvement. The new six-speed transmission and electro-mechanical steering played a big part in the reductions.

All versions get Australian-specific suspension tune (front MacPherson strut, rear double wishbone). Improvements over the old model include easier access to the third row of seats, a wider middle bench and up to 33 per cent more luggage space in the rear.

Luggage space with all three rows in use totals 195 litres, rising to 529L in five-seater form, or 1171L in two-seat configuration.

The entry GX comes with a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, seven airbags, cruise control, air-conditioning, front fog lamps, six-speaker audio with Toyota Link multimedia and a multi-information display, 18-inch alloy wheels, daytime running lamps, tilt-and-telescopic steering adjustments and hill-start assist.

Mid-grade GXL versions add three-zone climate-control air-conditioning, keyless entry and start, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, roof rails, partial leather seats and a ‘premium’ steering wheel and shift knob.

The Grande adds autonomous low-speed braking, radar-guided cruise control, lane-departure warning and a blind-spot monitor. It also gets 19-inch wheels, projector LED headlamps with automatic high beam dipping, a sunroof, ventilated front seats, an eight-inch screen with navigation and DAB+ digital radio, second-row sunshades, a nine-inch rear-seat entertainment system with Blu-ray player, power-operated tailgate, woodgrain-look pattern highlights and a colour 4.2-inch multi-information display.

With the outgoing Kluger on runout, sales have dropped 25.2 per cent this year, and were down 40.4 per cent last month to 589 units. In recent times, rivals such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee have out-gunned the Toyota staple, meaning this new one has a big task ahead of it.

2014 Toyota Kluger pricing*
GX 2WD (a)$40,990
GX 4WD (a)$44,990
GXL 2WD (a)$49,990
GXL 4WD (a)$53,990
Grande 2WD (a)$63,990
Grande 4WD (a)$67,990
*Excludes on-road costs.

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