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Toyota comes clean on Prado Altitude

Wheel thing: Toyota’s LandCruiser Prado Altitude limited edition’s spare wheel shift might become permanent on a future variant if Australian customers vote with their credit cards.

Special-edition Toyota Prado Altitude tests customer reaction to spare wheel shift


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14 Aug 2014

TOYOTA Australia is using its latest LandCruiser Prado Altitude special edition to test the waters on the potential for a permanent variant that carries the spare wheel under the vehicle, instead of mounted on the tailgate, thus creating more flexible rear access.

Although Prado has been available overseas in this configuration since the current 150-Series model was launched in 2009, it is the first time it has been offered in Australia, albeit only for a limited time.

However, Toyota Australia product public relations manager Stephen Coughlan told GoAuto that the company’s sales and marketing managers would watch customer take-up of the Altitude to see if there was potential for a permanent variant without the tailgate-mounted spare wheel in the local range.

Toyota hopes the new value-added special edition – the latest in a long line of Altitude special SUVs from Toyota – will also help it wrestle back sales leadership of the large SUV segment from Jeep’s Grand Cherokee, which has outsold Toyota’s long-time segment champion so far this year, 10,019 vehicles to 9725.

Interestingly, the Grand Cherokee shares the ‘clean’ rear hatch look across the range.

The upside of the ‘clean’ tailgate arrangement on Prado Altitude is that it incorporates an opening glass hatch for easier access to the rear compartment for shopping and the like, while the full tailgate is lighter and thus easier to open, especially when the vehicle is parked downhill.

The downside of the arrangement is that fuel tank capacity shrinks by 63 litres – from 150 litres to 87 litres – although Toyota says the diesel Prado is still capable of a 1000km range.

Toyota Australia sales and marketing executive director Tony Cramb said the company and its dealers were keen to receive feedback from customers about the style and convenience of the new Prado Altitude rear design.

“In giving Prado a 'clean pair of heels' by moving the spare wheel and tyre, we've made the tailgate lighter and therefore easier to open – especially when the vehicle is parked facing down a hill,” he said.

“Owners can also open the tailgate wider in cramped situations such as when parked close to other vehicles or using a towing hitch, plus there's the added convenience of the separate glass hatch.”

The Prado Altitude is based on the 3.0-litre diesel GXL with five-speed automatic transmission, which normally retails for $61,490 plus on-road costs.

The Altitude is priced at $68,520 (plus on-road costs) – about $4800 more than the base price – but gains “at least $10,000” of additional features sourced from premium VX and Kakadu models, Toyota says.

These features include grey leather upholstery with contrasting stitching, tilt and slide moonroof, Blu-Ray rear entertainment system with three wireless headphones and remote control, self-dimming rear vision mirror, power front seats and rain-sensing wipers.

Also included are a 14-speaker JBL audio system with digital radio and a seven-inch display screen that features sat-nav with Suna traffic alerts.

The screen is also loaded with a full suite of Toyota Link apps, including Destination Download, Local Search and Fuel Finder with "navigate to" function, plus the Toyota Help feature and the user-paid Destination Assist.

Standard features carried over from the GXL are reversing camera, rear parking sensors, three-zone climate-controlled air-conditioning, audio controls on the steering wheel, smart entry and start and cruise control.

Safety items include seven airbags, vehicle stability and traction control, hill-start assist and downhill control.

The Altitude gets chrome side mouldings, door handles and air-conditioning surrounds, along with carbon fibre-look details on the dash panel and gearshift surround.

And while the spare wheel has been moved under the car, it remains a full-sized aluminium item.

Four exterior colours are available - Eclipse Black (exclusive to Altitude), Crystal Pearl, Silver Pearl and Graphite.

Toyota says it has sold more than 220,000 Prados since the first one arrived in 1996. This year, Prado sales are up 8.2 per cent, but the Grand Cherokee is charging ahead, up 67 per cent.

Toyota LandCruiser Prado Altitude pricing*
Prado Altitude (a)$68,520
*Excludes on-road costs

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