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TOYOTA: Turbo trio pumps power into Prado

Boosted: Toyota's hot-selling LandCruiser Prado is now available with a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel engine.

Toyota has supplemented its Prado range with a trio of torquey turbo-diesels

23 Mar 2000

TOYOTA has plugged a hole in its LandCruiser Prado line-up by introducing a turbo-diesel engine to meet the challenge of a horde of rival contenders.

The turbo-diesel variant is available in three specification levels - the base model RV ($42,750), mid-spec GXL ($47,740) and range-topping TX (54,640).

On average, the turbo-diesel models are priced about $400 above their V6 petrol counterparts - a relatively small premium.

The newcomers will compete against the likes of the Jeep Cherokee Turbodiesel ($41,200), Holden Jackaroo turbo-diesel ($44,890), Mitsubishi Pajero GLX turbo-diesel ($44,950), Land Rover Discovery Td5 ($48,400) and Nissan Patrol ST turbo-diesel ($53,990).

A five-speed manual is the only transmission offered, which may handicap the turbo-diesel's sales to some degree as its rivals are available with an automatic.

The segment-leading Prado line-up now has 11 variants. Toyota says the addition of the turbo-diesel models will lift the off- roader's sales by at least 14 per cent.

Toyota is forecasting 9500 Prado sales this year with the turbo- diesel models expected to account for 1200 of these. The Prado notched up 8266 sales in 1999 and 9740 the previous year.

The new 3.0-litre, four-cylinder turbo-diesel features an intercooler - which lowers the temperature of air being channelled into the turbocharger - to maximise efficiency.

It generates 96kW at 3600rpm and a hefty 343Nm at 2000rpm.

The intercooler is fed with fresh air from the front of the vehicle via a double-skinned bonnet, ensuring dirt, leaves and rain are excluded.

Toyota points out the turbo-diesel's class-leading torque output makes it well suited to towing. It has a towing capacity of 2500kg with trailer brakes or 750kg without the latter.

The manufacturer says it has upgraded the turbo-diesel's cooling system to ensure it can cope with Australian conditions.

The turbo-diesel is also fitted with a larger diameter clutch - up from 250mm to 260mm - to cope with the engine's hefty torque output.

Apart from offering ample reserves of low-down pulling power, the turbo-diesel engine is said to be more economical than its petrol counterparts as well as producing low emissions.

It is claimed to deliver high levels of refinement thanks to twin counter-rotating balance shafts that cancel out engine vibrations.

The introduction of the turbo-diesel engine is also accompanied by a host of minor running changes designed to improve comfort and refinement levels.

As with other Prado models, all three turbo-diesel variants have eight seats and dual fuel tanks with a combined capacity of 160 litres.

Dual-range four-wheel drive and a limited-slip differential are standard.

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