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Toyota Prado 3 Door – Reviewed

Toyota Prado 3 Door – Reviewed
Make Toyota
Model Prado 150
Year 2011
Doors 2
Seats 5
Transmission Auto
Gear Num 4
Cylinders 6
Fuel Diesel
Drive 4WD

Rating!

Total average

80.4/100

For purpose
For life style
For the love
LLOYD RATING
MICKY RATING

Article:

The little 4×4 that packs a punch

Intro

Just like the number “42” in Douglas Adams “Hitch hikers guide to the galaxy”, this three door Toyota Prado is the answer; yet nobody understands the question!

This I suspect is the result of a Toyota product manager, comparing the Prado range to the Mitsubishi Pajero range. The first generation Pajero was presented to the world in 1982 as a short wheel base 3 door 4WD, but quickly grew to the 5 door. While Mitsubishi continued to produce the 3 door, demand evaporated and they eventually dropped it all together! This coincided with the release of the Toyota 3 door Prado, interesting right?

 

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It’s lighter than the 5 door and retains the same engine and driveline, so it has a higher power to weight ratio and greater (3000kg) towing capacity than its bigger sibling. I like pocket rockets so this gets a massive tick, however, don’t go mistaking this 4WD for a RAV4, it’s got some serious off road cred as all Prado’s.

To some extent this 4WD will be misunderstood. It’s too impractical for a family, as you’d get sick of folding the front seats for access and it’s really too expensive for a young couple. So it belongs then to the grey haired retirees who seek adventure!

 

Price-vs-Spec

The ZR is a 3 door exclusive model, which is comparable to the top model Kakadu in the 5 door range. Out of the box it’s quite a special combination.

Let’s work from the inside out.

The driver is placed in a commanding position, you can see all and that creates a sense control over the surroundings. The central display highlights blind spots with the “rock hopping” cameras at the front and sides of the Prado which automatically switch on at low speeds, allowing you pick tight gaps between trees or navigate a tight garage. Additionally sensors front and rear alert you when objects become too close.

 

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Non-standard grille shown

The satnav is a pretty easy system to use, however the “driving lockout” safety measure, which even prevents passengers  from altering navigation whilst in motion, which is a right pain! Most modern cars use sensors to determine if a passenger is present, why not allow the satnav to be altered by a passenger? – I don’t want to have to stop every time we change destinations!

The more you drive the Prado the more reliant you become on this central display; it’s the converging point for all the fun and sometimes frustrating gadgets.

The sound system is good quality and the Bluetooth / MP3 /CD/ AM /FM touch screen setup works a treat. There is one really annoying thing however.. the volume scale is ridicules to hear anything you have to turn the volume up from 0-40! And the scale goes all the way up to 100! It gets really annoying if you’re turning the system up and down during a road trip.

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In-between the passenger and the drive is the centre console cooler.. oh yes! This is amazing! Granted rerouting the air-conditioning plumbing into a cool box is a rather simple thing to do, but it’s well worth it. There’s really nothing better than opening the console and pulling out an ice cold drink. It’s surprisingly deep as well; gobbling up 2 of my 800ml cycling bottles with room to spare.

Directly above you can see the sun roof, or moon roof as the Prado computer calls it when you accidentally turn the car off and leave it open. My jury is always out deliberating the need for a sunroof. They heat the car up when you’re not in it and there never seems to be perfect “sunroof weather” I’m always burning the top of my scalp. Still it’s a classy thing to have.

Running through the rest of the cabin features; heated seats, full leather everything from the seats to the console lids, built in 100W inverter in the rear for charging cameras or running low drain appliances.

The rear seats fold up easily, which is good because there really isn’t much boot space.

Stepping outside the car you find yourself questioning its 4WD capabilities. It’s running 18” alloys combined with a modest SUV height suspension. It is after all an attempt to build a half way decent road car as well. The large alloys are a necessity to accommodate some massive breaks to stop this 2.1tonne beast in traffic and its low-ish road height reduces drag saving on fuel and makes for a more stable vehicle when cornering.

Something the general public just doesn’t understand is that Off-road touring isn’t about having the chunkiest tyres or the largest clearance in the guards. It’s a balancing act! The grey nomads are looking for good fuel economy because commonly 80% of a trip time occurs on made roads! (Ok so I don’t have any stats to support that claim!)

Under-the-hood

The power plant squeezed under the bonnet is a smart looking 3LT Turbo Diesel. It’s a torque-e little guy which has better responsiveness then the 5 door thanks to the lighter body.

I have run several economy tests on this vehicle both towing and free. I can now say its economy is impressive! 8lts/100km on highway and 12’s towing the Track Trailer Topaz (approx. 1900kgs)

 

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Feel-on-the-road---sex-appeal

What feel? What sex appeal? Haha!

There is a big disconnect between the driver and the road in this 4WD.

Hell, there is a “disconnect” in any 4WD. I would say that its handling is polite and boat like on this test Prado, but it was fitted with an ARB lift kit for a 5 door.

 

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There is no real sex appeal with this 4WD, its features are very “Toyota-like” and as such are rather understated, very much like the people who would buy one. All you could hope to do is butch up its look with a bullbar, snorkel and driving lights.

 

Comfort-and-Practicality

Despite losing the rear passenger doors, the back seats are reasonably spacious for the grand kids, a labrador or camping gear(when folded up). I suspect the compromise on a smaller boot allowed the seating configurations to remain the same between the 3 and 5 door variants.

The Prado is then two things; a people carrier or a shopping trolley, but it can’t be both at the same time. I don’t think this will be a problem for the owners as they will most likely have time to plan their outings.

 

Summing-Up

This 4WD will most likely spend its life as a shopping trolley, picking up groceries and taking the dog to the park. But for the luck few, who bought this car with travel in mind… Congrats you’re on to a winner!

It’s a great touring package for two, with epic fuel economy and plenty of off-road grunt. It’s nimble around trees because of its short wheel base and surprisingly good at urban chores when you return home.

This Prado will always be a compromise between a 4WD or a SUV but it’s so good at both when you the demographic of retires is applied, that it becomes the “answer to the question of life, the universe and everything”.

 

Pros: Luxury, power and surprisingly good economy from this 3Ltr Diesel.
Cons: The audio is annoying with its volume increments and people keep asking me “when did Toyota release that?”

It has a small fuel tank at 87ltrs, 50ltrs less than the 5 Door Prado. This particular Prado had the annoying tendency of telling you that it was empty with 15ltrs (or 100+kms) remaining in the tank! Which causes anxiety between planned fuel stops during an off road trip.

Fun-Stuff

  • Does it chirp the wheels? (is it lively?)

 

It’s surprisingly quick off the line but its weight does become a hindrance against any sort of sports sedan or alike.
  • Does it turn heads? (do you feel noticed in it)

 

I’ve never felt less noticed on the road. This car doesn’t get any attention until it’s in its element, but even then its people asking when the RAV4 got bigger.
  • What does my mum think?

 

I think my mum would love to own this car. It’s easy to park and has a great driving position.
  • What do my friends say about it?

 

They didn’t notice I was driving the car over the test duration, I guess they just assumed it belonged to someone else.
  • Would you go cruising in this car?

 

Economy is good and it’s comfortable, but it wouldn’t be much fun around corners…. So no I wouldn’t.
  • Holidays? Overnight? Week? Month?

 

This is a good long holiday 4WD for a couple. I wouldn’t go touring in it with a family unless the kids were very young and it was a less than a week on the road.

full-spec

  • MAKE
Toyota
  • TORQUE
410Nm @ 1600-2800rpm
  • FAMILY
Landcruiser
  • FUEL TANK (Litres)
87L
  • SERIES
KDJ150R
  • ANCAP SAFTEY RATING
???
  • MODEL
Prado ZR
  • OVERALL GREEN STAR RATING
2.5/5
  • YEAR
2011
  • KERB WEIGHT (KG)
2145kg
  • DOORS
2
  • FUEL TYPE DESCRIPTION
Diesel
  • SEATS
5
  • COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
Japan
  • TRANSMISSION
Auto
  • DRIVE DESCRIPTION
4WD
  • GEAR NUM
6
  • COST NEW
$65,904
  • ENGINE CONFIGURATION & LOCATION
In-line, Front
  • COST AT TIME OF REVIEW
Approx. $55,900
  • CYLINDERS
4, 3.0L
  • ODO KMS AT TIME OF REVIEW
46000kms
  • POWER
127kW @ 3400rpm
  • LINK TO REDBOOKS PAGE
REDBOOK PRADO LINK

 

Gallery

 

Lloyd Waldron
Lloyd Waldron

About the author: Lloyd Waldron

Cars are more then transport, they represent more than freedom or independence and they are a part of our identity. Cars reflect the personality of their owners. You can instantly tell if the owner takes pride in themselves; you'll know if they have a messy bedroom and occasionally you'll guess their sense of humor. Cars say so much about people, so I figure I should say something about them..
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