The Prado, as we know it, has been a favourite among the Toyota faithful for the two decades it’s been on sale (indeed, it’s been the top-selling SUV on the market, full-stop, since its launch in 1997) despite being increasingly lumbered with ageing engines.
That fact has changed with this new 2016 Prado though. Things might look much the same outside, but there’s a welcome all-new diesel engine that’s a significant step forward, especially in terms of noise refinement. There’s also, finally, a new six-speed automatic transmission.
The petrol V6 engine option, which represents a tiny percentage of sales, has also been tweaked a little. However, due to time constraints on the local launch this week, we didn’t get a chance to test it.
Despite being smaller, the new diesel makes more power and torque while using less fuel than the old oiler. The new engine weighs in at 2755cc against the 2982cc of the old powerplant and generates 130kW and 450Nm (the manual gets less torque, rated at 420Nm). That’s a 2.4 and 9.7 per cent increase over the old model respectively.
The ADR combined fuel usage is 7.9L/100km with the manual transmission and 8.0L/100km with the automatic. This represents a 10.2 percent improvement from the outgoing model.
That lack of refinement and manners has gone out the window with this new Prado. At start up, there’s barely any chatter and once settled into idle, the four-pot turbo engine barely gives away that it’s a diesel. On the highway, you could almost trick passengers into believing you’re driving a petrol engine such is the subtle nature of the oiler at work. Even when you kick down to roll-on overtake, there’s no nasty roar, clattering or even any whistling from the turbo.
Published: Monday, September 7, 2015