The Toyota Land Cruiser Prado was an unknown model in the Indian SUV market before its launch in the late 2004. Politicians, film stars, industrialists and assorted celebrities in India were desperately waiting for a long time to get their hands on its wheels. Toyota crept into the Indian SUV market when it was burgeoning. The Land Cruiser Prado is an able competitor for the Mitsubishi Montero, Pajero, Ford Endeavour and Nissan X-Trail, with loads of hi-tech devices and safety features.
The petrol-fed behemoth is a stunning SUV on road; it comes with a very powerful 3.0L I-4 engine and is affordable only to a few. It is a large and the most capable SUV on the Indian soil; it has all the latest technologies available in a luxury car. The 7-seater Land Cruiser Prado is a completely built unit from Toyota's plant in Japan. The Prado has features like 5-speed auto-transmission, permanent four-wheel drive, 3-zone air conditioning, height control mechanism and the Electronic Modulated Suspension that Toyota is known for. Since its launch in 2005 globally, it has been the bestselling SUV. In India it is available only in the 3.0L version. The Prado is available in Black, Grey Metallic, Greyish Blue Metallic, Silver Metallic and White Pearl CS colours.
The humongous SUV gets a monster engine; under the Prado's hood is a meaty 2982 cc (3.0L) I-4, 16-valve, Double Overhead Camshaft (DOHC) engine that knocks out 170 bhp @ 3400 rpm and generates 410 Nm @ 1600-2800 rpm. The engine breathes through Toyota's Diesel Intercooler Turbocharger, which boosts the output from the engine.
There is plenty of power at all rpms; most of it would be sparingly used under normal driving conditions. The Prado would just leave others trailing behind even on the highway; the monster sprints to 100 km/h in just 9.5 seconds and its top speed is 188 km/h. The 5-speed automatic is really soft and features full-time all-wheel drive with transfer modes. The automatic transmission shows no shift lags and is always in the right gear. The central differential distributes power to all wheels, based on the stress exerted on the wheels.
The electronic air suspension employed on the Land Cruiser Prado absorbs anything that comes its way. A double wishbone at the front and a 4-link type suspension with lateral rod at the rear adopts Toyota Electronic Modulated Suspension (TEMS) system. This gives the driver an option to switch between high, low and normal modes by means of a switch on the console. The computer for auto dampening in the Prado adjusts air suspension to retain parallel body position immaterial of the surface. The suspension height is also adjusted according to the speed of the vehicle; it lowers the height at high speed and vice-versa. To top it all, the Prado is a fun-to-drive, off-road SUV.
It is huge, looks sturdy and gorgeous to sweep you off your feet. The Prado is a head turner in the city and leaves others trailing behind on the highway. It has beefy looks, yet is contemporary in design. It has huge wrap-around headlamps; the vertical slat grille is symmetrical with the fog lamps and air dam. The bulged fenders and side dressing give Prado that masculine look. It comes with a wrap-around tail lamp on the huge C-pillar. The rear lift gate also has those gracious curves, giving it a solid, planted feel. The 5-spoke alloy wheels adorn the car and just look striking.
The interiors are no less than those of a luxury car; it has spacious seats and room for passengers of all sizes. The dash is nicely designed to provide convenience to the driver; all controls are easy to operate and gauges are easy to read. It is a bit awkward to get in but once you get nestled in the seat, you get a commanding view of road and exemplary feel of the ergonomically designed cockpit. The steering is quite firm in terms of grip and with a little pressure on the pedal in city limits, you can zip ahead in no time. All the three rows get AC ducts; distribution of temperature is uniform and individual controls are also available. The engine sounds as quiet as a baby from inside. There is absolutely no vibration inside the cabin. All features on the Prado are standard and it gets top-of-the-line safety features too.
Being one of the most capable off-roaders on earth, the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado had no choice but to be one of the safest as well. With technical equipment like Down Hill-assist Control, Hill-start Assist Control, Vehicle Stability Control and an exceptional 4-wheel drivetrain the possibilities of mishaps are less. Airbags and Whiplash Injury Lessening Headrests further protect passengers from dangers.
Land Cruisers have been ranked on par with the Land Rovers for the incredible combination of on-road presence and off-road performance they deliver. The Prado may be a smaller cousin of the full-fat Land Cruiser, but they have nonetheless been the darlings of all sorts of high fliers who were attracted to the appeal of an extravagant equipment list, top notch quality, faultless reliability and go anywhere capability. No matter where you’re going and how you plan to get there, the Land Cruiser Prado is guaranteed to pull it off with aplomb.