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2021 Toyota Prado GXL review

Ahh, the Toyota Prado — we West Aussies love it just about as much as talking about dry heat and voting no to daylight saving.

The evergreen SUV is popular across the country, but it’s a top-10 seller in WA despite starting to get seriously old: the current fourth generation arrived in Australia in late 2009.

It’s not unusual for Toyota to take such an approach with its off-road vehicles, and there is a definite sense of “if it ain’t broke” with the Prado.

The “rugged elegance” marketing slogan is going too far, but this is a dang comfortable vehicle: everyone has ample space, great visibility and a soft ride.

Toyota LandCruiser Prado.
Camera IconToyota LandCruiser Prado. Credit: Supplied

In fact, it’s so soft, the Prado noticeably rocks forward and back when coming to a stop, but it suits the character of the vehicle; no one is buying this for dynamics.

The interior is starting to show its age, but the switchgear is all logically placed with big, hardy and easy-to-use buttons.

Buyers can now choose to have the spare wheel mounted under the car as a no-cost option, with a handy split tailgate for easy access.

Choosing this does sacrifice the 63-litre sub tank though, leaving you with “just” 87 litres.

The rear door is still side-hinged, which we don’t love, but this is still a vehicle which feels made for easy, everyday motoring.

Toyota Prado.
Camera IconToyota Prado. Credit: Supplied

Despite being a seven seater, for example, the GXl still has a hardy cargo floor mat for when the third row is stowed.

And despite being old, the Prado has had many updates, including earlier this year when it scored improved standard safety gear and other perks such as a 9-inch infotainment screen, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility, keyless entry and start.

Throw in the genuine off-road capability — Margaret River winery jokes be damned — and you get a package which is pretty easy to love, kind of like a long-serving family dog.

But much like a pooch who is starting to grey, the Prado isn’t in much of a hurry to do anything.

Part of this year’s upgrade saw the engine add 20kW and 50Nm of torque, raising output to 150kW and 500Nm, but the Prado is still a pretty languid customer.

The switchgear is all logically placed with big, hardy and easy-to-use buttons.
Camera IconThe switchgear is all logically placed with big, hardy and easy-to-use buttons. Credit: Supplied/Supplied

Toyota doesn’t offer a 0-100km/h time, but despite the engine upgrade, we’ll estimate it close to or into double digits.

The six-speed auto — now the only transmission choice — is a good pairing and the diesel’s a pretty quiet oil burner, but sinking your foot to get moving at any rate of knots will chew through the fuel.

Claimed fuel use is an impressive 7.9L/100km but if you don’t find some wide open spaces, you’ll soon be deep into double figures. This means more time and money spent at the bowser — and the Prado ain’t cheap to begin with.

The mid-spec GXL we were in starts in the mid-$60,000s before on-road costs and is missing some gear you’d expect from this price point: digital radio, auto dimming rear mirror, a multi-terrain system and — most egregiously — no auto headlights.

Our test car was aided by the $3470 premium interior pack, which added leather-accented, ventilated, heated and power-operated front seats and heated second-row seats.

Toyota Prado.
Camera IconToyota Prado. Credit: Supplied

Some safety gear is also lacking, such as front parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, while the Prado’s five-star ANCAP crash rating is from 2011 and under far less stringent testing protocols than today’s. But what you DO get for the money are more intangible benefits, such as strong resale value, dependability and wide availability of parts and servicing — very important factors for off-roaders. Which is really where the Prado does or doesn’t make sense for buyers.

If you’re going to spend a lot of time outdoors but also need a family hauler, then this is about as comfortable and reliable an all-rounder as there is.

Bear in mind, servicing intervals are an annoyingly short six months/10,000km, whichever comes first.

But if you’re doing little more than school drop-offs and peak-hour commutes, you can either save a lot of money or get a lot more features elsewhere for the same spend.


The Prado deserves its WA icon status: it can basically go anywhere and still be comfortable, and has had enough regular updates to stay current. But you’d want to get out of the city regularly to make it worth your money.


  • Price: $66,540 (as tested $70,010)
  • Engine: 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel
  • Outputs: 150kW/500Nm
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic
  • Fuel economy: 7.9L/100km

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