The Land Cruiser Prado has established itself as one of the most accomplished off-roaders on the South African market. While many SUV’s are bought for ‘curb appeal’, the Prado leverages its Land Cruiser DNA to deliver when the going gets tough. The Land Cruiser badge carries substantial cachet and whether it is the utility-focused 70-series, poised Prado or flagship 200-series – owners have come to rely on the robust construction and go-anywhere capability that the Land Cruiser badge signifies.

Power Up

At the heart of the revised range is an additional 30kW of power and 100Nm of torque derived from the switch to the latest-generation 2.8-litre GD-6 turbo diesel engine, that is now mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission (previously five-speed).

Prado’s overlanding and towing credentials benefit from the higher-performance engine that now delivers a maximum of 150kW@3400rpm and 500Nm over a wider 1600-2800rpm band.

The latest generation 2.8 GD-6 engine (as debuted in the updated Hilux) has received a raft of upgrades including a new ball-bearing turbocharger with a larger turbine and impeller, and improved engine rigidity and cooling. Better fuel economy is realised through optimised pistons and piston rings, changes to the cylinder block and head, higher fuel-injection flow rate and the adoption of high-performance materials for the exhaust manifold and cylinder-head gasket.

A newly-fitted balance shaft helps smooth out engine vibrations, improving NVH performance and contributing to an even higher degree of refinement.

The new six-speed transmission has revised torque converter lock-up mapping, to provide smooth yet firm gearshifts and a newly-added paddle-shift function. A low-range transfer case makes off-roading a cinch, while user-selectable differential locks (centre and rear) keep the wheels ‘in sync’ when navigating slippery conditions.

The 4.0-litre petrol engine continues unaltered (also mated to a six-speed automatic transmission). Maximum power is 202 kW at 5,600rpm, with peak torque of 381Nm delivered at 4,400rpm.

Enhanced Efficiency & Towing

Despite the substantially stronger outputs, fuel consumption improves to 7.9 litres/100km and CO2 emissions are down to 209 g/km. Fuel capacity is 150 litres with an 87-litre main tank and 63-litre sub tank. Maximum braked towing capacity is increased to 3,000kg on 2.8 models.

New Infotainment

A new-generation multimedia system is fitted across the range, which now incorporates a larger 9-inch touchscreen display (previous 8-inch), enhanced voice recognition and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Customers are able to utilise mobile-phone-services such as Google Maps, Waze, Spotify, SoundCloud etc. to enhance their driving experience – while providing enhanced telephony and messaging interfaces ‘on-the-fly’. An embedded satellite navigation system complements the aforementioned smartphone functionality – particularly useful when out of signal range.

Standard Specification

As before a three-grade strategy is followed; TX, VX and VX-L. The TX variants come well equipped with automatic dual-zone climate control, 6-speaker touch audio system, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, illuminated entry, cruise control, park distance control, keyless entry, auto door lock, three power outlets, Bluetooth connectivity, USB, 3rd row seating and reverse camera. Seat heating and ventilation are provided for front row occupants while 2nd row occupants also benefit from seat heating. The refrigerated centre console helps make light work of road trips or bushveld excursions.

VX models amplify the comfort and convenience specification with the addition of memory function for the driver’s seat, a 14-speaker Premium audio system with woofer, multi-information display, power tilt-and-telescopic steering adjustment, rain-sensing wipers and power-fold-down functionality for the 3rd row seats.

The flagship VX-L versions feature Toyota Safety Sense (TSS), which encompasses Pre-Collision System (PCS), Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Blind-Spot Monitoring (BSM), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA). In addition, the Automatic High Beam (AHB) function provides enhanced visibility via the LED headlamps when activated. A power-operated tilt-and-slide moonroof completes the VX-L package.

Off-road technologies

All Prado models feature Toyota’s Active Traction Control system (A-TRAC), which actively regulates wheel-slip, by directing torque to the wheel with the most traction. The system is capable of applying braking pressure to wheels individually to maximise traction. Hill Assist Control (HAC) forms part of the standard ensemble.

The Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) system (VX and VX-L only), operated by a centrally mounted rotary knob, allows the driver to select the correct mode depending on the ‘road’ ahead. The system has five pre-configured modes (mud & sand, loose rock, mogul, rock & dirt and rock),

to tailor the vehicle’s traction control, transmission characteristics, power delivery and suspension settings to the terrain at hand. Downhill Assist Control (DAC) and Crawl Control are included on VX and VX-L models.

New for 2020 is the inclusion of ‘Drive Mode Select’ on 2.8 VX and VX-L variants (already standard on the V6), which offers five modes; Comfort, Sport, Sport +, Normal and Eco; to adapt vehicle dynamics according to driver preference.

Chassis Configuration

All Land Cruiser Prado’s make use of a rugged body on frame construction – proven to offer the best strength and wheel articulation – with a double-wishbone front design and multi-link rear layout. TX models use conventional steel springs and dampers while VX and VX-L versions boast Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS).

KDSS employs a hydraulic system attached to the sway bars, to effectively link all four wheels thereby reducing body roll and improving wheel articulation. The KDSS system thereby offers the best of both worlds; excellent body-roll control for on-road driving, while having the ability to disengage the sway bars during off road driving – for improved wheel articulation and mechanical grip.

In addition, the VX and VX-L models also make use of Toyota’s Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) to allow adjustability of the shock absorber damping level. This is linked to the Drive Mode Select function.

Colour & Trim

A total of eight exterior colours are on offer, ranging from Glacier White to the sophisticated Blackish Ageha (a dark metallic teal). For 2020, Raven Black (solid black) and Attitude Black (metallic black) have been added to the palette.

Buyers have the choice of two interior colour schemes on the VX and VX-L; Black and ‘Neutral Beige’. A matte-finish Walnut wood trim is paired with the Black interior, whilst the Beige iteration is paired with matte Oak accents. TX models forego the wood trim for a classic black interior design.   

Model Line-Up & Pricing

Prado 2.8L Diesel TX             – R 939,900

Prado 4.0L Petrol VX              – R 1,029,000

Prado 2.8L Diesel VX             – R 1,060,600

Prado 4.0L Petrol VX-L          – R 1,072,600

Prado 2.8L Diesel VX-L          – R 1,105,800

The model line-up remains unchanged.

Warranty & Maintenance

All Prado models are sold with a 9-services/90 000 km service plan – with 10 000 km service intervals. A 3-year/100 000 km warranty is also provided. Customers can purchase an additional service plan and warranty extensions from their local Toyota dealer – and benefit from the biggest dealer network in the country (over 220).

Land Cruiser 200

The flagship Land Cruiser 200 (aka LC200) in top ‘spec’ VX-R trim has also benefited from a cosmetic ‘nip and tuck’. A distinctive new front-grille design with horizontal bars and broader central ‘bridge’, creates an imposing façade befitting its ‘Master of Africa’ status. In addition, the VX-R model now also comes equipped with wireless headsets – to allow seamless use of the rear seat entertainment system.

The Golden Beige Metallic colour has been discontinued while two new black exterior colour options are on offer; Raven Black (solid) and Attitude Black (metallic).