- Excellent off-road capability
- Reasonable standard equipment
- Added power makes it far more drivable than before
- Six-month service intervals add cost and inconvenience
- It's getting quite long in the tooth now
- Dated cabin and infotainment system
Off-road focused SUVs are all the rage these days. Though they may not be the cheapest to buy, they offer the versatility for those who want more from the family SUV. One of the first mid-sized off-road SUVs was the LandCruiser Prado, released back in 1990. Now in its 32nd year of production, does the 2022 Toyota LandCruiser Prado Kakadu still offer the same versatility that the original offered? Let’s find out.
The Kakadu is the top-spec Prado model currently offered in Australia. Gone is the Prado’s main rival – the Mitsubishi Pajero – and now it rivals the likes of the Isuzu MU-X, Ford Everest, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Ssangyong Rexton and LDV D90.
Price & Equipment: 7/10
The 2022 Toyota LandCruiser Prado range kicks off with the $60,830 plus on-road costs GX variant and tops out with the Kakadu we tested here. The Toyota LandCruiser Prado Kakadu will set buyers back $87,807 plus on-road costs (around $95,000 drive away).
Being an off-road focused 4×4 you’d think that the features list on the Prado would be sparse but you’d be wrong. The LandCruiser Prado Kakadu we have here comes with 19-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Dunlop all-terrain tyres, automatic LED headlights, auto wipers, keyless entry and push button start, a 9.0-inch touch screen with satellite navigation, digital radio, wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 14-speaker JBL sound system, tri-zone climate control, a leather steering wheel and gear knob, an auto-dimming rear view mirror, heated, cooled and electric front seats with two person memory for the driver, a fridge in the centre console, a sunroof, electronic steering column adjustment, rear entertainment systems with headphones and power-folding third row seating.
Being quite an old product (this model is now 13-years old), you’d think that the Prado doesn’t have safety kit but Toyota has kept it well updated. It has seven airbags, autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree surround view camera with front and rear parking sensors, hill descent control, trailer sway assist, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, forward collision alert, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and an alarm system.
The only option available for the LandCruiser Prado is the deletion of the full-sized spare wheel on the tailgate, which gets replaced with a more conventional looking tailgate with an opening glass window. This is a no cost option and to make way for the relocation of the spare wheel, the long range fuel tank is deleted.
There are a wide array of colours on the 2022 Toyota LandCruiser Prado range. The standard colours are ‘Ebony’ (black) and ‘Glacier White’. All other colours attract a $675 extra charge and these include ‘Eclipse Black’, ‘Dusty Bronze’, ‘Espresso Brown’, ‘Graphite’, ‘Wildfire’ (red), ‘Silver Pearl’, ‘Crystal Pearl’ and our test car’s ‘Peacock Black’ (navy blue).
Although we do think the Prado Kakadu is well equipped we would like to see the addition of a digital driver’s display, panoramic sunroof, reverse auto braking, lane trace assist and a sound system that offers a better range of sound.
Direct rivals to the 2022 Toyota LandCruiser Prado Kakadu are the $73,190 plus on-road costs Ford Everest Titanium, the $67,400 Isuzu MU-X LS-T 4×4 and the $61,440 Mitsubishi Pajero Sport GSR. All of these offer more standard kit than the Prado, and are a lot less expensive to buy as well.
Performance & Economy: 7/10
The only engine available in the LandCruiser Prado range is Toyota’s familiar 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel engine that has been used in the Prado since this model’s release in 2009. It has recently been given a power bump so it now produces 150kW of power from 3,000 to 3,400rpm and 500Nm of torque between 1,600 and 2,800rpm (up 20kW and 50Nm). But against the upcoming Ford Everest V6 diesel, which makes 184kW of power and 600Nm, the Prado’s outputs are low.
The engine can be on the noisier side of things, but the bump in power is exactly what the Prado needed. It actually accelerates now rather than leaving much to be desired. Being a turbo diesel there is a slight lack in high end power but the low end torque is impressive. The standard and only transmission on offer is a six-speed torque converter automatic transmission, which does the job well. It is nothing to write home about but shifts smoothly and never holds onto gears for too long.
The braked towing capacity of the Prado is 3,000kg – unbraked the Prado can tow 750kg. The Ford Everest has a braked towing capacity of 3,100kg, the Isuzu MU-X can tow 3,500kg and the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport will tow 3,100kg. The Prado can tow a decent amount, but not as much as its rivals.
The claimed fuel economy of the Prado is 7.9L/100km and in our time behind the wheel with a mixture of urban and highway driving, we saw a figure of 9.0L/100km. For a big and cumbersome 4×4, that isn’t too bad. The Prado has a 150-litre fuel tank – our test car, with the flat tailgate, has an 87L tank.
Ride & Handling: 8/10
Being an off-roading vehicle, the on-road ride is actually not too bad. It can be a little choppy at times, but overall it is pretty good. This may be down to the rear air suspension helping even out the ride. We wouldn’t say it was as comfortable as something like Toyota’s own Kluger, but compared to the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and other rivals we think the ride is more than comfortable.
It’s surprisingly nimble around town, which we didn’t expect. The steering is light but reasonable feelsome, the visibility is reasonable for such a large car and the road noise levels are somewhat low.
The off road equipment on the 2022 Toyota LandCruiser Prado is rather impressive. There is permanent 4×4 with a low range transfer case, a Torsen limited slip centre differential, locking rear and centre differentials, a Multi-Terrain Select traction control and a KDSS (Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System) suspension setup which allows the sway bars to dislocate when the car is in rough and uneven terrain so you get better wheel travel and more traction.
Another benefit to the KDSS suspension is that it also reconnects the sway bars making for a better handling ability. The Prado is no Toyota Supra but we do think it sticks to the road better than a lot of the other ute based SUVs, like its Fortuner sibling. It’s also excellent off-road, with 219mm of ground clearance, approach, ramp-over and departure angles of 30.4, 21.1 and 23.5 degrees respectively.
Interior & Practicality: 7/10
The interior of the LandCruiser Prado has remained largely unchanged since this model’s release and that’s both good and bad. The interior is a generally nice place to be, especially on longer trips, thanks to its comfortable seating. But it is quite dated and the vomiting of buttons throughout the cabin as more features have been added over the years can be confusing.
There is a decent amount of storage in the Prado – a centre console fridge that can be turned off and used for storage, a place to store you phone in front of that, two cup holders with a cover, a slot for another phone above the cup holders on the centre console, reasonable door pockets and places for bottles, a nicely sized glovebox and a storage spot for some glasses in the headlining.
The quality in the Prado is what we would call durable. Apart from the leather seating and the wood on the steering wheel and airbag cover there are no other luxury materials. Everything else in the cabin is built to last and to endure off roading.
The 9.0-inch touch screen that sits in the dash of the Prado is not too bad. The infotainment system itself can be a little slow and laggy and the screen quality is a little grainy, but the inbuilt satellite navigation is good and intuitive to set – although we would just connect our phones and use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The 14-speaker JBL sound system is underwhelming, however – we would like to see more depth and range to the sound system.
Stepping up into the second row seating of the 2022 Toyota LandCruiser Prado is easy due to the side steps and grab handles. Once there you are presented with a great amount of knee, shoulder and head room. There is also storage behind the front seats, a fold down centre armrest with cup holders, a rear climate control zone, heated outboard seats and a 12-volt power outlet with a HDMI input for the rear screen (which runs a Blu-Ray player as well).
The third row in the Prado Kakadu is power operated, so folding them up and down is not a bother at all – though it can be quite slow – and the space back there is fine for the kids, but getting adults back there would be a little bit of a struggle. Opening up the rear door of the Prado reveals 120-litres of cargo space with the third row in place, electronically folding them down increases this space to 620L. The second row can also be folded down to reveal a cavernous 1,800L of cargo space. In the boot of the Prado there are hooks and a cargo cover.
Service & Warranty: 7/10
Like all other Toyotas the Prado comes with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty with an extra two-years of warranty on the engine if serviced at a Toyota dealership. The Ford Everest also comes with a five-year warranty but the Isuzu MU-X has a six-year warranty and the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport has a 10-year warranty. Unusually for a mainstream manufacturer, the 2022 Toyota LandCruiser Prado doesn’t come with any form of roadside assistance.
Servicing the Prado comes around every six months/10,000km, which is annoying as other cars like the Ford Everest, Isuzu MU-X and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport only need servicing once a year, not twice. The cost for servicing the Toyota LandCruiser Prado over the span of five years or 100,000km is $2,600, which compared to the $2,315 the Isuzu MU-X and the $1,556 the Ford Everest will cost to service over five years, is steep.
2022 Toyota LandCruiser Prado Kakadu DiscoverAuto Rating: 7.2/10
The 2022 Toyota LandCruiser Prado Kakadu may be old, expensive, cost a fair bit to run and not have the best infotainment system in the segment but does this mean we would discount it completely when looking for a capable off roading family SUV? Absolutely not. The rugged and tough nature of the Prado has an appeal that some of the other rivals just don’t have. That paired with legendary Toyota reliability, we can see why people still flock to the Prado.
We do think the LandCruiser Prado offers a little more versatility to the ute-based SUVs it rivals and with no more Mitsubishi Pajero in the market, the Prado seems to reign supreme. Would we choose the Kakadu in the lineup? Not really – we would save some money and go for the VX trim as it only misses out on the rear entertainment system, the KDSS suspension, woodgrain interior accents, sunroof and the drive mode selector. But regardless of the model chosen, the Prado is a great touring SUV to buy – we just hope that the new model is on its way soon.