Deep, thick beach sand and clingy mud provided just two of the obstacles faced by the new Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (and its drivers) on the launch drive of the latest generation of a vehicle that traces its back to 1951.

The latest Toyota Land Cruiser Prado takes a nostalgic step back to its roots. Toyota's new version emphasises design and positioning, ensuring it firmly belongs in the Land Cruiser family. With design cues reminiscent of earlier models, the two new variants certainly echo the past.

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado TX front view

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Built on the new body-on-frame New Global Architecture GA-F platform, the Prado now boasts improved rigidity, responsiveness and handling both on and off-road. It's the first Land Cruiser to feature electric power steering and a new disconnecting anti-roll bar system.

The Prado’s design highlights include a horizontal axis, long bonnet, upright windscreen, short front overhang and distinctive trapezoidal wheel arches. The vehicle measures 4 925 mm in length, 1 980 mm in width and 1 935 mm in height, with a 2,850 mm wheelbase.

Fuel efficiency is also aided by the 8-speed automatic transmission, now featuring a multi-plate lock-up clutch.

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado TX rear view

Finance for your new Prado - click here

The Land Cruiser's journey began as the ‘Toyota BJ’ in 1951, making history as the first vehicle to reach the sixth station of Mount Fuji. Since then, Toyota's mission has been to create a vehicle capable of handling the harshest environments with safety and reliability. The Land Cruiser’s legacy has made it one of Toyota’s best-sellers, with more than 11,3-million sales in over 170 countries and regions.

South African buyers will have the choice of two grades – the base model TX, seen as more of an ‘on-road’ version for daily use, and the higher specification VX-R, which comes with the clever Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) as standard.

The 2,8-litre turbo-diesel engine, paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, has been re-engineered for enhanced performance.

The engine delivers 150 kW at 3 000 r/min and 500 Nm of torque from 1 600 r/min. For daily on-road driving, you can expect a fuel consumption of around 7.9 l/100 km, giving a range of about 1,300 kilometres—slightly less than previous models due to the spare wheel moving from the rear door (now a tailgate) to under the body, reducing the tank size by 30 litres.

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado VX-R driver cockpit

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The launch drive took us from Maputo Airport and across the spectacular Maputo–Katembe suspension bridge (Ponte de Maputo a Katembe) across Maputo Bay and South to Punta De Ouro, this route all fully tarred and fairly low speed as it traverses a national park where elephant and other wildlife can be spotted.

Burbling along in the base model TX certainly did not bother the fuel gauge much and the on-board computer showed 7,1 l/100 km when we turned off onto the sandy coastal road and headed for our overnight stop.

The TX – permanent all-wheel drive as is the VX-R – has a quick switch to Low Range and comes with diff lock as standard, while the VX-R gains the Multi-Terrain System (MTS).

By selecting the terrain type from the dashboard menu – sand, mud, dirt road, snow or auto – the engine and gearbox work together to provide the best options for the situation.

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado VX-R on dirt

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This was put to the test on the second part of the drive when – now VX-R mounted – we drove through some really heavy sand and mud (you can see it on the video here) with both variants handling the conditions with aplomb – even when this driver did get it a little bit wrong!




Prado 2.8GD TX – R1 296 300

Prado 2.8GD VX-R – R1 448 900

All Land Cruiser Prado models come standard with 9-services/90 000km service plan and a 3-year/100 000km warranty.

Colin Windell