2018 Toyota Kluger Grande Review

2018 Toyota Kluger Grande Road Test, Review

Toyota Kluger was first released to Australia in 2003 and the latest version of the Kluger was first introduced in 2014 with a significant upgrade in early 2017. We had on test the Grande model which is the range topping version.

Let’s just go with a quick overview to start.

It’s a 7 seat 2WD and AWD SUV featuring a 3.5 litre V6 engine (upgraded in 2017) with practical versatility and amazing internal space.


The Kluger looks good for a family wagon, drives with almost car like handling and ride, has an abundance of standard comfort and safety features and sells in droves for Toyota.

It features a restrained yet solid design with a strong grill, lower fog lights, muscular lines and sloping rear roof line.

2018 Toyota Kluger Grande interiorInterior

Inside the 2018 Toyota Kluger Grande is comfortable, roomy and familiar.

The driver’s seat has plenty of adjustments and with the height and reach adjustable steering wheel every driver should be able to find their perfect driving position.

The dash is easy to read and simple to navigate.

The centre stack houses the infotainment system that unlike a lot of the Toyota systems, looks integrated in to the dash. It also does look a little plastic though.

Bluetooth connection is a breeze.

Visibility is good with the new panoramic view monitor for Grande.

This system uses four cameras (front, rear and in the side mirrors) to display a 360-degree bird’s-eye view of the vehicle surroundings when driving at low speeds – especially useful for negotiating tight parking spots.

Even for taller drivers such as myself there is ample head and shoulder room.

Front seats are now air conditioned. The second row of seats are again comfortable, even for three.

Again ample head shoulder room.

With the flat floor there is room for the middle passenger feet as well.

With the driver’s seat fully back there is enough room for me to sit behind myself in comfort.

The third row of seats is amongst the best in class and both rear rows now benefit from a DVD player to keep the troops entertained.

In line with the perfect SUV theory there are cup holders and storage bins everywhere.

The centre console is probably the biggest and best designed in any vehicle.

It serves as a great arm rest and is cavernous as well as practical.


The list of standard features on the Toyota Kluger Grande is impressive and includes:

  • Electric power steering
  • Six-speaker display audio with Toyota Link connected mobility
  • Front foglamps
  • Privacy glass and power-adjustable exterior mirrors
  • Three-zone climate-control air-conditioning
  • Keyless entry and ignition
  • Roof rails
  • Premium steering wheel and shift knob
  • Leather-accented seats with a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat

Exclusive Grande features include:

  • Active cruise control
  • Blind spot monitor
  • Auto high beam
  • Tilt-and-slide moon roof
  • A/C front seats with two-position memory for the driver’s seat
  • Nine-inch rear-seat entertainment system with Blu-ray player
  • Heated exterior mirrors with memory function and puddle lamps
  • Electro-chromatic interior mirror
  • Second-row retractable sunshades
  • Backing-guide monitor for the reverse camera

In what is becoming a new sales trend, the Kluger is becoming more popular as a 2WD as well as its traditional AWD roots.

Buyers are looking for the benefits of the SUV body style but don’t necessarily want or need the benefits of AWD.

Drive and Engine

The 3.5L V6 petrol engine produces 218kW/350Nm. The Kluger, in an effort to improve driveability and economy, now has an eight-speed automatic transmission.

It isn’t a powerhouse or exciting but neither does it lag the traffic or feel sluggish. It is adequate for the job. As mentioned the Kluger now is available in both 2WD and AWD versions.

It is really an AWD SUV for forest trails, down to the snow for a weekend, some sand driving and towing the Jet Ski.

The AWD system in the Kluger is the Dynamic Torque Control AWD.

It really is a safety feature as much as anything.


The recent upgrade has seen the safety of the Grande improved.

Standard features include:

  • Seven airbags
  • Reverse camera
  • Rear parking sensors
  • Anti-skid brakes with brake assist
  • Electronic brake-force distribution
  • Stability and traction control
  • Hill-start assist control
  • Pre-collision safety system with autonomous emergency braking
  • Grande’s lane departure alert is now supplemented with steering control and sway warning

The Toyota Kluger Grande now has rear cross-traffic alert, a system to aid reversing out of a parking space.

Given the proximity of where most of the Kluger’s are to be used this is a major addition. School car parks, shopping centres, local playgrounds.

Places where there is a lot of kids running around and cars constantly moving around. This is a huge bonus.

Good Bits:

  • Practicality
  • Internal space
  • Fit for purpose

Not So Good Bits:

  • Needs diesel engine
  • Lack of character
  • No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto

2018 Toyota Kluger GrandeSummary

It could be described as the perfect family wagon. It does everything with a minimum of fuss, isn’t fazed by anything in its daily life and transports the family in comfort and safety.

It is loaded with features for the family and isn’t too expensive. It is however a little boring and still is a bit heavier on fuel than alternative diesel engine SUV’s.

Facts and Figures: 2018 Toyota Kluger Grande SUV

  • Engine: 3.5L V6 Petrol 218kW/350Nm
  • Transmission: Eight-speed auto (constant AWD)
  • Safety: Five stars
  • Origin: Japan
  • Warranty: 3yrs/100,000km
  • Price: from $74,621
2018 Toyota Kluger Grande
  • Overall Rating

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