When people ask me what my ultimate ‘Family Car’ is I always reply – the Toyota Kluger. To me, it’s the essential ‘Soccer Mum’ car. No, not the old mini-van with the million and one connotations attached to the ‘Soccer Mum’ label. Instead I mean it’s the ideal combination of practicality, function, design, technology and ease of use. This week we have had the top of the AWD line – the Grande – to test.
The Kluger boasts a commanding presence, thanks in part to the more American styling with angular lines, 19” alloy wheels, a huge moon roof and boxier shape. It’s a big vehicle, there’s no doubt about it, but what makes this size so great is that it translates to the interior. The most common comment about the Kluger is just how spacious it is inside and many wonder where Toyota found that space…myself included! The driver’s seat allows just about anyone to find a comfortable position with electronic controls and the added bonus of cushion tilt adjustment as well as lumbar and thigh support. A fully adjustable steering wheel houses a user-friendly layout of cruise control, audio functions and controls for the host of information packed into the driver’s information dash.
The overall feeling you get inside the Kluger Grande is that of quality – especially with premium trims everywhere – and of space. Not only space – but space well used. The storage ledge that runs all the way from the centre dash across the passenger side is immensely useful, a HUGE centre console and there are a total of 12 cup/bottle holders. Another incredibly practical thing is the fact there are three climate control zones for the air-conditioning, ensuring comfort for all three rows of occupants. The central multimedia display is an 8inch touchscreen which features all the usual including a reverse camera, wireless connectivity and also a 9inch rear screen for the munchkins in the back. The Grande boasts a whole host of extra features including blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, the fancy pre-collision system (all combining to give the Kluger a 5 star ANACAP rating), powered tailgate and blinds for the second row just to name a few.
While we now know it’s incredibly practical and spacious inside with touches of luxury you’re bound to appreciate on the early morning sports runs – we need to know what it’s like to drive. The Toyota Kluger is powered by a 3.5L V6 petrol engine that produces the impressive 201kW of power and 337Nm of torque needed to move this large SUV. The sheer size of this vehicle means that fuel efficiency is not at the top of the list – coming in at around 14L/100km. What is surprisingly lacking is a diesel variant! However, once you’re on the road it drives great. The suspension is firm, the drive is quiet and while it’s no Toyota 86, rarely do you notice its size.
Priced at $73,403* drive away (our test vehicle had premium paint i.e. any colour except black, bringing it in at $73,983*), it is well at the top of the price range for most families – but if you’re budget can stretch, it’s well worth it!
*prices for postcode 2000 and subject to change.