Toyota Prado GX 4WD Review

Toyota Prado GX Road Test

Toyota Prado GX Overview

The Toyota Prado in some ways has always been an underrated 4WD.  Often dubbed a soccer mums taxi, the Prado has always had excellent off road ability.

It’s just that many owners never explored those qualities. Updated in both 2016 and again in 2017, the Prado has managed to keep at the forefront of the segment

The Toyota Prado GX 5 seat wagon we are testing here, in some ways is an entry level 4WD aimed more at the real purpose, rather than a family run-around.

Priced from around $61,682 RDAP, the Prado GX auto is an affordable way to buy a genuine 4WD without many of the extras that are nice but not necessary to have.

Toyota Prado GX 4WD

Toyota Prado GX External

Externally the Prado GX looks the same as the Kakadu, without the fog lights, DRL’s, roof rails etc. It runs on 265/65R17 tyres on 6spoke alloy rims. Recent upgrades has seen he bonnet acquire similar bonnet sculpturing to the LC200 series.

This actually assists visibility. There are some muscular wheel arch bulges and the whole lines actually look pretty good. It also has halogen headlights and colour coded bumpers

Toyota Prado GX Internal

Inside the Prado GX there is adequate room for all passengers. The driver’s seat is relatively comfortable, even after a few hours at the wheel. It has manual adjustment and no lumbar adjustment.

I personally dislike the fabric seats. For some strange reason I find myself always pushing back against the seat. I would prefer vinyl, I know I am probably Robinson Crusoe here, but the seats in the GX LC 76 are more practical.

The steering wheel is comfortable and being height and reach adjustable, easy to manoeuvre to a good driving position. It doesn’t have a lot of controls on it, basically having the Bluetooth and audio controls.

One feature I really like, even though other reviewers dislike it, is the simple to use cruise control stalk, and on the manual it’s NOT adaptive, thanks Toyota. The auto ACC thankfully is easy to override.

The dash is clearly visible through the steering wheel with has two large and two small dials with a simple MFD in-between. It tells you everything you need to know and quite frankly as a driver I shouldn’t be reminded of what my economy driving style is.

The central console and stack are well laid out, easy to use and simple. It hoses the 8 inch screen and audio system.  There is a 9 speaker sound system.

The GX doesn’t get satellite navigation, but if Toyota got over their refusal to utilise Apple Car Play and Android Auto, this wouldn’t be a problem.

If you are heading off road there are any number of good 4WD systems, especially the HEMA system for navigation.  Also the screen is a little insensitive to touch on occasions.

Both front and reap passengers have plenty of head and shoulder room. There is enough front seat slide for front occupants.

Rear passengers have a little restricted knee room but overall it is great for four and even five occupants. The almost flat footwell also provides more comfort for the middle passenger.

The rear seats will fold flat on a split arrangement to give a flexible boot area. While not cavernous it is more than adequate.

The best thing Toyota has done is get rid of those ridiculous fold up rear seats, I know not an issue on the five seat GX but just had to rant.

One thing to note is that overall visibility from the Prado is surprisingly good. Over bonnet view is improved, there are great internal and external mirrors and the rear camera is an essential safety feature on all cars.

The other great thing about the Prado is the rear mounted full size spare. No underbody slung spare that gets damaged and useless when you need it most.

Toyota Prado GX 4WD

Toyota Prado GX Features/Technology

Even though this is an entry level model it still has little features that are welcomed, such as

  • illuminated vanity mirrors for both front occupants,
  • rear AC vents,
  • smart entry (which moves the steering wheel up out of the way while you get in) and
  • smart start,
  • 220-volt rear accessory socket,
  • USB auxiliary input and iPod®9control,
  • side mirror-mounted indicators,
  • conversation mirror,
  • power windows front and rear and
  • UV-cut glass
  • Electroluminescent combimeter with colour Multi Information Display (automatic only)
  • Satellite Navigation[N1]with SUNATM[G7] traffic channel
  • Reversing Camera

Toyota Prado GX 4WD

Toyota Prado GX Engine/Drivetrain

The Prado GX is now offered with the same diesel engine that sits in the Hilux and Fortuner vehicles.

It is a 2.8L, Four cylinder in-line, 16-valve, DOHC diesel that produces 130kW @ 3400rpm of power and 450Nm @ 1600rpm of torque (auto version).

The manual has torque of 420Nm @ 1400rpm. This runs through either a six speed manual or six speed automatic transmission.

This combination of low torque and well suited transmission means that for a relatively large 4WD the Prado is frugal with diesel using just 8.0L/100k ADR.

In real world use, the Prado is certainly economical, especially on the freeway. This will see you getting upwards of 900km out of a tank of fuel.

The manual GX will tow 2500kg and the auto version will tow 3000kg. The recent engine power upgrades have enhanced the Prado’s towing ability.

It still isn’t a powerhouse, but the available torque low down allows relaxed cruising. Just don’t try to win any traffic light derbies.

Having said that the Prado makes a pretty good tow vehicle both on and off road and the trailer sway control greatly assists the driver.

Toyota Prado GX 4WD

Toyota Prado GX 4WD Ability

The Prado has constant four-wheel drive; two-speed transfer case with lockable centre Torsen LSD.

Enhancing its 4WD credibility is the full chassis with independent, with upper and lower wishbones, coil springs, gas dampers and ball-joint mounted anti-roll bar front suspension and rigid live axle, five-link system with upper and lower link trailing arms, Panhard rod, coil springs, gas dampers and ball-joint mounted anti-roll bar rear suspension.

Off road the Prado is a more than capable performer. We have driven them, including the GX, on sand, firetrails, in the desert, on the farm, along tight4WD tracks, just about everywhere.

They simply don’t let you down and the reliability is awesome. The recent engine upgrades also help with towing, both on and off road. On road the Prado has good ride and handling for a 4WD, better than most

Toyota Prado GX 4WD

Toyota Prado GX Dimensions

The Prado GX has an:

  • overall length of 4995mm,
  • wheelbase of 2790mm,
  • width of 1885mm,
  • Height of 1845mm,
  • Unladen ground clearance is 219mm,
  • Approach angle is 30.4 degrees, rampover is 21.1 and departure angle is 23.3 degrees.
  • Wading depth is 700mm,
  • Turning circle is 10.76m,
  • GVM of 2990kg, GCM 5990kg (AT)
  • Towing capacity is 3000kg and tow ball rating is up to 10%

Toyota Prado GX Safety

Safety is still a strong feature with the GX Prado with:

  • seven airbags,
  • rear view camera,
  • trailer sway control,
  • emergency brake signal,
  • whiplash injury lessening front seats,
  • vehicle stability control,
  • active traction control (A-TRC),
  • ABS with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and brake assist (BA).

The automatic version adds:

  • Toyota Safety Sense+ (automatic only) including pre-collision safety system with pedestrian detection,
  • lane departure alert,
  • automatic high beam,
  • active cruise control (but easy to disable),
  • hill-start assist control (HAC) and
  • downhill assist control (DAC).

There is no blind spot monitoring, but the external rear view mirrors are a decent size and easy to electronically adjust to get the best view, that should negate the need for BSM.

Toyota Prado GX Conclusion

So there it is. The Toyota Prado GX 5 seat 4WD wagon.

It could be the 4WD enthusiasts are looking for.

It is affordable, has genuine 4WD capability, can tow 3000kg, is economical, has an abundance of aftermarket accessories for it and has Toyota’s legendary reliability.

Toyota Prado GX 4WD

Good:

  • Value for money
  • Standard features
  • Towing & 4WD ability

Not so Good:

  • No Apple CarPlay®/Android® Auto
  • No Sat Nav
  • Fabric seats

Model – Toyota Prado  GX

Model Price   $61,682 RDAP

Engine           2.8L 4 Cyl  D4D

Drivetrain      6 Sp AT 4WD

Power            130kW @ 3,400rpm

Torque          450Nm @ 1,600rpm

Safety            S Star ANCAP

CO2        211g/km

Economy actual    8.0L/100 km ADR

Servicing        Capped Price

Tow Rating    Max 3,000kg

Tow Ball Rating     300kg

Warranty       3 Yrs / 100,000 km 3 Yrs Roadside Assist

Overall Rating 86/100

  • Behind the Wheel    8
  • Comfort                       8
  • Equipment            8
  • Performance         8
  • Ride & Handling          8
  • Practicality            9
  • Fit for Purpose             9
  • Towing Ability             9
  • Off Road Ability          10
  • Value for Money          9
Toyota Prado GX 4WD
  • Rating
4.3

Summary

The Toyota Prado in some ways has always been an underrated 4WD.  Often dubbed a soccer mums taxi, the Prado has always had excellent off road ability.

It’s just that many owners never explored those qualities. Updated in both 2016 and again in 2017, the Prado has managed to keep at the forefront of the segment

About Rob Fraser 898 Articles
Rob Fraser – General dogsbody & Director Rob is the founder of the business. He constantly mutters something about way too many red wines one evening being to blame. Often known for taking the 4WD in the driveway over the sports car, he has travelled pretty much everywhere in Australia and when he is bored goes for a drive. He first learned to drive on the farm in a left hand drive WW11 Jeep when he was 11, and was hooked on 4WDriving way back then. In addition to 4WD he is an avid motoring enthusiast and has maintained a strong interest in the industry ever since his teens. He has owned way too many cars in his time as well. Having previously lived at the top of corporate life he retired in 2000 and hasn’t put a suit and tie on since. Cars are his passion so why not have a business doing what you love he figures. He has towed either a caravan or camper trailer to most parts of Australia, has run guided tours for camper trailers’ and instructed drivers in off road towing.