When an opportunity arises to get out of the office and escape the hectic lifestyle of the city, if you’re lucky enough to have the chance, then it’s not something that you should often pass up!
So when word came through that the new Prado was being launched soon and would we be interested in both assisting to capture some footage and also help further field test the new range of Genuine Accessories complimenting the release as well, as you’d guess, we didn’t have to think about it for too long, and what better place to spend a week, than one of the most scenic and beautiful sand islands that the world has to offer, Moreton Island!
A few months later……9 nine vehicles, two caravans and a boat came together at the Micat ferry for the run over, and after an initial meeting and safety induction, the ferry was launching off and we soon had the familiar feeling of fresh salt air blowing in the face with a view over the turquoise waters of Moreton Bay….. fading both the city and its business worries away!
After a bit over an hour of spectacular bay view’s while enjoying a coffee on the deck, the Tangalooma wrecks soon approached and the time had come to head down to the Prado as the ferry ramp was lowering onto the white sands of the western beach!
Walking towards this new ‘Kakadu’ model, it’s most distinct new styling is obviously in the front end. The change in headlights being most significant, which now accomodate the LED ‘Daylight Running Lamps’, running on an angle to follow the grille, which really does enhance visibility for oncoming traffic.
Jumping inside there’s a new look dash, and a bit more of a driver / passenger ‘zone’ also with some nice subtle difference’s in the dials and controls.
Sitting behind the wheel, it’s very noticable after driving the previous model for some time that when fitted with the newly shaped Genuine alloy bar, it no longer sits as visible above the front bonnet when driving, it’s lower and more shaped with the vehicle.
One thing of interest which we learnt while doing the testing and having a chat to the engineers up from Melbourne who design the new accessories for the vehicle’s, is not only the length of time in designing, though it’s very much based around the safety aspect, with crash testing that incorporates a ‘crash box’ that the bar fixes to, which has been designed to not only work in tandem with the airbag deployment in the event of a crash, but more importantly, exactly ‘when’ they deploy, which only the factories have access to for their development.
A new single axle Kedron ‘Compact’ weighing around 2t was hitched up, and the time had come to jump behind the wheel and see how the new model felt with and without a van in tow.
For this trip we had the 3.0litre Turbo Diesel, as was the case with our last DVD trip vehicle up to the Cape. The diesel just gives a much more usable torque range, and is perfect for off-road!
So how does it perform…..well it’s pretty much identical to the previous model, which is a great thing! To be honest, prior leaving on the last ‘Coral Coast’ trip, our thoughts were like that of a lot, thinking that the Prado was a great blend and compromise in the 4WD family for mainly an around town, dirt road and weekend beach style getaway, boasting more room than the smaller models but not quite as big as the LC200 if you didn’t need the extra size and tow capacity, but we didn’t credit it for the more serious 4WD capabilities of say the 70 or 200 Series! Well that was before the trip…. our opinions truly did change after, with some serious test towing of around 2450kg’s through some of Australia’s most rugged and inhospitable tracks!
Having this new found respect in the back of our mind, a run towing the smaller van over on Moreton didn’t present any concern, more so a looking forward to the simple pleasure of experiencing that great feel of travel and adventure to areas previously discovered, and those not yet seen.
We put the new model through all different types of terrain, from both hard and soft sand, inland tracks with deep rutted cuttings, to freshwater crossings and rocky bypasses.
Put very simply, it is an extremely capable and comfortable vehicle!
For those in the market for a new vehicle you should choose with an initial focus centred around suitability for your main needs and then desires, with this then looking at capability to both do what you are looking to do and to go where you are wanting to go, along with reliability, back-up support and obviously budget coming into play also.
There’s no denying we have been a Toyota driving family since well before I was born, with many trips around Australia growing up, but as things have grown over the years, we are very respectful and appreciative to have both had and be given the opportunities to test new products as they come out, and yes we think this is a fantastic addition to the line-up, though with its history, popularity and amount of product developments and testing that go in prior, I guess it would be very difficult to prove otherwise, it’s almost like recommending chocolate to a sweet-tooth, and if it’s in the criteria of what you are looking for, then would have to say it’s a fantastic option for that blend of city, travel, towing and the more adventure seeking 4WD enthusiast also!
Safe and enjoyable travels!
(Oh, and for those that haven’t experienced the magic that Moreton is, make time for a trip over there at least once!)
Glen & All the Gall Family.
#Please note ‘Kakadu’ model pictured, fitted with optional Accessories, for detailed spec’s & info: www.toyota.com.au
#Info on getting to Moreton: www.moretonislandadventures.com.au