Expand your Horizon in the Toyota Prado Kakadu

Australia is a big country and you could spend years travelling around and across it and still not explore every region. Although exploration of our wide brown land is stifled at the moment with border closures, there are still many places within your own state that you could get to know better and the Toyota Prado Kakadu is one vehicle that can get you there.

The Prado is the second largest SUV the Toyota model line-up and it straddles the gap between ‘urban’ SUVs and the Land Cruiser. The Prado Kakadu Horizon I recently drove was a seven seat version with luxury inclusions like leather-accented seats and wood-grained trim. But it is also fitted with Toyota four-wheel drive features like 5-speed crawl control, Multi-Terrain Select system, low range 4WD, or lockable centre diff or rear diff.

I did not test out the 4WD capabilities of the Prado though and spent my week testing out its on-road abilities. Here you get five drive modes to choose from; Comfort, Eco, Normal, Sport and Sport+. The ride in the Prado is comfortable and is powered by a four cylinder, 2.8 litre turbo-diesel engine produces 150kW and 500Nm of torque. This is paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters on steering wheel.

The official combined fuel consumption is 7.9L/100km and I used 11.1L/100km of diesel. This figure would most likely increase further if you were towing and the capacity here for the Prado is 3,000kg for a braked trailer. My Prado was fitted with the flat tailgate, which I really liked, with a glass hatch and this relocates the full-size spare wheel to underneath the 4WD and reduces the fuel tank capacity to only 87 litres in a single fuel tank.

Just because you may go exploring in your Prado it doesn’t mean you need to rough it. Both front seats are heated and cooled in the Kakadu, but neither of these functions worked all that well.  The seats also have power adjustment, with the driver getting additional lumbar adjustment and two memory positions. If you are headed off the beaten track you will appreciate the refrigerated cool box under arm rest that keeps things very cool and has enough space for four drinks. There is also large drink bottle storage in door cubbies and two small cup holders in front of the gear lever.

In front of arm rest there is one 12V outlet, one USB port, one AUX inlet and a slot to store your phone. All Prado variants come standard with a central 9″ colour touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Kakadu also has a premium JBL 14-speaker surround sound system to enjoy your media from MP3, AM/FM, DAB, USB or Bluetooth.  

Some good features at the front of the cabin include a convex mirror so you can see what is happening in the back. You can also raise and lower the Prado from buttons on dash.  And the voice control works well for audio and phone calls, but button has a masculine silhouette on it, which is similar to many other car brands.

There is ample head and leg room for adults in the second row seats and there are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points for your children. The two outer seats are heated, but my children told me they did not work all that well either. The centre seat folds down as an arm rest with drink bottle holders and rear passengers can enjoy a movie on the 9″ rear entertainment screen that comes with three sets of wireless headphones with volume control on the headphones. This system has video input, SD card, DVD and USB and you can also plug in two sets of wired headphones and individual adjust their volume. But I prefer not to give my children a screen, I like them to look out the window and take in the landscape we are driving through, especially it is somewhere new. Rear passengers have separate rear climate control for speed, temperature, and mode, with vents in the roof for second and third row passengers. The second row also has a 40/20/40 split folding mechanism.

A third row of seats, standard on GXL models and up, give you flexibility for your seating options. The third row seats can be raised or lowered using the buttons in the boot or on the wheel arch and are accessed by sliding the second row seats forward. There is not enough space for adults to sit in the third row and they do not have any child seat restraint points. There are drink holders in the wheel arches and the third row has a 50/50 split folding mechanism.

With third row seats in place, the boot space is negligible and would not even fit school bags in and if you are using the third row seats then the retractable cargo cover needs to be fully removed as it does not fit I the boot. But if the third row seats are laid flat there is loads of boot space available.

The Prado comes with Toyota Safety Sense [S1] with Pre-Collision Safety System with Pedestrian Detection (Day and Night), Cyclist Detection (Day only), High Speed Active Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert, Auto High Beam and Road Sign Assist. The Kakadu also gets Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Monitoring and a 360o view reversing camera with front and rear sensors. Passive safety includes seven airbags and the Prado has 5-star (2011) ANCAP safety rating.

All new Toyota vehicles come with a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty and this can be extended for up to seven years with unlimited kilometres on Engine and Driveline if your vehicle is properly serviced and maintained as per the vehicle’s Warranty and Service book. Plus if a defect covered by the Toyota Warranty Advantage causes your vehicle to be undriveable, towing to the nearest Toyota Dealer and a loan car is covered.

The service interval for the Prado is 6 months or 10,000kms, whichever occurs first. Using Toyota’s website I calculated the first four services for the Kakadu would cost $1,040 under the Toyota Service Advantage program.

The Toyota Prado Kakadu Horizon enables you to go out exploring, but remain comfortable while you are doing it. As tested with the Flat Tailgate and Premium Paint the Prado costs $89,226, excluding on-road costs. Visit your preferred Toyota dealer for more information about the Prado range.

ProsCons
The flat tailgateLimited room in the third row
Refrigerated cool box under arm restOnly a four cylinder engine
Toyota Safety SenseSix monthly service intervals

 Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.