Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, new engine tech and appeal

Land Cruiser Prado bolstered with new, more powerful, engine

Reuben Van Niekerk
Land Cruiser Prado
prado new engine
toyota prado

The Land Cruiser Prado has established itself as one of the most accomplished off-roaders on the South African market. While many SUV’s are bought for curb appeal, the Prado leverages its Land Cruiser DNA to deliver when the going gets tough.


Power up

At the heart of the revised range is an additional 30kW of power and 100Nm thanks to the switch to the latest generation 2.8-litre GD-6 turbo diesel engine, that is now mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission. The latest generation 2.8-litre GD-6 engine, which made its debut in the updated Hilux, has received a raft of upgrades. From a new ball-bearing turbocharger with a larger turbine and impeller, to improved engine rigidity and cooling, now boasting 150kW at 3 400 rpm and 500Nm from 1 600rpm.

Better fuel economy is realised through optimised pistons and piston rings, changes to the cylinder block and head, higher fuel-injection flow rate and the adoption of high-performance materials for the exhaust manifold, and cylinder-head gasket. A newly fitted balance shaft helps smooth out engine vibrations, improving NVH performance and contributing to an even higher degree of refinement.

The new six-speed transmission features revised torque convertor lock-up mapping, to provide smooth yet firm gearshifts and a newly-added paddle-shift function.  A low-range transfer case makes off-roading a cinch, while user-selectable differential locks (centre and rear), keep the wheels in sync when navigating slippery conditions. The 4.0-litre petrol engine remains unchanged, still offering 202 kW at 5 600rpm and 318Nm at 4 400rpm and is also mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.


Enhanced efficiency

Despite substantially stronger outputs, fuel consumption of the GD-6 improves to 7.9-litres/100km. Fuel capacity is 150-litres, thanks to an 87-litre main tank and a 63-litre sub tank.


New infotainment

A new generation multimedia system is fitted across the range, which now incorporates a larger nine-inch touchscreen display, enhanced voice recognition and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Customers are able to utilise mobile phone services such as Google Maps, Waze, Spotify and SoundCloud among others to enhance their driving experience. An embedded satellite navigation system complements the aforementioned smartphone functionality, particularly useful when out of signal range.


Standard specification

As before, a three-grade strategy is followed; TX, VX and VX-L. The TX variants come well equipped with automatic dual-zone climate control, six-speaker touch audio system, electrically adjustable drivers seat, illuminated entry, cruise control, park distance control, keyless entry, auto door lock, three power outlets, Bluetooth connectivity, USB, 3rd row seating and reverse camera. Seat heating and ventilation are provided for front row occupants while 2nd row occupants also benefit from seat heating.

VX models amplify the comfort and convenience specification with the addition of memory function for the driver’s seat, a 14-speaker Premium audio system with woofer, multi-information display, power-tilt and telescopic-steering adjustment, rain sensing wipers and power-fold-down functionality for the 3rd row seats.

The flagship VX-L versions feature Toyota Safety Sense, which encompasses Pre-Collision System, Adaptive Cruise Control, Blind-Spot Monitoring, Lane Departure Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. In addition, the Automatic High Beam function provides enhanced visibility via the LED headlamps when activated. A power-operated tilt-and-slide moonroof completes the VX-L package.


Off-road technologies

All Prado models feature Toyota’s Active Traction Control system (A-TRAc), which actively regulates wheel slip, by directing torque to the wheel with the most traction. The system is capable of applying brake pressure to wheels individually to maximise traction. Hill-Assist Control forms part of the standard ensemble.

The Multi-Terrain Select system on VX and VX-L models is operated by a centrally mounted rotary knob and allows the driver to select the correct mode depending on the road ahead. The system has five pre-configured modes (Mud & Sand, Loose Rock, Mogul, Rock and Dirt, and Rock), to tailor the vehicle’s traction control, transmission characteristics, power delivery and suspension settings to the terrain at hand. Downhill Assist Control and Crawl Control are included on VX and VX-L models.

New for 2020 is the inclusion of Drive Mode Select on 2.8 VX and VX-L variants (already standard on the V6), which offers five modes; Comfort, Sport, Sport +, Normal and Eco to adapt vehicle dynamics according to driver preference.


Chassis configuration

All Land Cruiser Prado’s make use of a rugged body on frame construction, proven to offer the best strength and wheel articulation, with a double-wishbone front design and multi-link rear layout. TX models use conventional steel springs and dampers while VX and VX-L versions boast Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS).

KDSS employs a hydraulic system attached to the sway bars, to effectively link all four wheels thereby reducing body roll and improving wheel articulation. The KDSS system thereby offers the best of both worlds, excellent body-roll control for on-road driving, while having the ability to disengage the sway bars during off road driving, for improved wheel articulation and mechanical grip.

In addition, the VX and VX-L models also make use of Toyota’s Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS) to allow adjustability of the shock absorber damping level. This is linked to the Drive Mode Select function.


Colour and trim

A total of eight exterior colours are on offer, ranging from Glacier White to the sophisticated Blackish Ageha (a dark metal teal). For 2020, Raven Black and Attitude have been added to the palette.

Buyers have the choice of two interior colour schemes on the VX and VX-L; Black and Neutral Beige. A matte-finish Walnut wood trim is paired with the black interior, whilst the Beige iteration is paired with matte Oak accents. TX models forego the wood trim for a classic black interior design.




Prado 2.8L Diesel TX                               R939 900

Prado 4.0L Petrol VX                               R1 029 000

Prado 2.8L Diesel VX                               R1 060 600

Prado 4.0L Petrol VX-L                          R1 072 600

Prado 2.8L Diesel VX-L                          R1 105 800