First released at the turn of the century the Toyota Kluger over the years has grown
in size and stature to become one of Toyota’s most popular products. The fourth
generation of the seven-seat SUV is no exception, continuing to climb the ladder of
sales success.

The name Kluger is derived from the German word ‘Klug’ meaning clever and,
according to the maker, the all-new model comes with a smart sculpted look,
upgraded safety features, improved driving dynamics, and for the first time in
Australia, a hybrid powertrain.

The all-new model is available in three trim levels – GX, GXL and Grande – in petrol
two-wheel drive format, or hybrid or petrol all-wheel drive configuration. The 218 kW
/ 350 Nm V6 petrol engine relies on the same performance as its predecessor, with
engineers coaxing improved fuel economy out of the unit.

Built on Toyota’s New Global Architecture platform, the latest Kluger delivers a
balance of ride and handling, resulting in a premium feel on the road. The cabin, with
a blend of soft touch materials, clever design and more space, is aimed at
comfortably carrying seven people.

Occupants enjoy the benefits of the latest in Toyota Safety Sense driver assistance
features including pre-collision safety with pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection,
emergency steering assist and intersection turn assist on every model. Also on tap
are active cruise control – with curve speed reduction function – lane trace assist,
blind spot monitor, reversing camera and seven airbags.

Standard equipment includes smart entry and start, manual front and rear dual-zone
air-conditioning, rain sensing wipers and automatic lights, and five USB ports. GXL
models gain power heated front seats, tri-zone climate control, synthetic leather
upholstery, power tailgate and satellite navigation with the latest generation
multimedia system.

The new Kluger is covered by Toyota Warranty Advantage, which offers five-year
unlimited kilometre coverage, extending to seven-years on engine and driveline, with
capped-price servicing for the first five years / 75,000 km and each 12-month /
15,000 km service costing $250. On test was the GXL front-wheel drive petrol variant
selling for $56,850, without on-road costs.

At almost five metres long (76 mm longer than before), overall width has increased
by a minimal 5 mm to, while 20 mm wider flared wheel arches give the car a planted
street presence. Large stacked trapezoidal grilles are split by the front bumper. The
wider front end is complemented by slimline LED light clusters with integrated
daytime running lights housed atop deep-recessed LED fog lights.

In profile, the longer body, tapered roofline with integrated rear spoiler, rising beltline
and windows with blacked-out B-pillars convey forward movement when the car is
stationary. Side mirrors have been moved lower on the door panel to improve
forward visibility and reduce blind spots.

Filling the pumped GXL wheel arches are new 18-inch alloys with a dark grey
metallic machine finish designed for visual appeal and to aid brake cooling through
optimal airflow. The rear follows through with a wide stance, slim LED taillights and
large lower skid plate.

The rear hatch offers easy access to the expanded luggage space with power
operation for GXL and a ‘kick sensor’ for the Grande that allows the hatch to be
opened and closed hands-free.

The modern family is welcomed aboard the Kluger by improved packaging in
premium materials, the driver and front passenger with an expansive dashboard in
soft touch surfaces. The broad dash houses the instrument cluster, a large central 8-
inch touchscreen display and air-conditioning controls and vents

The lower centre console incorporates the transmission lever, drive and AWD mode
select switchgear if needed, electronic park brake and two large
cupholders. Ergonomics, ease of use and improved versatility are evident in the
three rows of seating finished in synthetic leather. Heating and power adjustment are
on tap upfront.

Storage throughout the cabin includes a 15-litre lidded centre console box, overhead
glasses holder, front door bins with 700 ml bottle holders, rear door bins with two 700
ml bottle holders and eight cupholders.

Boot space is 50 mm longer and 13 mm wider providing an increase of 46 litres of
luggage space to a total of 241 litres. With the third-row seats folded flat, this
increases to 552 litres, while folding the second row 60/40-split seat back as well
stumps up 1150 litres of capacity.
A removable luggage cover, standard on all models, can be stored under the
luggage space deck when not in use.

Petrol models offer traditional tacho and speedo in the instrument cluster that, in
GXL, offers a 7-inch MID to provide better visibility of vehicle functions and settings.
Phone call, cruise control, audio and some driver assistance features are easily
accessed via fingertip controls on the leather-accented steering wheel.

All models feature the latest generation multimedia system with AM / FM /
DAB+ radio, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto compatibility and
myToyota apps including Waze and Stitcher (IOS) and WebEx (Android(tm)4).

The GXL adds satellite navigation.

While the 3.5-litre V6 engine generates the same maximum 218 kW of power and
350 Nm of torque as the engine it replaces, refinements and the addition of a
stop/start system have reduced fuel consumption by between 4 and 7 per cent.

A combined fuel cycle figure of 8.7 litres per 100 kilometres is stated by the maker.
On test the GLX petrol FWD recorded 6.1 litres per 100 kilometres on the motorway
and up to 13-plus around town.

The engine drives through an 8-speed automatic transmission that offers driver-
selectable SPORT, NORMAL and ECO modes depending on desired driving

As befits Australia’s favourite family SUV, occupant safety is front and centre,
with the latest-generation Toyota Safety Sense driver assistance features on hand.
Such a system is autonomous emergency braking pre-collision safety that is able to
detect pedestrians day and night, cyclists during the day, oncoming vehicles and
pedestrians at intersections when making turns, and assist taking evasive action if
there is potential for a collision.

All models are fitted with a reversing camera that includes a camera cleaning system
activated via the rear screen washer switch. In GXL versions, the camera display
offers normal and wide-angle images and incorporates active guidelines.

Compared with the previous generation Kluger, the new model offers a substantial
improvement in driving stability, roadholding and comfort on all surfaces thanks to
newly developed front and rear suspension set-ups that provide responsive, smooth

Ride comfort is also enhanced by a new Body Control with Torque Demand system
that controls drive torque to minimise vehicle pitching due to road surface
irregularities. The system is also able to suppress acceleration and deceleration
pitching to minimise up and down movement and improve stability without having to
increase suspension damping.

Responsive steering with ample feedback is provided by an electrically-assisted
rack-and-pinion system that has also been improved for noise, vibration and
harshness with a larger diameter steering shaft for increased rigidity and a new
electric motor for power assistance.

Providing effective stopping power is a substantially improved brake package with
larger 340 mm front and 338 mm rear discs that are now all ventilated for enhanced

The family favourite Kluger sticks firmly to the middle of the road when it comes to
choice in performance and price.

Looks: 8/10
Performance: 6/10
Safety: 7/10
Thirst: 4/10
Practicality: 7/10
Comfort: 6/10
Tech: 7/10
Value: 7/10


GX FWD petrol $47,650
GXL FWD petrol $56,850
Grande FWD petrol $68,900

GX AWD petrol $51,650
GXL AWD petrol $60,850
Grande AWD petrol $72,900

GX AWD hybrid $54,150
GXL AWD hybrid $63,350
Grande AWD hybrid $75,400

Premium paint $675
Rear Entertainment System $1500 (Grande only)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact
your local Toyota dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Toyota Kluger GXL FWD 3.5L 6-cylinder petrol, 8sp automatic,

Capacity:3.456 litres
Configuration: Six cylinders in ‘V’
Maximum Power: 218 kW @ 6600 rpm
Maximum Torque: 350 Nm @ 4700 rpm
Fuel Type: Petrol 91 RON
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.7 L/100km
Emissions CO2: 202g/km

DRIVELINE: Eight-speed electronically controlled automatic, front-wheel drive

Length: 4966 mm
Wheelbase: 3085 mm
Width: 1930 mm
Height: 1755 mm
Turning Circle: 12.6 metres
Kerb Mass: 1885-1955 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 68 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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