Toyota LandCruiser Prado Altitude comes with great on-road entertainment features, but is available only for a limited time

Toyota LandCruiser Prado Altitude comes with great on-road entertainment features, but is available only for a limited time

The big three car makers in Australia are fighting tooth and nail to gain sales in a market that’s becoming increasingly savage. Deals are everywhere – Holden took everyone by surprise when it ripped huge amounts off the recommended retail prices of its new VF Commodore and Calais ranges.

Toyota has been king of the Australian automotive market for many years and is obviously very keen to retain that position. Among many other measures the Japanese giant and has introduced a limited edition version of its popular LandCruiser Prado 4WD at a pretty good price.

Prado Altitude is based on the GXL version of the Toyota off-roader and the special edition has the addition of $10,000 of features – but only $5000 has been added to the RRP.

Prices for the Toyota Prado Altitude start from $68,990.

Toyota_Prado_rearShrewdly aware that most 4WDs are used as people movers, not exploring the bush, Toyota has concentrated on multimedia technology and comfort items. The Prado Altitude has a level of equipment usually reserved for the upmarket Prado VX and Kakadu.

Added features include a seven-inch touch-screen for the satellite navigation. The screen also displays guidelines on the rear-view camera image to improve safety when reversing or parking.

The seven-seat Prado Altitude has a leather-accented interior, as well as a 14-speaker sound system – well up from the six speakers usually installed in the GXL. The six-disc in-dash CD/DVD changer can be operated by remote control.

Even better from the point of view of browbeaten parents is the rear-seat entertainment system. This has a nine-inch monitor mounted from the ceiling, a DVD player, and 5.1 surround sound. Three wireless headphones can be clamped over the top of the kids who will then be entertained for hours.

The rear-seat entertainment system can be operated from the touch-screen in the front seats, and by remote control by those in the rear seats.

A tilt-and-slide moonroof can provide upward views should the children become tired of looking at the screen. Privacy glass is a luxury item that’s usually only seen on upmarket German sedans.

Safety features include four parking sensors at the front to complement the four already fitted to the rear of the standard Prado GXL. There are seven airbags, vehicle stability and traction control, anti-skid brakes, hill-start assist control and downhill assist control.

Luxury features in the Altitude that are carried over from the Prado GXL include three-zone climate-controlled air-conditioning; audio controls on the steering wheel; smart entry and start; and cruise control and long-range fuel tanks.

Should you decide to go deep into the bush with the family on board you will appreciate the long range offered by an 87-litre main and 63-litre diesel sub tanks.

When you are in the bush you will find this is a tough vehicle that can go well into harsh areas if driven correctly. It has a rugged build that inspires confidence and in typical Toyota fashion it feels as though it will last just about forever.

On the other hand on-road behaviour isn’t particularly inspiring. While safe enough in the way it grips the road the big Toyota is aimed much more at comfort than at pleasing drivers who like responsive steering and good feedback through from the engine.

Toyota gives the choice of four paint colours – Crystal Pearl (previously reserved for Kakadu and VX grades), Ebony, Silver Pearl and Graphite.

All exterior colours can be matched with black interior trim while Crystal Pearl and Ebony also come with the choice of ivory trim.

Altitude badges let others know that your Prado is something out of the ordinary.

The Prado Altitude is powered by Toyota’s long established 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine and is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.

Toyota Prado is covered by Toyota Service Advantage capped-price servicing at $210 per service.

Toyota Prado Altitude will only be built until the end of June so, as it’s likely to be a big seller, it might be an idea to move quickly if you’re halfway interested.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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