Used Car Review
PRICE WHEN NEW:
2004 Kluger CV $43,990
2004 Kluger CVX $49,320
2004 Kluger Grande $59,321
When Toyota launched the Kluger – meaning clever in German – it was the soft roader that sat between the small RAV4 and the serious Prado. Sales never really took off, despite the great success that Toyota had envisaged for it. On paper it was a well-equipped vehicle, fitted with features, including dual airbags, ABS brakes, brake assist, engine immobiliser, power windows and mirrors and a limited slip differential.
The next step-up CVX came with additional 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, leather steering wheel grip, leather seats, power front seats and third row rear seats.
As a used car, the top of the range, Grande, is the pick of the bunch, boasting 17-inch alloy wheels, power sunroof, rear spoiler, side airbags, satellite navigation, traction and stability control and a stylish wood grain trim. The good news is that the $16,000 price gap when new has shrunk to around $9000 in the used car market.
The Kluger, like other soft roaders, was designed primarily for driving on harder packed beaches, lighter off road conditions and rock terrain without any ground clearance concerns, especially as it came with city tyres. If the used Kluger you’re inspecting has heavy-duty off-road tyres, it has probably been used for more serious action, so check the underside for impact damage or accelerated wear in the suspension caused by sand and mud.
The RAA has found that most owners are very happy with their Kluger. However, there have been complaints about actual fuel usage being much higher than the stated 12.3L/100km – a more realistic consumption would be 15L/100km. Make sure you test-drive any Kluger you’re looking to buy, taking particular note of the engine performance, especially if you intend to tow, as it’s slightly underpowered for its size.
If you intend to use the roof rack, be aware it has a load capacity of only 45 kilograms, which is 30 kilograms less than the Lexus RX330, on which the Kluger is based.
The Kluger enjoys reliability on a par with most of the Toyota range and servicing costs are around the $160 mark for after-market servicing. The 80,000-kilometre service will set you back approximately $400, while the 150,000-kilometre service and timing belt change will be around $530, both after market. The scheduled after-market spark plug change at 100,000 kilometres will cost $270, or thereabouts.
All in all, for a reliable five- or seven-seater with some off-road capabilities, a used Toyota Kluger is worth putting on the shopping list.