Used Car Review
The Prado has become an iconic vehicle that other wannabe larger SUVs benchmark themselves against. The Prado offers useable size for the city and bush, compared with the more serious Land Cruiser.
The Prado has six levels of specification available: ranging from the base model GX, to the Grande. For the serious off-roader, exclude the VX and Grande – the leather trim alone doesn’t tolerate the dust and dirt that comes with the territory. As the flagship model, the Grande may be harder to find in the used-car market.
Every model comes with dual air bags, seatbelt pretensioners, remote control central locking, power mirrors, steering and windows. All but the base model and Pilbara have better active safety equipment, while the Grande has the full safety package, with side air bags, traction control and ESC. The difference between the VX and Grande is mainly the creature comforts, such as auto climate control with dual temperature zones, leather upholstery, power front seats and wood-grain trim.
All feature either a 4.0-litre V6 petrol or 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine, with five-speed auto or six-speed manual transmission. In terms of fuel efficiency, the diesel is the pick of the bunch.
The Prado is still a serious off-roader, with the engine torque, ground clearance and suspension travel you need across river beds, rocky climbs and deep sand. All 2006 models have dual fuel tanks with 180-litre total capacity for big trips. Check the transfer system works and there’s no sludge in the reserve tank, as previous owners may not have used the twin fuel tanks.
Some of the late 2006 Prados – with the turbo diesel common rail engine – were known to have an injector problem that causes the engines to knock or blow excessive smoke; the cost of fixing this is around the $2000 to $3000 mark. Leaking diesel injector sealing washers can also be an issue on some pre-2008 vehicles. If left unchecked, this can contaminate the lubrication system and clog the oil pick-up screen, resulting in engine damage.
The Prado has a good reputation for capability, reliability and holding its value, so it’s likely to be popular in the used-car market.
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