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With a proven appeal stretching from New Zealand's boardrooms to its back roads, Toyota's comprehensive Land Cruiser Prado range has been rejuvenated for 2014.
A perennial favourite with active families, adventurers and business users alike, the 2014 Prado model range features a choice of turbo diesel and petrol V6 engines, a refreshed exterior design and significant equipment upgrades, as well as an entirely new addition to the line-up in the Prado VX 4.0-litre V6 petrol.
Since its New Zealand debut, Prado has offered its diverse and loyal audience a unique blend of the practical, go-anywhere performance inherent in the Land Cruiser nameplate, with the added prestige of a premium quality and supremely comfortable interior; hallmarks that have been continually improved on through four successive generations.
Prado arrived in 1990 as a sub-model under the legendary Land Cruiser name. Derived from the Portuguese word for meadow, the initial J70 series Prado was built until 1996, before being replaced with the J90 series. The J90 Prado boasted a more robust body design and, like its predecessor, was available in both short and long wheelbase iterations.
Departing from much of what went before, the J120 series debuted many of the design elements recognisable as Prado hallmarks even today, including its vertical grille design and rugged, colour-coded lower body panels. This third generation Prado continued in production for seven years from 2002, before the arrival of the J150 series in 2009.
Toyota New Zealand General Manager of Sales and Operations, Steve Prangnell says, "Prado enjoys a proven heritage within the SUV segment here, with more than 11,500 Prado models sold in New Zealand.
"Since its arrival in 2009, we've sold 2440 of the current Prado, suggesting the appeal of a rugged, highly competent four-wheel drive vehicle that offers seven seats within a spacious, premium quality interior and a host of fantastic technologies as standard remains incredibly strong for Kiwi SUV buyers."
In addition to Land Cruiser Prado's highly competent four-wheel drive system (which features a TORSEN® type LSD centre differential with centre differential lock, Hill-start Assist Control, Downhill Assist Control and Active Traction Control as standard), further upgrades are now included on Prado VX and VX Limited.
While VX grade vehicles benefit from the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), which aids performance both on and off road, Prado VX Limited adds rear air suspension, Adaptive Variable Suspension (AVS), Multi-Terrain ABS, an electric rear differential lock, Multi-terrain Select and CRAWL Control.
Reinforcing Prado's traditional mix of on- and off-road performance with practical safety, the 2014 model also introduces Trailer Sway Control software which assists the driver to retain control if the system senses a dangerous situation occurring when towing. An Emergency Stop Signal system - which flashes the brake lights under hard braking to alert following traffic of a potential incident - is also included as standard.
Prado's unique design heritage has been developed further for the 2014 line-up, with an evolution of the classic Prado grille accentuating the SUV's rugged appearance. Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) now feature on all models, along with new tail light clusters at the rear.
In line with other iterations in the range, the spare wheel on entry-level Prado GX has been moved from the rear door to under the boot floor, and while all models feature a reversing camera as before, VX and VX Limited now boast a four-camera Multi-terrain Monitor system. VX Limited also receives a Blind Spot Monitor system as standard.
Building on the idea of a robust lifestyle vehicle that also offers passengers premium level interior refinement, Prado's specification has been enhanced in all grades, with new switchgear and instrumentation featured, along with new fabrics and interior colour schemes.
The option of upgrading to a SUNA Live Traffic Management GPS-enabled JBL Premium Audio and Navigation package in VX specification models underlines Prado's ability to provide world class premium technology to match its sure-footed performance capabilities. The JBL Premium Audio and Navigation package is standard with range-topping Prado VX Limited.
The 2014 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado range is in showrooms now, with recommended selling prices starting at $84,195.