Toyota Prado 4WD.
Toyota Prado prices have crept up since the Prado was released in 1996 - the base model now starts at 39,990(Aus) and Mitsubishi have been fighting back with aggressive pricing on the Pajero. Prado's engine options remain the 2.7L four cylinder and the 3.4L V6, both petrol. The V6 can get as little as 6km/litre (about 17mpg), or less, pushing 1.8 tons (unladen) around town so, if fuel consumption is a concern, consider the four cylinder. Whichever, range from the standard 90 litre fuel tank is good and there is a 69 litre backup tank on the top models.
The Prado pictured was an RV 2.7 litre automatic. The automatic gearbox quite suits the engine, its torque-multiplying effect disguising any lack of low-down pull from the 16-valve motor. 100kph in 3rd gives 3000 which the 4th overdrive gear drops to 2500.
Prado has a full-time four wheel drive system featuring a centre differential. A stubby lever on the left side of the transmission tunnel selects between 4WD-hi, 4WD-hi-locked, and 4WD-lo-locked. The centre diff' can be locked at any speed, provided there is no significant wheel-spin. It is necessary to halt before selecting low-range and, on automatic transmission models, the transmission must also be in neutral to stop the transfer-case input shaft. Automatic transmission used to be a real no-no on steep four wheel drive trails because of the lack of engine braking, but this Prado had the ABS brakes option, reducing the chances of locking a wheel on a steep descent. There is a "start in 2nd gear" switch on the automatic gearbox which is useful for pulling away on slippery surfaces reducing the chances of wheel-spin. Used in conjunction with the T-bar, the automatic can be held in 2nd gear (hi or lo) to prevent an up-shift at an embarrassing moment in the rough. An interesting note in the owner's manual is "not to use tyre chains on the front tyres".
Front suspension is double wishbones with coil springs
and rear suspension is live axle located by five links
with coil springs.
There is a reasonable amount of wheel-travel before the bump-stops
come into play.
That 90 litre fuel tank is fitted behind the rear axle
and hangs down quite low, although it is protected by a guard-plate.
The spare tyre is carried on the sideways opening rear
Both front and rear brakes are discs but the power assistance is too strong giving very light pedal loads and a lack of feel - it takes some getting used to on-road and is too light for mud or snow, although the ABS systems will prevent locking a wheel at speeds above 6kph.
Inside, the seats are comfortable with good room for driver, front passenger and rear-seat passengers. This Toyota Prado came with automatic transmission, ABS brakes, driver and passenger air-bags, seat-belt pre-tensioners, air-conditioning, a 4-speaker sound system (4x25 Watts), and a metal-flake paint finish (but manual windows) which push the price up to about 45K.
Toyota LandCruiser 90 Prado 1997
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