Monja explores the world of SUV driving, and wonders whether the Toyota Prado is really her cup of tea.[Not a valid template]
|Date acquired:||November 2013|
|Kilometres this month:||1791|
|Costs this month:||$0|
|L/100km this month:||15.3|
After my sojourn with the crankandpiston.com Volkswagen Passat last month, I switched to the Toyota Prado while I waited (still) for the delivery of my new Golf GTI. My SUV experience is very limited – I owned a Toyota FJ Cruiser in the past and I spent a few days in a Ford F-150 Raptor, but otherwise I’ve been mainly driving around in small cars my whole driving life.
When I collected the car from our chief photographer James, he’d been using it to lug things around, so it needed a clean. This was my first exposure to the third row of seats, which prompted quite a lot of fun trying to figure out how all the various individual folding chairs collapse and reassemble.
I’m not a big fan of the looks – it seems more functional than stylish, especially when you look at what a company like Land Rover can achieve within the limitations of an SUV. But the locals here in Dubai love it – I noticed so many others on the road while I had the car.
I hate to revive the old stereotype of women not being able to park, but I really struggled to parallel park the Prado. I think it’s because I’m not used to cars of this size, not being part of the regular road test team. But even with the reversing camera I found it much more difficult than I expected. I just couldn’t get used to the dimensions. Similarly, I never really got used to sitting up high – as a fan of hatches and sports cars, the first thing I usually do is drop the seat as low as it can go.
However, I loved the ability of the Toyota to dispatch speed bumps in comfort, which is a real issue in Dubai. In my old MINI, I had to slow almost to a stop.
So, the Prado is not really my personal cup of tea. My husband on the other hand really liked it. He is much more of a fan of the SUV as a concept, and went as far to say that if he were in the market for an SUV of this type, he would go for the Prado. There’s lots of space and he really liked the strong pull of the V6 engine, as well as how stable it feels through the corners, especially compared to our old FJ. The ability of the car to U-turn in a tight circle is also really useful in the Middle East. So, he’s sold at least.
My time delving into the crankandpiston Management Fleet is now over, as my new silver Volkswagen Golf GTI has finally arrived and I love it. The rest of the team can have their cars back now.
|Engine:||4.0-litre / six-cylinder / 24 Valve / DOHC / Dual VVT-i|
|Power:||267bhp @ 5600rpm|
|Torque:||281lb ft @ 4400rpm|
|Front suspension:||Double wishbone|
|Rear suspension:||Four-link type with Lateral Rod|
|Wheels:||17-inch front and rear|
|Tyres:||265/65 R17 front and rear|