Toyota's next-generation LandCruiser Prado is out to prove that "less is more" with the introduction of sporty three-door versions for the first time in Australia. Aimed at a younger buyer seeking recreational off-road fun, three-door Prado will be sold alongside five-door models from the November introduction of the new Prado 150 range.
The three-door model has the same distinctively LandCruiser-like Prado face of the five-door, featuring a three-dimensional vertical grille.
Its roof and rear-quarter sheet metal are unique, though the back door - which bears the spare tyre - is shared with the five-door version. A higher break-over angle, courtesy of the shorter wheelbase, provides three-door Prado with the ability to travel over steeper peaks than five-door.
Lower weight for the three-door versions is expected to translate into even better real-world acceleration - as well as a small improvement in fuel economy and emissions*.
Another key benefit of the three-door is its strong towing capacity of three tonnes (braked)^ - 500kg more than the already-impressive five-door. Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner said three-door Prado was a valuable addition to the local range.
"Prado three-door will be the ideal vehicle for couples who want a vehicle for its sporty styling, as well as Prado's legendary towing and off-road abilities," Mr Buttner said.
"Even more than new five-door Prado, the three-door will definitely attract buyers who previously have not considered a sports utility vehicle," he said. "Specification levels will be high across three- and five-door ranges, with several flow-down technologies from Lexus and from LandCruiser 200 Series.
"New electronic features will take Prado's off-road ability to new levels for Toyota, catering even for those new to off-road motoring. "Handling, stability and ride comfort have been raised to new heights."
All next-generation Prados in Australia will have seven airbags, vehicle stability control, traction control and anti-lock brakes. Alloy wheels and Toyota's Smart Entry & Start, which provides keyless entry and ignition, are also standard.
Prado first arrived in Australia in 1996 and quickly secured a firm foothold in the mid-size SUV market. To the end of September this year, Australians have bought almost 149,000 Prados. The 150,000 milestone is expected to be reached in the first month of next-generation sales. It was Australia's best-selling SUV overall in 2008. The medium SUV segment has grown markedly in recent years with sales more than doubling from just 33,468 in 2002 to a record of 75,485 last year.
* Fuel consumption and emissions statements are based on Toyota Motor Europe data. Actual fuel consumption and emissions will vary depending on driving conditions/style, vehicle conditions and options/accessories.
^Towing capacity subject to regulatory requirements, towbar design, vehicle design and towing equipment limitations.