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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Wait over: Say hello to the new Toyota Land Cruiser Prado

Known internally as the 250, the new Prado has been given the "all clear" for South Africa from the first half of 2024.

After a prolonged teaser campaign and almost four years of speculative reports, Toyota, in the early hours of Wednesday morning (2 August), officially debuted the all-new Land Cruiser Prado in both global and US guises.

Homage to the past

Returning to the United States as the Land Cruiser in lieu of the full-size Land Cruiser 300 not being offered due to the Lexus LX being present, the new Prado carries the internal moniker 250 and while destined to be known as the Land Cruiser 250 in Japan, it is expected to retain the Prado name elsewhere.

ALSO READ: New Toyota Prado teased one last time ahead of August debut

Debuting as a redesigned interpretation of the now outgoing J150 Prado that had been in production since 2009, the 250 introduces two unique frontal designs; the 70-series inspired example with round LED headlights called the First Edition, and the “standard” model with rectangular lights inspired by the 60-series.

All-new Toyota Prado revealed
Rear has been styled to incorporate elements from the Land Cruiser 80, especially the look of the light cluster and curve of the bootlid. Image: Toyota

While it remains unknown as to which example will come to South Africa, the retro-styled Prado’s design pays homage not only to the 70-series, but as mentioned, the 60-series and also the new Lexus GX, itself inspired by the Land Cruiser 80-series that served as the template for the Land Cruiser 300.

New platform, better off-road

Based on Toyota’s body-on-frame TNGA-F platform that underpins the Land Cruiser 300 and LX, new Tacoma, Tundra and Sequoia, the Prado measures 4 925 mm long, 1 980 mm wide and 1 870 mm tall while riding on a wheelbase stretching 2 850 mm.

The ladder-frame platform set to also provide the foundation for the North American 4Runner, the new Hilux and from later this year, the all-new Fortuner, the Prado’s dimensions represent an overall length increase of 100 mm, height of 20 mm, width of 95 mm and wheelbase of 60 mm.

All-new Toyota Prado revealed
Prado First Edition pays homage to the Land Cruiser 70-series and will only be made in batches of 3 000. Image: Toyota

Said to be 50% more rigid than the J150 on the frame front and 30% stiffer overall, the Prado also receives a revised suspension aimed largely at off-road usage, the ability to have the stabiliser bar disconnected when going off-road, and a new electric power steering system.

In the US, towing capacity is rated at 2 722 kg for a braked trailer and besides keeping the low range transfer case, an automatic limited slip differential and electronic rear diff-lock are both standard. As with the J150, drive goes to all four wheels permanently.

All-new Toyota Prado revealed
First Edition receives a standard two-tone roof, unique 18-inch alloy wheels and First Edition decals as some of its unique fixtures. Image: Toyota

On the ground clearance front, Toyota has made no alteration, meaning the 250 still comes with a 220 mm clearance.

Breakover, departure and approach angles are also unchanged at 25°, 22° and 31° respectively.

Interior transformation

Providing seating for five or seven depending on the market, the interior has undergone an equally big transformation with a clear influence from not only the 70-series, but also the Tacoma rather than the GX.

Toyota debuts new Land Cruiser Prado
Interior takes clear inspiration from the Tacoma. Image: Toyota

Compared to the latter, the Prado gets a different steering wheel with FJ Cruiser inspired touches, round air conditioning vents, a redesigned centre console, central air vents, relocation of the starter button to the centre facia and a smaller eight or 12.3-inch infotainment system.

For the first time, the Prado also gets a fully digital instrument cluster that measures the same 12.3-inches as on the GX.

Toyota debuts new Land Cruiser Prado
Depending on the market, the Prado will provide seating for five or seven. Image: Toyota

Given the expected difference in market specification, no details regarding features were revealed, however, the Multi-Terrain Select system and Multi-Terrain Monitor have both confirmed, along Toyota’s latest Safety Sense system all models and Crawl Control.

Four-cylinders only

One of the biggest speculative areas of the Prado ever since the emergence of the first rumours, the 250’s engine options will be an all four-cylinder affair hooked exclusively to automatic transmissions as the six-speed manual offered in some markets has been dropped entirely.

Starting the range off, the venerable 2.7-litre petrol, whose future had been in doubt given its age, soldiers on with outputs of 120kW/246Nm. The only free-breathing petrol option available, it also has sole usage of a six-speed automatic box.

Toyota debuts new Land Cruiser Prado
Centre console has been revised from that of the Lexus GX. Image: Toyota

Indirectly replacing the 4.0-litre V6 engine, the top-spec petrol now comes in the shape of the T24A-FTS 2.4-litre turbo used in the Tacoma.

Available in two different configurations, the standard unit develops 207kW/430Nm, which increases to 243kW/630Nm with the inclusion of a 1.87-kWh battery pack and 36 kW electric motor in the case of the hybrid i-Force Max. Both are connected to an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard.

Rounding off the range, the 2.8 GD-6 turbodiesel has also undergone hybridisation in the form of a 48 volt mild-hybrid setup that will soon be expanded to the next Hilux and Fortuner.

Toyota debuts new Land Cruiser Prado
For the first time, a hybrid petrol features underneath the Prado’s bonnet. Image: Toyota

While rumoured for a protentional power and torque hike to above the 165kW/550Nm made by the Hilux GR Sport, Toyota has reigned the engine in to produce an unchanged 150kW/500Nm.

In certain markets, however, the oil-burner will continue without the mild-hybrid system and with the same power figures.  

The newest addition to the diesel is an eight-speed automatic gearbox that replaces the old six-speed.

South Africa approved

Set to enter the US market with a reported price tag of around $50 000 (about 919 646), the Land Cruiser Prado has been approved for South Africa, but only from the first half of 2024.

While still to be confirmed, the local market example is expected to retain the diesel engine with or without the hybrid system, and potentially receive one of the 2.4-litre petrols as replacement for the V6.

Exact details will, however, only be announced next year.

NOW READ: Wait starts: Toyota begins teasing all-new Land Cruiser Prado

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