Update: Our exclusive rendering of the next-gen Toyota Prado added to ‘Platform & Dimensions’ section.
Despite global emission norms tightening with every passing year and the heightening emphasis of governments on manufacturers to launch EVs, some gas-guzzling off-roaders have managed to hang on. Such is the case of at least Toyota’s go-anywhere SUVs Toyota Prado and Toyota Land Cruiser which now has a four-year waiting period. According to a report from the Japanese auto magazine Best Car, the company plans to renew the smaller of the iconic 4×4 SUVs for another generation.
Platform & Dimensions
The fourth-gen Toyota Land Cruiser Prado came out in September 2009, and it has received two major facelifts during this time. As planned with the new Land Cruiser, the Prado hybrid variant may arrive well after the launch of the regular gasoline models.
The Toyota Prado would retain its heritage of a die-hard body-on-frame SUV. However, it would move to the TNGA modular platform, which underpins most of the new Toyota models in the marketplace. Toyota has engineered a new version called TNGA-F for large SUVs and pickups. The company used the F version first to build the Land Cruiser 300, followed by the U.S. market 2022 Toyota Tundra and the 2023 Toyota Sequoia, both of which have hybrid powertrains.
Toyota has reduced the weight of the Land Cruiser 300 by 200 kg (441 lbs.), and it will likely take all possible steps to make the Prado lighter. To this effect, the next-gen Land Cruiser Prado could have aluminum body panels. The hood, doors, mudguards, roof, and tailgate could be aluminum-made like the flagship SUV. These revisions can also improve weight distribution and increase high-speed stability. Considering the fuel efficiency improvements and the range benefit offered by electrification, the company could consider reducing the fuel tank size.
The next-gen Toyota Prado would have “a clean exterior design,” says Best Car magazine. Chances for a 3-door version look slim, while the 5-door version is expected to measure 4,825 mm in length, 1,885 mm in width, and 1,830 mm in height and have a 2,790 mm wheelbase. For reference, the current model (5-door version) has the same dimensions except for the height (1,835 mm/1,850 mm).
Powertrains to include hybrid
2.5L Hybrid or 2.4L Hybrid?
The big news, although still unconfirmed, is that the all-new Toyota Prado would be available with a new parallel-hybrid powertrain comprising a 2.5-liter gasoline engine and electric motor(s). Seating options would be the same as today’s model – 5- and 7-seat. Customers would also get to opt for an improved version of the 1GD-FTV 2.8-liter diesel engine, which produces 150 kW (204 PS/201 hp) and 500 Nm in the current model.
It is CarSales Australia that speculates that the Prado Hybrid would employ the 2.5L petrol engine. When the time comes for a zero-emissions Prado in the next decade, Toyota could consider using a hydrogen-powered combustion engine instead of heavy batteries to power the e-motors. The company has started developing this new technology using a GR Yaris prototype, but it is quite a while from mass production.
Japan’s Response.jp has different speculation about the next-gen Prado’s hybrid variant. It says that Toyota could use a combination of a newly developed 250 PS (246 hp) 2.4-liter in-line four-cylinder gasoline engine and a 150 PS (148 hp) electric motor in the Prado Hybrid. The net output of this electrified engine could be 400 PS (394 hp). The Prado Hybrid could go on sale in Japan before overseas markets. If Toyota plans to launch the next-gen Prado in Europe, it could ship the first Prado Hybrid export units here before other markets.
Toyota would need to pay attention to the quality of the Land Cruiser Prado’s exhaust system in the next generation. The company is facing a class-action lawsuit that could reach the tune of AUD 2 billion (USD 1.4 billion) in Australia for defective diesel particulate filter (DPF) systems in the units of the current Land Cruiser Prado as well as the Fortuner and Hilux models it sold between October 2015 and April 2020. The units shipped with defective DPF systems spilled foul-smelling white smoke and increased fuel consumption, as per a report from 7news.com.au.
Toyota may offer many new features of the new Land Cruiser in the smaller off-road SUV. For example, sequential turn indicators (front and/or rear), gesture tailgate, 14-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto, 3D Multi-Terrain Monitor + Panoramic View Monitor, electric parking brake, and Toyota Safety Sense (v2.0 or higher) could be available in the next-gen Land Cruiser Prado. In addition, the all-new Prado may offer more convenience with a wireless charger and USB-C port(s) for smartphones.
Toyota Prado GR Sport trim
According to a report Best Car released in June 2021, the next-gen Toyota Prado will come in a GR Sport variant like the latest Land Cruiser. The GR Sport trim may feature a modified, more rugged exterior. Expect exclusive wheels, unique radiator grille, bumpers, wheel arch molding, and rocker moldings, black mirrors and handles, and GR Sport emblems. Inside, the GR Sport grade may feature a different color scheme and unique decor elements, an infotainment system with a special start-up screen, and GR branding on various elements. Cosmetic changes aside, thicker tires and a special suspension system that unleash more off-road capability should be the highlights of the Land Cruiser Prado GR Sport.
2023 or 2024?
In a piece published in October 2021, Best Car said that Toyota could postpone the launch of the next-gen Prado to after the summer of 2024. If launched anytime soon, the Prado could face the same situation as the the standard Land Cruiser, which has an official waiting line of about four years in Japan. On February 15, 2022, Best Car said in a new report that the next-gen Land Cruiser Prado may arrive in summer 2023.
Given the shortage of semiconductor chips that is expected to last until next year, Toyota may plan launches which aren’t in the volume segment when parts supply normalizes, and prioritize strategic launches. Customer reactions range from disbelief to frustration when dealers turn them away due to closed order books or request them to wait until mid-decade to get the keys to the car.
Australian launch speculated in 2023
Before most of the aforementioned reports, an article from carsales.com.au in March 2021 had suggested that there would be a delay in the market launch of the next-gen Land Cruiser Prado in Australia, where the car has a large following. A source privy to developments has said that the redesigned model is “at least more than two years away” from the region. With the launch timing in Australia affected, Toyota Motor may also push back the market release in New Zealand.
The source revealing the deferred launch talked about the design of the model. The exterior would not be similar to that of the RAV4, as some auto magazines have represented it last year. Toyota has to preserve the design identity of the globally acclaimed off-roader, and giving it the garb of a crossover is illogical for this reason. Toyota’s crossover range has grown considerably since the Prado came out in 2009, and if anything, the virility would be heightened in the new generation.
Current Toyota Prado soldiers on with minor updates
The Toyota Land Cruiser Prado J150 received an update in the Japanese market on June 1, 2021. Toyota has retained the grilles, bumpers, lights, and tailgate design but has changed the design of the 19-inch alloy wheels.
According to a report from creative311.com, Toyota has reduced the body color options from nine to five: White Pearl Crystal Shine, Black, Attitude Black Mica, Red Mica Metallic, and Avant-Garde Bronze Metallic. Super White II, Silver Metallic, Gray Metallic, and Blackish Ageha Glass Flake are the discontinued color options.
The interior design remains unchanged. As per the report, the third-row seat upholstery has seen a downgrade from genuine leather to faux leather. Customers selecting the Black or Attitude Black Mica paint option can no longer specify the interior in beige. Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) is now standard equipment.
Toyota Prado 70th Anniversary Edition model
Toyota introduced a Land Cruiser Prado 70th Anniversary Limited special edition model with the update in Japan.
Based on the TX L package trim, the 70th Anniversary Limited model offers unique styling with a black radiator grille, jet black radiator grille bars, jet black headlamp garnish, piano black fog lamp bezels, 18-inch black alloy wheels, piano black exclusive roof rails, black ORVMs, and jet black tailgate garnish. A 70th Anniversary emblem can be specified as a dealer-level option.
The special treatment continues with a richer material and trim appointments with brown genuine leather upholstery and silver dashboard ornament. Black floor mats with the 70th Anniversary logo can be added as a dealer-level option.
Updates lined up for 2022
According to a report Best Car published on February 25, 2022, the Land Cruiser Prado will get another update in quick succession. This exercise is unlikely to bring design changes, with improvements required to comply with regulations, and the introduction of synthetic leather. A new variant will replace the 70th Anniversary Limited special edition model this year.
The report adds that TMC will start production of the 2023 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado on August 1, 2022. It will likely launch the new Prado in Japan the same month and gradually in overseas markets. The Middle East, Australia, and New Zealand could be the first recipients of the freshened model.
For the United States
It is doubtful that Toyota will sell the Prado in the U.S., but demand for Toyota SUVs is only increasing with the company launching the new Corolla Cross and announcing a 3-row SUV (Grand Highlander) to cover the two ends of the range. This does not mean that the next generation of the Prado is coming to America, rather that the Lexus GX can be sold here for the next generation.
Featured Image: Toyota