Toyota Prado Altitude - New look back-end

The latest special edition Prado Altitude, from Toyota Australia, features a new look for its back-end. The style is achieved by moving the spare wheel off the back door and putting it under the rear floor (see video).

This may have tidied up the back of the Prado, but it has come at the expense of one of the model’s best features, the 150 litre fuel capacity.

Prados, and their Lexus derivatives, have been available in this configuration in European, Japanese and USA markets for some time, but never before in Australian markets. The larger 150 litres of fuel capacity in the 150 Series Prado – and the 180 litres in the previous 120 Series Prado – were key features very popular with long distance outback tourers.

But the weight of the spare wheel on the back door was a hindrance and even dangerous when the door slammed shut.

“By moving the spare wheel and tyre, we’ve made the tailgate lighter and therefore easier to open – especially when the vehicle is parked facing down a hill,” Tony Cramb, Toyota Australia’s executive director of sales and marketing said. “Owners can also open the tailgate wider in cramped situations such as when parked close to other vehicles or using a towing hitch, plus there’s the added convenience of the separate glass hatch.”

Deleting the extra fuel capacity leaves the Prado Altitude with just 87 litres of fuel, which is still good by OE 4x4 wagon standards, as it has close to a 1000km highway range. But it’s no match for the 150 litres which has always been a vital selling point for the car.

Thankfully this feature is only on the limited edition Altitude model (so far) and the regular Prado is still available with 150 litres.

Let’s just hope Toyota Australia doesn’t adapt this design for all Prado variants and hinder its unrivalled touring range.

The Prado Altitude is based on the GXL model but gains extras from the VX including leather-accented seats, a tilt-and-slide moonroof, Blu-ray rear entertainment system with three wireless headphones and a remote control, electro-chromatic rear-view mirror, power front seats and rain-sensing wipers. It also gains a 14-speaker JBL audio system, a seven-inch display screen, and satellite navigation.

Other notable features include chrome side mouldings, door handles and air-conditioning surrounds along with carbonfibre details on the dash panel and gearshift surround.

That’s around $10,000 worth of extras to total just $68,520, which is $4,800 more than the price of a regular Prado GXL diesel automatic. That should be enough to make this limited edition popular with the city folk. But we reckon the long haulers still want that extra fuel capacity!

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