Thursday, June 20, 2013

Used Car Review - Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (2003-2009)

Dear student, is the SUV shown last Monday small? Then how about going big without costing a fortune. Myk Belmonte has one great choice since its the rainy season and floods are frequent.

2003-2009 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado

The Toyota Land Cruiser is one of the longest running nameplates in Japan, and one of the iconic too. Whereas it started as a military vehicle, it became an item for the rich and a favorite among oil rich Asian nations. It spawned a small version named as the Land Cruiser Prado, basically retaining the off road prowess and at the same time possessing practicality.

The Land Cruiser Prado (the Prado name means field, which is targeted among road users) was first available in 1990 and the third generation (that you see in this review) was first made available in 2002 as a 2003 model. This model is known in the United States as the Lexus GX 470 which has the 4.7 V8 engine (hence the suffix) as standard. Suspension parts are shared with the 4Runner (or Hilux Surf for JDM Badge readers) and the FJ Cruiser.

Thanks to the revised taxation schemes, the third generation (technically second in the Philippines) Land Cruiser Prado was made available in late 2003. Two engines were made available, including the rare gasoline variant and the diesel engine shared with the Fortuner (but has less power, which will be explained later).

Value and Costs
In the local automotive scene, used car dealers and agents will tell you that Land Cruisers have high resale values. But then, even with an old model, you still get that image associated with a Land Cruiser. Prados from 2003 to 2009 have prices between P1,000,000-P2,200,000. In that price range, students can either get a second hand unit of this or a brand new Montero Sport (with money from their parents, of course). But then, you'll make a shock to your classmates and even some of your professors by arriving to school in a Land Cruiser Prado.

Logically, the diesel would save you money and maintaining one is easy due to the fact there is no CRDi technology present. For a meager budget, since you are a student, stay away from the V6 not because of the fuel bills but also parts can be hard to find.

Exterior and Interior
This is an all new body from the ground up, especially that the designing process took place in Toyota's ED2 (squared) design studio in France. The styling cues present in the bigger brother are passed on in the Prado, which is elegant brute. Good thing this is not imposing in mass, but somewhat big for some.

There are tons of standard equipment inside but for the passengers, the first two rows admit everyone. There is a third row seat, but this is more suitable for kids (or those with small built). Interior finish isn't disappointing, especially you're paying for something P3M when it was brand new.

A duo of a diesel and gasoline engines are standard, with the most common one is the IKZ-TE 2,982cc which has 131hp at 6,000rpm and 343Nm at 2,000rpm. On the other hand, those who are allergic to the noise of a diesel can get the 1GR-FE 3,955cc that carries 236hp at 5,200rpm and 361Nm at 4,000rpm. Do take note while the diesel engine is similar to the one used in the Fortuner, the Prado makes do without a CRDI fuel delivery system. While it has power in the low range which makes it suitable for off-roading or carrying heavy items (you'll do the latter more often since you are a student), going in the higher revs would make the engine scream. Going for the gasoline engine would reward you a strong pull but the trade off is that it drinks gasoline more faster than Tito Sotto's speech.

Driving Impressions
Since June is relatively a rainy season, this SUV is perfect for navigating the Manila roads that turn to Venice when flooded. But you'll love the comfort when driving at low speeds, which is an obvious occurrence in our traffic congested streets. Take it to the expressways during that barkada outing and it will exhibit body roll and a lethargic steering. If your father plans to borrow it to go trekking, off-road prowess, expected in a Land Cruiser, is definitely excellent.

Buying a Land Cruiser Prado for the sole usage of the student is somewhat impractical due to the size and maintenance costs. Forget about this if commuting is the best choice or when you study where the roads are small. Go for it when you encounter floods on the way to school.

The Good:
  • Tough as nails
  • Can hack the bushes
  • Expansive cabin
The Bad: 
  • Body roll
  • Daunting size
  • Somewhat unrefined
The Pick: VX Diesel

Engines: 2,982cc 1KZ-TE I4 turbo diesel and 3,955cc 1GR-FE V6 gasoline
Power: 131hp @ 6,000rpm (diesel), 236hp @ 5,200rpm (gasoline)
Torque: 343Nm @ 2,000rpm (diesel), 361Nm @ 4,000rpm (gasoline)
Fuel Consumption: 5-8km/L (city), 8-11km/L (highway)
Transmission: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic
Suspension: Front independent double wishbone, rear rigid axle four link

Price (New): P2,700,000-P3,800,000
Price (Now): P1,090,000-P2,200,000
Rivals: Mitsubishi Pajero, Nissan Patrol, Isuzu Trooper
On Sale: 2003-2009

Toyota Pasong Tamo - (02) 893-8084
Toyota Makati - (02) 897-3333
Toyota Manila Bay - (02) 581-6168

Photos from


  1. Hi, thanks for the review. In your opinion, are the features of this model of Prado significantly higher than of a Fortuner (other than the status symbol upgrade)? We have a gas variant Fortuner and I was just thinking of upgrading. But if it isn't a huge leap, then I'll probably just pass.

    1. For the features, i think what your Fort does not have but the Prado has are limited to the following: limited slip differential, electric seating adjustment, and automatic climate control. Since you are coming from a gas engine, its a worthy upgrade considering prices can be narrow. But apart from the diesel engine (which produces less than the Fortuner's 3.0, I suggest to keep the Fortuner).

      Hope this helps

  2. How does this compare to the Hyundai tuscan cdri

  3. Any input or opinion on a used 2010-2013 Diesel Prado?