Toyota Kluger

Submitted: Monday, May 23, 2005 at 11:34
ThreadID: 23225 Views:10892 Replies:10 FollowUps:9
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A friend of mine is looking at buying a Toyota Kluger.

He intends to use it mostly as a towing vehcile to take his boat (Approx 1 tonne) to the local boat ramp and maybe the odd day trip to a national park or beach ect. He has no intention of doing any serious off-roading, creek crossings or hill climbs etc.

Any comments, ideas or opinions, both good and bad, would be most welcome.

Thanks Heaps


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Reply By: mattlobie - Monday, May 23, 2005 at 12:39

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 12:39
I wouldn't be at all confident driving a cross-over onto the beach. In fact, I doubt it'll actually get onto a beach of it's own accord in the first place. Nowhere near enough clearance so the suspension and underbody will catch the sand. If he's serious about taking it anywhere apart from bitumen or a solid dirt road tell him to get a Hilux or a Prado instead. If he wants a towing vehicle he might as well save his money and get a 2WD (Avalon or V6 Camry if he's a Toyota man, otherwise a dunnydoor or falcon or whatever). If you have a search of the forum you'll find many threads exposing the (neumerous) shortfalls of Ford Territories, Toyota Klugers, Holden Adventuras/Cross8s, Mitsubishi Outlanders, Landrover Freelanders etc etc as off-road vehicles.

So, in conlcusion, you can't take an AWD onto a beach with having a friend wih a 4WD that will go with you and recover you every time, in which case you might as well take your Commodore.

AnswerID: 112421

Follow Up By: Member - Tim - Monday, May 23, 2005 at 13:40

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 13:40
Right on matt. It always amazes me that people think the beach is one of the "easy" 4wd options. Must be because of the stupid advertising that the car companies do that show them all splashing through the water and flying over the dunes. However there are some people who either know how to drive better than others or pick the right times and do manage to get there and back safely. Many more who get stuck though.

Kluger apparently has heaps of power but I have never looked to see where in the rev range the torque is so I have no idea if it can tow well. No low range and road tyres though so a heavy load could be hard to tow up a boat ramp without spinning the wheels if you have to get the revs up.

Somebody take him out in a 4WD that can get off the road safely so he knows what he is missing in an AWD :).

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Follow Up By: BruSav - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 14:26

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 14:26
I recently purchased a CV Sport. Now, 7 weeks and 3,500Klm later I am totally wrapt in it! The ride is superb, especially off-road. You can see where the Kluger has the Toyota 4WD supsension engineering edge over the Territory. The fuel economy is outstanding. Much of our driving has included National Parks, such as Springbrook, Main Range, Condamine/Queen Mary NP and several other SE Qld parks, averaging mid 10.5lts/100klms!

As for towing, Kluger does the job well. I tow a 16' alloy centre console from Ipswich to Southport, with full fuel and fishing gear and it consumes a very meagre 12.8/lts/100 klms!! Kluger gets the launch and retrieve job done with no fuss and also handles the soft sand without any problem. Unless you are 'hard core' 4WD, being an owner that actually uses the vehicles design function, then AWD/SUV is great. After owning two Patrols, I will never go back to a traditional 4WD unless I want to really get off the road, and 95% of 4WD owners NEVER do this.
I would recommend the Kluger to any buyer. As a bonus, from a standing start, the Lexus 3.3 lt powered Kluger will out accelerate any 4WD on the market, other than a Cayenne, X5 or Top Spec Rangie and it doesn't slurp fuel at a ridiculous rate. This morning crude oil was $60/barrel; not a good omen if you own a petrol 'guzzler'.
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Reply By: Outbacktourer - Monday, May 23, 2005 at 18:14

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 18:14
We actually have a Kluger in the family and it's been on the beach and towed the boat (1400kg). So long as he's not wanting soft dune work then he will be fine. We have the Grande with traction control and it was fine, the next models down with the LSD are apparently even better.
AnswerID: 112459

Follow Up By: mattlobie - Monday, May 23, 2005 at 18:44

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 18:44
How many beaches are there that don't require soft and driving to get on and off? I don't know of any.

I agree with the statement, it should be fine on firm sand, but there's almost always soft sand work involved in beach driving, and that's when it'll be in trouble.

I don't imagine the towing to be an issue. Obviously won't have the towing grunt of a diesel but should tow 1000kg OK.

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Follow Up By: Outbacktourer - Monday, May 23, 2005 at 22:17

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 22:17
So here's the full story; no problems on and off Manning Point which has soft dunes (probably 10ft) on entry and exit. I'll let others rate it, but I've seen a few "conventional" 4WD's have a couple of goes at them, but never been there myself in my Patrol to compare. Traction control was pretty active in the soft stuff above high water that I was in for a while but never got bogged. The CV abd CVX witht the LSD and Viscous diff would be better I'm sure. Clearance is actually pretty good for sand with nothing hanging down. They all have a 5 sp Auto and first is pretty low. Tried a soft uphill start going up the dune off the beach using the "snow" mode to hold second and it worked a treat. Not sure I'd head off into uncharted territory in one alone but if you are familiar with the territory and it's not to extreme I reckon they are a pretty good option. Up around the north coast of NSW there are a lot of regulars on the beaches with softer stuff.
FollowupID: 368741

Follow Up By: mattlobie - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 01:12

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 01:12
OK, I can't argue any further since I haven't driven one. All I know is I wouldn't go near any of the beaches up here in QLD in anything except a real 4WD. Bribie, Teewah, Rainbow and Fraser are all tough enough to negotiate in a Cruiser, let alone something without low range and decent clearance. I once saw a guy in an F250 have 6 attempts at the entry to the Freshwater track from Teewah beach before he gave up, and as someone else mentioned, there's always an Xtrail or a Pathfinder bogged at the Inskip barge.

Don't the suspension arms hang really low on Klugers, or am I tihnking of Territories?

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Follow Up By: Outbacktourer - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 07:29

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 07:29
Yeah, I wouldn't take it to Fraser. Territory has the lower suspension.
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Follow Up By: mattlobie - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 11:21

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 11:21
But you would take it to Rainbow or Teewah?? The beaches are exactly the same as Fraser!

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Follow Up By: Outbacktourer - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 13:11

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 13:11
Not sure, never been to Rainbow or Teewah so I'll take your word for it. Been to Fraser though, and I don't think the Kluger would go too well on some of the tracks across the Island, not enough clearance and no underbody protection. I'm sure if you were to toughen it up with plates underneath like the Subie boys do you could do something, but we are talking standard vehicles here aren't we. If it were only beach, no worries IMHO.
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Follow Up By: mattlobie - Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 13:23

Wednesday, May 25, 2005 at 13:23
Fair enuf.

FollowupID: 368949

Reply By: Member - Jeff M (WA) - Monday, May 23, 2005 at 18:55

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 18:55
I guess it depends on what beach and what time of year etc... If you've ever watched that pommy car show they were racing a monaro and a jag around on a beach having an awsome time with no problems at all... In Albany you can go and drive down that beach near emu point in your fairlane.
Personally the problem I see with taking an AWD on the beach is not that it won't be able to make it, but that you have no reserve if the going get's tough. Ever been from two rocks to seabird in the middle of summer??
In fact I would dare say that the Klugar would probally eat of some beaches for breakfast, possibly even showing up the ol' 2.8 Diesel hiluxs. But when it get's tough and the hilux driver shifts that funny little gear leaver that always pushes into your thigh when your driving to the shops into low, he'll be laughing all the way back to the pub.

So if you're going for a play on the beach with your mates, it's probally ok. Just don't go down there by yourself. IMHO.
AnswerID: 112464

Reply By: Utemad - Monday, May 23, 2005 at 19:54

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 19:54
In my Rodeo I very rarely ever use low range on the beach. However where I do use it is when I start to bog down. If I stop before I dig in to my diffs, I can shift into low range and reverse out.
That is what would be lacking in a soft roader I think.

It it rare we go to Double Island and not see an X-Trail stuck on a beach exit. I don't know why but it is always an X-Trail and not a Rav or Kluger or whatever.
AnswerID: 112475

Reply By: Muddy 'doe (SA) - Monday, May 23, 2005 at 20:09

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 20:09
Most AWD vehicles are great for beach work but as said it is that last few yards getting off the beach uphill in the soft stuff where all the drama usually happens. Agree with comments about the difference between doing the job and doing the job with ability to spare when it starts getting hard! Especially with a 1 tonne sand anchor hanging off the back.

And of course don't forget to let those hoops down! Makes all the difference.

AnswerID: 112478

Reply By: WDR - Monday, May 23, 2005 at 20:47

Monday, May 23, 2005 at 20:47
I have a CVX Kluger and have not even tried to use it off road or on the beach, I often wondered what the traction control and other safety stuff on these vehicle would do if you tried to barge your way through soft sand and the wheels tried to spin and then traction control came on. Interesting comments.
I will keep doing it in the Jack I think.
AnswerID: 112492

Reply By: Farside - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 08:29

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 08:29
Dear All

I was surprised last year on Fraser to see a Subaru Forester GT at the Cathedral Resort getting supplies, I later saw him up at Orchid beach. Rumour has it he had dropped his tyre pressure very low, took aim and gave it huge stick across the soft stuff. He also had, what looked like a 65 litre Engle fridge in the back. Did not needed to be towed once.

Also on the same trip I also saw a Holden Adventra being towed up the beach.

AnswerID: 112547

Reply By: ev700 - Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:48

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 at 20:48
During a recent dry spell we saw a Kluger easily trapped by dry sand though it had low pressure in the tyres. It was snatched out easily and then towed to a safer area by a old Pajero diesel with a full load and narrow tyres (owner said the Paj tyres were not much below normal pressure).

Klugers are nice vehicles and probably better in light off-road than many vehicles however the design does seem to have limitations in dry sand.
AnswerID: 112664

Reply By: s-t - Friday, May 27, 2005 at 19:29

Friday, May 27, 2005 at 19:29
A kluger should do it fine PatC. Seems there are a lot of people who are unaware of what a softroader can do when in the hands of someone who knows how to drive them.

I've just spent 4 days this week on Teewah beach in my Forester. No problems at all. Fraser Is., Stockton beach, national parks etc are fine for a Forester, and I imagine would be for a Kluger too. I've been close to trouble in some areas of the Alpine NP, but that was getting to be fairly serious stuff.
AnswerID: 113231

Reply By: BruSav - Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 14:07

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2005 at 14:07
We recently purchased a CV Sport. It is the same spec as the CVX, minus leather seats and 6-stack CD. Paid $43,650 drive away with Toyota towpack. Now, 7 weeks and 3,500Klm later I am totally wrapt in it! The ride is superb, especially off-road. You can see where the Kluger has the Toyota 4WD supsension engineering edge over the Territory. The fuel economy is totally brilliant. Much of our driving has included National Parks, such as Springbrook, Main Range, Condamine/Queen Mary NP and several other SE Qld parks. If you've travelled these areas, you will know how steep these roads are. On these trips, the average consumption is in the mid 10lts/100klms. On straight highway, it is mid 8lts/100 klms! The RX330 derived 3.3 litre is as good as the reviews report. Standing start acceleration is very, very quick. The acceleration took me by surprise and is certainly quicker than you will expect from this size vehicle (using standard unleaded fuel). Even with 5 pax and gear onboard, it is quicker off the line than our previous AU2 XR6! The interior space is very good, especially the mid seating area. The huge leg room in mid seats for 3 adults is a plus. As for the 'hole' in the front console floor area; it's a bloody clever idea. We store a 350W 12/240v inverter there and it is a great place to keep it and a cordless spotlight.
The Kluger is without doubt more capable off road than its competitors. I owned several Nissan Patrols back in the late 70's and I know where they can go. Like all things with cars, it is driver ability that makes the difference to expolit the vehicle's capabilities. Off-road capability compared to Kluger competitors is evident in the tyre fitment. The Toyo 'Tranpath' tyres are a compromise between road grip and off bitumen performance. The Territory has a better handling setup on the road due to fitment of road tyres; that is where it ends. The Kluger's Toyo's higher aspect ratio ensures better cushioning on the serious 'bumps' and 'thumps'. The Kluger does have body roll,not enough to complain about, but hey, it is meant to be driven off road and that is the value in the hybrid tyre setup. Can't fault the body work or paint-typical Toyota quality!

GRIPES-None really. No squeaks or rattles. The 5-speed auto is a gem, BUT, steptronic/semi-auto is something that Toyota should consider in the next model. I have a 5-speed semi-auto in my TL Magna AWD and it's a great setup on windy roads, especially on steep decents.

The Toyota 4WD parentage is there in design and function and the Kluger is going to suit buyers like us who want a very capable, performance engineered, economical and spacious machine that WILL FREQUENTLY AND SERIOUSLY be used off the bitumen. Our choice was between the TS AWD Territory and the Kluger. The CV Sport hit the dealers at the right time and is top value! We opted away from the Territory because it is too heavy and over the long-term will prove too thirsty.
For our money, the Kluger CV Sport is tops in value-for-money. The Toyota badge inspires confidence, reliablity and resale. ALSO, Toyota sell the Kluger overseas as the 'Highlander' and it's been around since 2001, so it is a proven design. As a comparison of real value, cost the RX330 and the Kluger. It's the shared mechanicals and the RX330 has the review awards to back up its credentials.
Unless your 'hard core' 4WD, the Kluger will do an admirable job!
AnswerID: 116724

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