Which Prado? RV-GXL-Grande

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 21:34
ThreadID: 32723 Views:13617 Replies:13 FollowUps:19
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Hi everyone,

went for a trip to Melbourne over weekend thinking I'd check out some RV Prado's (96-00, Petrol). Now I want something that's comfortable for the family, can tow our camper & yet I'm not afraid to take the thing off-road - hence the RV and one in white so you can't see scratches. Checked out some GXL's though and thought those electric windows would come in handy for quickly cooling vehicle down and keeping some control of the kids and THEN I peeked at a Grande and thought the rear air-con ducts would be great for the kids, especially since not long ago we had 30-40 degree days for a few weeks running. Now I'm scratching me head, all have good points to them.

Anyone own an RV and feel like they're missing the luxuries? Conversley, anyone own a Grande and don't like taking the thing off-road?

Any replies greatly appreciated.

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Reply By: Phillip - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 21:43

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 21:43
The Grande is heeps more expensive than a GXL, I have a GXL diesel and really happy with it.

If you have 20 grand to spare, Toyota needs a donation.
AnswerID: 166057

Follow Up By: Markymark - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 21:54

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 21:54
I've been checking out yards and private. RV's are going for around $17-21,000 in yards, not many for sale privately. There's a few GXL's and Grande's privately with the GXL's between $17-20 and Grande's around $20-25,000. So not a huge difference on the private market, which is another reason I can look at the upper models.

I know Prado's have very good air con., do you carry passengers in the back and do they complain on the hot days?

Thanks Phillip,

FollowupID: 420980

Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 21:55

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 21:55
I owned both an RV and then a GXL - both TDs.

I liked the window winders on the RV. But hated the skinny wheels and small tyres, and missed the cruise control, and theres no remote on the central locking. Costs a lot to add flares, and the 7 inch wheels/tyres.

So when the dealer destroyed the motor, I negotiated a new deal with a GXL and paid the difference. I went GXL because of the above, but the fast glass is just a pain when you turn the motor off and it won't work. The CD player in the GXL skipped easily, so replaced it with an MP3 player and slipped the UHF into the dash with it. The GXL flares can easily fall off when offroading too.

The only thing I wanted as well on the GXL was airbags, but it came as an optional safety pack with ABS.

Now if you go the Grande, you'll get the plastic wood grain dash which was worth the extra $7k over the GXL :-))) But seriously, you pay the extra for the standard airbags, ABS, and on the later models, you can get traction control which IMO added nothing to the offroad ability of the vehicle.

So I'd go GXL or Grande. Very capable reliable vehicles.

AnswerID: 166063

Follow Up By: Markymark - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 22:07

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 22:07
Cheers Phil,

I also am chasing the Airbag & ABS package, pretty rare on the RV's and GXL's but I have found some. I hadn't really thought about the cost of flares and wider tyres, would be one of those things to do 'down the track'. Looks like it might work out cheaper in the long run to go the GXL/Grande way with less to add...more stuff to think about.


FollowupID: 420986

Reply By: Member - Ivan (ACT) - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 22:22

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 22:22
Agree with all the above - I had a GXL with three kids in the back - no probs keeping it cool.

Fast glass and the engine off - yep, a pain, especially with kids - there is a fix on www.lcool.org though which means the leccy windows work ALL the time - key, or no key (so not an issue).

I would have like ABS and airbags - not avail as standard in the GXL - if you could find one with them, I wouldn't pay the extra for the Grande...

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AnswerID: 166068

Follow Up By: Markymark - Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 22:35

Sunday, Apr 09, 2006 at 22:35
Thanks Ivan,

There goes my worry about the kids in back seat, its good to hear 1st hand knowledge of these things. The elec window fix is a bonus.


FollowupID: 420993

Follow Up By: Member - Des - Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 14:58

Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 14:58
We did the window fix too - well worth it!
FollowupID: 421091

Reply By: Shawsie (Member - Bris) - Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 13:57

Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 13:57
Hi Mark, I'm also going through the motions of looking for a 00 Prado. I think the GXL is the pick of the bunch with the extras that you'll soon can't do without. The RV has it for price tho, but as i said, the extras make the GXL a better buy. The only thing I'm concerned about is fuel consumption in the petrol & AWD, but otherwise it's very capable vehicle and should do me for the next 5yrs (or so), when I get one LOL - good luck.
AnswerID: 166156

Follow Up By: Member - Des - Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 15:37

Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 15:37
Re fuel consumption. Overall average for our 2000 VX auto is around 14L/100km. Rough breakdown:
- Heavy city traffic: 15-17
- Light city traffic: 14
- Flat highway with light load, 95km/h: 11-12
- Flat highway with heavy load or 100km/h: 13-14
- Hilly, windy sealed country roads with light load: 14-15
- Hilly, windy sealed country roads with heavy load/head wind: 14 - 16
- Gravel roads/tracks, high range 4WD, heavy load, lower tyre pressure: 16 - 17
- Low range 4WD, slow rocky tracks: 25+
FollowupID: 421097

Reply By: Member - Des - Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 14:52

Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 14:52
The GXL was the volume seller because most people thought the extras were worth it over RV. The fact that the price difference holds tells you that the second hand market thinks the same.

When looking for a Prado last year, safety was a high priority, especially after looking at the ( ANCAP crash test results). We decided we definitely wanted airbags and a model built after April 1998. That limited us to GXLs with the optional safety pack plus VX/Grande. Also wanted cruise control - allow $800 if need to fit a decent aftermarket one.

The post-1999 update includes fog lights (practically useless) and 60/40 split rear seat. What was the VX Grande became the VX; what was the VX Grande with luxury pack (sunroof and leather seats) became the Grande. I think TC was only fitted on VX and Grande after the 1999 update, but others will correct me if I'm wrong about that.

We ended up with a 2000 VX and very happy with it. Extras over GXL include velour trim; woodgrain; 2nd row centre armrest; 6 CD-stacker; auto trans with dash indicator, cruise, airbags, ABS & TC as standard; dual climate-control AC. The woodgrain and velour don't leave me with any reluctance to take it off-road!

ABS and TC are well worth it for us. TC helped us out of trouble on a really steep loose slope in high country recently. Wouldn't be so good in sand though. You can't switch it off, but it doesn't come on in low range, except in L1.

Note that Milford don't make a cargo barrier for the models with rear A/C vents; the only one we could find was Ausguard.

See article in last month's Austn 4WD Monthly on buying a Prado.

I would suggest a GXL with safety pack or a VX is worth the extra. If you come to sell it down the track, you won't regret it.
AnswerID: 166170

Follow Up By: Member - Des - Thursday, Apr 13, 2006 at 12:04

Thursday, Apr 13, 2006 at 12:04
When I said traction control (TC) doesn't come on in low range (except L1) I meant with the centre diff locked. If the centre diff is unlocked, TC will work in low range.

I sampled this accidentally on a recent trip when I forgot to lock the centre diff on a 4WD track. When the track started to climb steeply, one wheel after another started to spin, and the TC kept cutting in to regain traction (a light on the dash shows which wheel has spun and been braked by the TC). We got up the hill fine. But the real lesson was that a locked diff is better than mere TC: preferable not to spin the wheels in the first place! (Take note if you are considering models like early Disco II that rely on TC instead of locked diffs!)

TC is useful in high range when you don't want to lock the centre diff (e.g. wet bitumen).

But for us, the greatest value of TC is in low first with centre diff locked, on a steep slope. Then if a wheel spins you want the TC to control it, and are grateful when it does. This happened a few times on our high country trip (e.g. on Cobberas Trail, Ingeegoodbee Tk and Tom Groggin-Pinnibar Tk). (OK we need new tyres!) The TC then worked a treat. Sure front and rear cross-axle diff locks would be better in tough conditions (especially if using for a sustained period), but for occasional intervention TC is great. Also TC doesn't affect steering and only cuts in when necessary.
FollowupID: 421842

Reply By: flappa - Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 16:31

Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 16:31
We looked at the VX & TX Prado's.

We mainly looked at them because we wanted the dual air con because we have 4 kids.

I was disappointed in the Dual Air Con , especially compared to the Ti Patrols dual Air Con , but, from reports of others , we may have just been unlucky at the time.

Ultimately , we went the Patrol , mainly because of a little more room , and , the air con.

My mate has just bought a GXL and loves it.

Another alternative is to maybe locate one of the Limited Edition GXL's. They were some anniversary addition or something . . . Kimberly , or Snowy , or something like that.

Basically , it was a slightly upgraded GXL , with Dual Air con , but still with Velour seats , not leather.
AnswerID: 166191

Follow Up By: Member - Des - Tuesday, Apr 11, 2006 at 16:38

Tuesday, Apr 11, 2006 at 16:38
Most, if not all of the Limited Edition models (World Cup, Snowy, Kimberley, etc) were based on the RV, not the GXL. Wouldn't have airbags, might have 235 tyres rather than GXL's 265/70R16.
FollowupID: 421330

Follow Up By: flappa - Wednesday, Apr 12, 2006 at 08:47

Wednesday, Apr 12, 2006 at 08:47
Is that right.

Well I was told porkies then. (how unusual from a Car Salesmen)

I was told they were upgrades from the GXL , and thats why they had dual air con.
FollowupID: 421520

Follow Up By: Member - Des - Wednesday, Apr 12, 2006 at 10:44

Wednesday, Apr 12, 2006 at 10:44
According to my Toyota spec sheet for the Prado as at May 2000, even standard aircon was an optional extra on RV and GXL (although I don't suppose they sold many without it). (How typical of Toyota: at a time when even $13k drive-away Hyundais had a/c and airbags, you generally had to pay a few grand extra on top of the $48k or whatever to get them on a GXL Prado!)

Dual aircon with rear duct was standard on VX, TX and Grande, but not available (even as an option) on RV or GXL.

Sounds like you've been told fibs alright Flappa!
FollowupID: 421531

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Wednesday, Apr 12, 2006 at 21:03

Wednesday, Apr 12, 2006 at 21:03
Flappa and Des,
You were both right ..... partially :-)))
The Wold Cup and Getaway models were based on the RV - I both had the 6 inch wide alloys and a few other bits like cruise control.
The Snowy and Kimberley editions were based on GXL - had a bit of extra chrome and the 7 inch wide mags.

FollowupID: 421707

Follow Up By: Member - Des - Thursday, Apr 13, 2006 at 12:10

Thursday, Apr 13, 2006 at 12:10
And no dual aircon, airbags or ABS in any of the packages! (Seems airbags and ABS were optional on Snowy and Kimberley, like other GXLs. But dual aircon wasn't.)
FollowupID: 421843

Follow Up By: flappa - Thursday, Apr 13, 2006 at 12:59

Thursday, Apr 13, 2006 at 12:59
There was Dual Air Con on the Snowy I was shown . . . positive.
FollowupID: 421845

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, Apr 13, 2006 at 17:46

Thursday, Apr 13, 2006 at 17:46
Hi Flappa,

Thats interesting because the dual air comes fitted from the factory in Japan, and I thought the Snowy was an Aussie version that was tizzied up after they landed in Aus. But I may be wrong on the latter. All other air cond was fitted by the dealers.

FollowupID: 421906

Reply By: Markymark - Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 20:43

Monday, Apr 10, 2006 at 20:43
Guys another thing that's come to mind is the ability to run in low range without the centre diff locked. I use to have an old Range Rover and found this a boon when reversing the trailer. If I remember correctly you can't do a 'fix' with the GXL because it's mechanical but you can with the VX/Grande because its electrical - anyone with some knowledge on this?

AnswerID: 166250

Follow Up By: Member - Des - Tuesday, Apr 11, 2006 at 16:57

Tuesday, Apr 11, 2006 at 16:57
In the VX, selecting low range doesn't lock the centre diff. To lock the diff you press a button on the dash, located to the right of the steering column. From looking at RVs and GXLs, I'm pretty sure they are the same. So you can have the centre diff locked or unlocked in either high range or low range. (Not like some part-time 4WDs - e.g. GU Patrols? - where selecting low range automatically locks the hubs.)
FollowupID: 421335

Reply By: Alan W - Tuesday, Apr 11, 2006 at 23:48

Tuesday, Apr 11, 2006 at 23:48
G'day Mark,
I own a 2005 Grande and I know it's not the year/series you're looking at, but I've no problems taking it out bush, that's whats its designed for.

Toyota in it's wisdom have made the GXL and Grande exterior basically the same therefore there's no difference in scratching a $50K vehicle or a $80K one. (It's the first scratch that hurts) When I'm ready to trade it in, I just get it cut and polished or resprayed.(After last w/e 4wding the respraying will be the option)

The differences are inside ( Life is too short to be uncomfortable) or under the bonnet.
My vehicle is shod with Coopers ATR's and without the centre diff locked, its pretty amazing where it can go by using the traction control, contrary to one of the above writers.

My advice is to buy a vehicle that has the most comfort features but especially also the most safety features such as air bags ( the more the better) ABS, stability control etc. What price is you or your family?

Happy shopping.
AnswerID: 166570

Reply By: Member - bushfix - Wednesday, Apr 12, 2006 at 08:58

Wednesday, Apr 12, 2006 at 08:58
G'day Mark,

I've got a 96 GXL (white). Also have four kids and lovely wife so all three rows get used. Mostly it is me and three of the kids going away but we can all fit comfortably. Yes, the leccy windows are very handy with little kids. This vehicle is very capable off road. You will find many bargains that have never been off road. If you're confident, buy private, should get a bargain for 19-22k. I could not justifiy the extra dosh for the dual air con and so far it has not been a problem. Useless stuff like woodgrain dash does not interest me. Capable and comfortable enough for us mate.....
AnswerID: 166609

Reply By: Markymark - Wednesday, Apr 12, 2006 at 22:25

Wednesday, Apr 12, 2006 at 22:25
Thanks everyone,

Well the look is on for a GXL with the ABS/Airbag package or Grande. Have a couple circled already, just need to find another day now when I can get away for a look.

I think the limtied edition Prado's were 'Getaway' and 'World Cup'. Basically they were RV's with GXL interior (elec. windows, central locking, remote etc.) but still no ABS or airbags. The 'Kakadu' was a Landcruiser special that came with rear air con outlets at the back of the centre console. They might have had a 'Kimberely' model. not sure, but Prado's had optional 'Kimberely' alloy wheels. Confusing stuff hey!

Anymore replies welcome but you have all certainly helped.


AnswerID: 166798

Follow Up By: Markymark - Wednesday, Apr 12, 2006 at 22:30

Wednesday, Apr 12, 2006 at 22:30
Check Phil's post up higher about Prado GXL specials - that's where the Kimberely alloys come from!
FollowupID: 421749

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, Apr 13, 2006 at 17:59

Thursday, Apr 13, 2006 at 17:59
Just to confuse the issue even more, there were two sorts of alloys labelled as Kimberley. The first were the chunky 5-spoke alloys that came on the early VX and Grande. They also appeared on the GXL Snowys.

But in 2001, and for most of 2002, the GXLs were sold with "Kimberley" mags that were actually the same as ROH "Dune" mags - a 6-spoke wheel which had thin spokes. Those ROH mags were sold off at $100 each after the 90series was superseded.
FollowupID: 421910

Reply By: Jimbo - Wednesday, Apr 12, 2006 at 22:43

Wednesday, Apr 12, 2006 at 22:43
Obscenely overpriced for what they are.

Consider an Hyundai Terracan or Kia Sorento. Just have a look, it won't cost you anything and might save you a lot.

Good Luck,

AnswerID: 166804

Follow Up By: Member - Des - Thursday, Apr 13, 2006 at 10:48

Thursday, Apr 13, 2006 at 10:48
I agree that Terracan and Sorento are well worth a look too. We considered these ones, and others including Jackaroo, Pathfinder, Pajero and Discovery. Don't want to start a war - all have their advantages and disadvantages and should be considered. Depends on your own needs. Plenty in archives about all of these.

With both Sorento and Terracan, you do get a lot for your money, although you would need to budget for suspension upgrade (except possibly Terracan with Trek'n'Tow pack). Diesel Terracan sounds promising. Sorento is a great-looking car, a good size if 5 seats are enough, proven Mitsubishi engine, well-equipped, good safety rating. More aftermarket accessories are becoming available for both, but not the same range as for bigger-selling models: might be hard to find snorkel, cargo barrier/drawer systems, diff locks, extra fuel tanks, etc. Reviews suggest both are quite rugged and OK off-road, but neither has anything like the ground clearance or articulation of 95-series Prado. Also query resale value.

Terracan and Sorento probably haven't sold as well as they ought to, but on the other hand good sales are a pretty fair indication that the model suits the needs of most people and is no dud. We all agree that the Prado was and is not cheap, but there are good reasons why it is remains so popular: reliable, good size, 159L fuel tanks as standard (GXL and above), 8 seats, quiet, smooth, easy to drive, good parts availability/dealer network. Most owners wouldn't know how good it is offroad: amongst mid-sized rivals, only the Disco rivals Prado's 245mm of ground clearance (GXL and above) and excellent articulation. Those are the reasons why Prados hold their resale value so well. You can say it is overpriced, Jimbo, but the market doesn't think so.
FollowupID: 421828

Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Thursday, Apr 13, 2006 at 17:54

Thursday, Apr 13, 2006 at 17:54
Nice level headed reply. I agree - the Prados have great resale. And depreciation is a major cost of owning a car. But I guess thats in the favour of those who are buying new.

My last Prado was a TD, and its trade-in value after almost 3 years of ownership was $7k less than the cash price I paid for it - can't complain about that.

The 159 litre tanks were standard on all V6 and TD - even the RV. It was only the 2.7 petrol and the grey imports that missed out.

FollowupID: 421909

Reply By: mcoops - Thursday, Apr 20, 2006 at 13:05

Thursday, Apr 20, 2006 at 13:05
Hi Mark,
Just read your post on after a prado gande,I'm about to advertise mine which is a 1998 VX Grande,petrol v6,auto, rear air cond ducts,sunroof and all grande options, The vehicle is in absolute immaculate condition,No marks inside and out,It has 153,000kms,I have set the vehicle up with upgraded old man emu suspension-better for handling and towing,BF Goodrich all-terrain tyres,and custom daul battery system to run a fridge.Has genuine nudge bar with driving lights also.Selling for around $25,500ono with RWC.Vehicle is in Geelong.

Regards Mark Cooper.
AnswerID: 168053

Follow Up By: Markymark - Thursday, Apr 20, 2006 at 23:34

Thursday, Apr 20, 2006 at 23:34
Mark that's a bit out of my reach - don't know how negotiable you are and don't want to do that here in any case. Still it sounds like a nice rig, is there anywhere I could see some photo's? Or e-mail?


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Reply By: mcoops - Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 11:19

Friday, Apr 21, 2006 at 11:19
G'Day Mark,

You can view photos on carsales.com.au, The rego is skz-304 to help find it,colour is a pearl white with gold trims(Flares etc),If you click on advanced search to put in "1998" and type "grande" it was the only one come up.I am negotable,Hope this helps you!

Cheers Mark Cooper.
AnswerID: 168279

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