Prado true 4wd or show pony

Submitted: Friday, May 16, 2003 at 21:05
ThreadID: 4953 Views:1868 Replies:19 FollowUps:15
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Hi Guys and Gals,
Considering purchasing a Prado over the next couple of months as the current GQ short wheel base is getting to small for our needs, as the family is growing and more space is required internally.
We are swaying towards the Prado as it does not look as cumbursome as the 100 series and GU.
Wanting to know how you are finding this vehicle in regards to relibility , fuel economy petrol or diesel and what it,s handling capabilites are like in the ruff stuff and on the bitumen.
Also any problems in which you might of had.
Looking in getting a 1998 model Manual, preferable GLX.
Have looked at the search engines but there is not a great deal out there.
Thanks in advance.
Regards Jason
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Reply By: Steve - Friday, May 16, 2003 at 21:19

Friday, May 16, 2003 at 21:19
Show Pony...
AnswerID: 20251

Follow Up By: Steve - Tuesday, May 20, 2003 at 23:33

Tuesday, May 20, 2003 at 23:33
Towed a trakshak through the Flinders, Oodnadatta, Tanami, Bungles, Gibb, Kalumburu, West Coast. As well as heaps of Vic High Country stuff. Always reliable, economical commfortable and easier to drive than my 100 series GXL.
FollowupID: 13251

Follow Up By: Steve - Tuesday, May 20, 2003 at 23:34

Tuesday, May 20, 2003 at 23:34
Oh and get an auto - they are dynamite in the sand and off-road in general.
FollowupID: 13252

Reply By: Member - Bonz (Vic) - Friday, May 16, 2003 at 21:37

Friday, May 16, 2003 at 21:37
BReaks my heart to say it but its a true 4wd - reliability, clearance, wheel travel, not up to a patrol or nonIRS Cruiser but true 4wd anyways________________________________>
Fraser Island Dreaming
AnswerID: 20253

Reply By: xr600 - Friday, May 16, 2003 at 21:38

Friday, May 16, 2003 at 21:38
Show Pony..._____________________________________________
Countin the days till July 5th. *Cape York Trip*
AnswerID: 20255

Follow Up By: Voxson (Adelaide) - Friday, May 16, 2003 at 21:39

Friday, May 16, 2003 at 21:39
My mate Deryk says oops..._____________________________________________
Countin the days till July 5th. *Cape York Trip*
FollowupID: 12974

Reply By: Allfour4x4 - Friday, May 16, 2003 at 21:58

Friday, May 16, 2003 at 21:58
Have a look here-
Nothing really wrong with the Prado, but maybe Iam biased. If you can stretch to a 2000 model, go for the T/Diesel.
Like a lot of the newer Toyotas you may find the need to upgrade the suspension, particularly the front springs-too soft if you add steel bullbar/etc.
Glenn B.
AnswerID: 20258

Follow Up By: Jason (macca) - Friday, May 16, 2003 at 22:10

Friday, May 16, 2003 at 22:10

I have a 2000 GXL 3.4 litre petrol. I tow a 1800kg Ski boat with it. Have not had any trouble what so ever. The ramp we launch at is sand/mud. Getting around 14Lt/100km fuel economy. As for the off road stuff, cant really say. Mine has only been off road on a few occassions. My best mate has the same model and he too tows a ski boat of the same size. He loves his and has never had anything major go wrong. He takes his off road fortnightly.

Just my two bobs worth
FollowupID: 12979

Follow Up By: Jason (macca) - Friday, May 16, 2003 at 22:17

Friday, May 16, 2003 at 22:17

Those fuel economy figures i quoted of 14/100km are without the boat on the back. Put the boat on the back and it would be fair to say that the fuel economy just about doubles.( maybe double is an exageration. but it sure seems that way)

FollowupID: 12981

Reply By: Old Jack - Friday, May 16, 2003 at 22:08

Friday, May 16, 2003 at 22:08
jason, looked at the prado a few years ago for work truck :- some pros & cons
good size standard fuel tanks, 3lt turbo diesel get good economy (10lt/100klm possible) reasonable towing capacity.
found the inside a bit narrow for three adults in the secons row, back seats would go first up & fit a cargo barrier. The ramaining load space was a bit light on but better than what you would be used to in a SWB.
we hired a 3.4v6 for a week, went ok but was heavy on fuel around town like most $wd's. out on the open road got about 14l/100klm(someone that owns one might have better real world cosumption figures, we where being lead foots)
as a road car it's pretty good for aprox. 2000kg of truck, brakes worked well, a work college bought one for the wife(5 kids!) after we hired the car, so far it's got 175,000 klm on it and no major problems, they seen quiet happy with it.

for a Mid sizer prado, Jackaroo, Mitsubishi would be reasonable choices.
work has a Jackaroo with 480,000 klm on the clock with original 3.2 V6 & gear box, no major problems with it either & it has been well used by all & sundry.

If you looking to lift any of the above you are limmited by the IFS on these trucks, that said they are reaonably capable off road and most can be lifted about 50mm safely within the limmits of the IFS

jason not everyone need's a big 4wd, the Die Hards will all now probably say to buy a big tojo or Nissan, Goverment departments seem to have a lot of Jackaroo's & Prado's in there fleets, if this size truck "fits" your need like a lot of other people the Prado diesel would be a resonable choice.

AnswerID: 20259

Reply By: Member - Rohan K - Friday, May 16, 2003 at 23:34

Friday, May 16, 2003 at 23:34
Jason, have a look at any number of the recent 4x4 mags. They have all done reviews of the new Prado and, surprise surprise, they have also done reviews on buying a second hand Prado. Journo consensus seems to be that it has enough off-road ability to surprise a few would-be knockers. The manuals are renowned for clutch problems and my mate has suffered the same problem. Tojo doesn't seem too interested in helping to fix it.Be good, or be quick.
Rohan (Sydney)
AnswerID: 20267

Reply By: tristjo - Friday, May 16, 2003 at 23:37

Friday, May 16, 2003 at 23:37
Like a few of the guy's have stated, they are a bit of a show pony. I have clocked up alot of kay's offroad, and have never passed a Prado in my low range travels!! That's not to say they arne't fairly capeable off road, but your shorty GQ would blow it away when the going get's rough!! Like all Toyota's, they are well built, and are a fairly reliable unit, but they also share alot of the typicall Tojo problems, like the weak drivetrain, and ridiculous parts prices. If i was shopping for this type of vehicle, i would probably be going for a Jakaroo. They are very tough, quite capeable offroad, have good petrol, and excellent diesel motor's, and a reliable drivetrain. But best of all, you could find a simalarly aged and travelled vehicle for thousands of dollars less than a Toyota. That would leave you with a bit of money to rework the suspension, and kit it out a bit. Hope this has helped. Tristjo.
AnswerID: 20268

Follow Up By: Lyndon - Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 08:39

Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 08:39

How do you conclude that tojos have weak drivetrains????????

FollowupID: 12994

Follow Up By: Jason (macca) - Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 20:40

Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 20:40

200,000km between my prado and my mates and not a single problem to report.........I tow 1800kg boat and my clutch and drivetrain as like day 1. As previously stated, my mate tows the same brand of boat and he too has never had a thing go wrong

FollowupID: 13015

Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 08:17

Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 08:17
Jason we have had many away with us and to date never had a problem
deisel and petrol. I find them a very capable 4x4 .
We had one across the simpson a few years back , a petrol it got nearly the same fuel cosumption as the deisel cruisers it was a mater of about 5 lts . On the same trip there was a petrol 80 and used 90 lts more than the deisels and prado.
Jason the main thing is what are you going to do with the truck how mutch 4x4 are you going to do, dont fall into the trap of putting every extra known to man on it or seen in the mags maybe just up grade the suspension and a snorkel ,duel battery and a uhf radio use the KISS method.
All the best
Peter 07 4094 1745
Eric 02 42 94 3496
Cape York Connections
AnswerID: 20279

Reply By: Tony - Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 09:05

Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 09:05
Jason as an owner of a TD Prado (11lt/100Km) I can assure you they are not a show pony. With a few basic mods such as suspension lift, snorkel and quality set of A/t or M/T tyres they will go 95% of places L/C or patrol with the same basic mods. The front suspension is its only real issue if it hasnt been replaced a little too soft and under dampened. Last year 4x4 Monthly took a stock standard TD with camper trailer to the cape (including the telegraph track) and had no trouble what so ever. As for reliability I have no complaints there and mine is a manual and I am unaware of too many clutch problems other than when people abuse them which will wear any clutch out. There are other alternatives such as jackaroos and pajeros but you will be hard pressed to beat the Prados ability offroad with either of these. As mentioned before if you can stretch the budget look for a 2000 model as the diesel is a much better proposition over the V6 even if running cost are pretty even.

AnswerID: 20285

Reply By: Member -BJ (Sydney) - Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 11:41

Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 11:41
If you live in Sydney mate of mine is selling his TD 99' model 3.0ltd as new condition never off road if interested let me know & i will get full details for you Regards Bob
Wish i was still here / Gulf in July
AnswerID: 20293

Reply By: johnsy - Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 14:27

Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 14:27
Jason have seen a couple out in the scrub and are just as good as their bigger brother .Park one next to a 60 series and compare the sizes from every corner its only from the 80 that the cruzer got big fat and heavy . work out the engine kws as a % of weight on all the vehicles your considering the higher the % the better for towing the smaller is possibly a better tourer or taxi .
AnswerID: 20302

Reply By: Member - Russell - Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 20:45

Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 20:45
I have one, and it's served me well in all sorts of terrain. Mind you, I've upgraded suspension, tyres, unichip etc, but show me a Patrol or Cruiser who hasn't also? I hope to swap to a 100 series diesel soon, but mainly because my Prado is petrol, and I want to get into a diesel platform. I have two brothers who both have T/D Prados (one TX and one GXL) and they love them. You could do a lot worse than a Prado, but it depends what your needs and preferences are. There are lots of good vehicles out there (except Mitubishi of course......!)

Russell S.Russell S
Prado RV6
AnswerID: 20325

Reply By: Jeff (Beddo) - Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 21:18

Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 21:18
During the recent fires around Sydney we had to travel the trails by Toyota Traytops Landcruiser and Nissan Patrols and they took a battering - many of the trails were newly constructed with a dozer and the supervisor drove a Prado and it made it were the Traytops would not and where a Landcruiser wagon (older model though) could not either. I drive this car occasionally and it has seen some rough miles and over 50 000 Km has not had a mechanical problem. Asthetically it is white with grey trim - flares etc and these scratch badly - go all white, shows up the scratches less.
PS. The vehicle is a Prado Turbo Diesel 2000 model.Cheers, Beddo
Surf KZN185
<- Yengo NP, Central Coast NSW
AnswerID: 20327

Reply By: Allyn - Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 23:06

Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 23:06
Given that you are probably like the rest of us and prone to a little bit of modifying or accessorising then I think the Prado will prove to be a more than capable off-roader once you've set it up for what your tastes are.
AnswerID: 20338

Reply By: twandy - Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 23:40

Saturday, May 17, 2003 at 23:40
What are the main differences between the pajero and prado? They both get the same writeups but there is a large difference in price. Seems that the positives in the prados do not justify the extra $$$
AnswerID: 20341

Follow Up By: brett - Sunday, May 18, 2003 at 14:23

Sunday, May 18, 2003 at 14:23
Pajero has independent suspension all round so on road handles much better but less wheel travel means won't go as far off road as the prado. New pajero diesel is great, go's like a rocket and gets better than 10L/100
FollowupID: 13039

Follow Up By: Billy - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 20:32

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 20:32
Pretty loud and harsh tho... handles good but (on the blacktop). IMHO only.

FollowupID: 13113

Reply By: Billy - Sunday, May 18, 2003 at 17:34

Sunday, May 18, 2003 at 17:34

You already have heaps of feedback...but I'd add my 2 bits. I went looking for one of these size in '98 and got down to the Prado and the Jack (3.5). I bought the Jack on value, nearly a 9K difference on road and less creature features in the Prado. Since then not a lot has changed.

I would be surprised if anyone who has had a Jack has come away anything but impressed.

The only thing I would add is that the Jack is surprisingly bigger inside, not much shy of the GU I have now.

Regds Billy

AnswerID: 20367

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 09:08

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 09:08
So Billy, why the move from a jack (if it was so good) to a GU?Be good, or be quick.
Rohan (Sydney)
FollowupID: 13073

Follow Up By: Billy - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 15:11

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 15:11

Glad you asked, a few reasons none really to do with the Jack itself.

The four year lease was up with 120K,(one of the only deductions I get these days) none of the dealers could find me a Diesel SE in the state, let alone haggle. I have become friendly with the local Nissan dealer and he cut me a great deal on a GU ST 3.0Di already on the boat.

It appears the Jack may be being withdrawn by steath?

I was also ready to upsize (wife had become used to the size of the Jack so I got away with it) due to more gear, bigger kids etc.

The comparison is interesting, having freshly owned one back to back.

The GU is slightly more stable and comfortable owing to coils all round, longer wheelbase and > weight. Not as nimble though and much bigger turning circle.The size as I already said IMHO is not that much bigger inside. I have not been up anything steep and rutted yet (where the GU should be better) but over washouts the rear articulation feels similiar. Believe it or not I really miss the electric folding and heated rear mirrors on the Jack, having a narrow garage and sometimes leaving the car out overnight!

I don't think the build quality is up to the Jackaroo though just from the feel of it (early days). The Jack did not have a rattle after going over just about every rough road in Australia, fully loaded and towing.

Point is, if I were in the market for a second hand mid-large one I'd strongly consider the Jack if you were looking at Prado's (excellent vehicle too by all a/c's) particularly as a value proposition.


FollowupID: 13093

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, May 20, 2003 at 11:27

Tuesday, May 20, 2003 at 11:27
Hmm. Interesting. I think I've managed to con the mrs into a size upgrade too (have owned a Pathfinder for 6 months). However, I'm considering reverting to my other option (when I bought the Pathie) which was to buy a new family every-day car, and a late model second hand 4x4 that I can "play" with. I'd narrowed the choice to a 3.0 TDi GU, an 80 or 100 series Cruiser or a Defender but hadn't even considered the Jack. Does it have solid axles both ends or IFS?

Be good, or be quick.
Rohan (Sydney)
FollowupID: 13168

Follow Up By: Billy - Tuesday, May 20, 2003 at 15:34

Tuesday, May 20, 2003 at 15:34

IFS (torsion bar) front, Live Axle rear. IMHO you will get a lot for your money on a Jack in comparision to what you are looking at there, as all the ones you mention hold up pretty well second hand, particularly the 80 series, paricularly Turbo Diesel's. To be fair, the Jack is probably not in the same class as these off road, more comparable with the Prado and Pajero. If you go the Monterey you get a torque on demand (push button) 4wd system similar to the Pathfinder.


FollowupID: 13192

Follow Up By: Member - Rohan K - Tuesday, May 20, 2003 at 15:42

Tuesday, May 20, 2003 at 15:42
Thanks Billy. I might add it to the list.

Had a look at the Monterey when shopping late last year. Found the interior space and build quality/refinement not quite up to the others'. But that's less of an issue when its not the "daily driver". The torsion bar IFS puts me off a bit.Be good, or be quick.
Rohan (Sydney)
FollowupID: 13194

Follow Up By: Billy - Tuesday, May 20, 2003 at 16:04

Tuesday, May 20, 2003 at 16:04

Agreed on the refinement compared to current models, but the build quality and toughness will become apparent in a drive. The big issue with the Jack at the moment is that the interior has not been remodelled since the mid 90's, which is why it currently looks dated compared to the new models and there is no upgrade in sight. Wind the clock back to '98 or so for a second hand one and the comparison is less obvious. Also, the leather and wood look crap in the Monterey (IMHO), in '98/99 you got all the other goodies but without the wood and leather. I can tell you much more about this model (if you become more interested) off line so as not to bore the list. Good luck shopping..


FollowupID: 13199

Reply By: Michael - Sunday, May 18, 2003 at 22:03

Sunday, May 18, 2003 at 22:03
HI Jason, The only thing i can think of is that the middle row seat is very upright, i dont believe there is any adjustment, i travelled 6 hours in the back of one , it nearly sent me insane. VERY uncomfortable. So check that out if you have teenagers or want adults to travel in back(middle row). That was a 1997 model, maybe different after that. Regards Michael
AnswerID: 20389

Reply By: Jason - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 08:21

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 08:21
Thanks Guys,
l appreciate the feed Back and it has all been very useful, will take it all in consideration.Plan on a suspension upgrade straight away as l do plan on using it to go bush. All 4wd need this as the original suspension is always to soft .

AnswerID: 20398

Reply By: flappan - Monday, May 19, 2003 at 09:32

Monday, May 19, 2003 at 09:32
Its not a Patrol, and not quite a Cruiser, but they are every bit as good offroad as the Pajeros and the like.

The new ones aren't as good offroad as the older ones, but depending on what your needs are, will go 95% of places any 4wd will go.

I know of a few few guys that you would consider a bit more "hardcore" then some. Both have Prado's.
AnswerID: 20403

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