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New perks with Prado facelift
The Toyota Prado GXL is still among the most frugal large diesel SUVs.

Many SUVs these days either aim to provide spacious comfort for ferrying around kids more than getting off the pavement and bashing bush, or are simply small cars with a higher ride height.

That's all well and good but, thankfully for those who want to take the kids on adventures as well as to school, there are still options such as the Toyota Prado.

The big seven-seater's off-road capability is its defining characteristic. It doesn't need to be the silky smooth-moving large SUV in the Toyota stable - the Kluger can pick up the slack in that department. It's more for off-road types who don't need the size of a LandCruiser nor the price tag.

That said, the new face-lifted Prado range has been fitted out to make the everyday commute better. Namely, the infotainment system has been upgraded to be fully compatible with the latest smart phones and have access to the ToyotaLink app system when it launches properly in a few months.

While the mid-spec GXL model provided for testing didn't have a whole lot of new additions to the old model, save for heated side mirrors, it does have the perks featured throughout the updated range.

The second row of seats is easier to move for passengers to get in to the very back row, and can be reclined for greater comfort.

The grille has been widened and the headlights stretched to make the car look wider, while the side-mounted rear door has a handy locking mechanism to stop wind from blowing it shut.

And the GXL is the top-selling Prado for a reason - it didn't need a heap of changes. It still has three-zone climate control, third- row seats as standard, liberal bursts of chrome and leather inside and handy off-road perks such as roof racks and trailer-sway control.

But with the same 3.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine and five-speed auto transmission, little has changed driving-wise. In all it can feel a bit tractor-ish, with the gearbox in particular feeling a tad primitive when stacked up against recent autos such as that in the latest Jeep Grand Cherokee.

That said, it's still among the most frugal diesel-powered large SUVs out there with a claimed 8.5L/100km fuel economy - though you'll need to get out of the city regularly to get close to it.

But really, that's exactly the reason to buy a Prado - if you want to escape the urban jungle for a real jungle and make it past whatever gets thrown at you, and be comfortable doing it, then this old-timer will deliver in spades.

VERDICT
Other SUVs will deliver seven people in a more stylish and suave manner but the Prado will still deliver them to places many of its seven-seat rivals can't.

TOYOTA PRADO
Model: GXL
Price: $64,190
Engine: 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel
Outputs: 127kW/410Nm
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Thirst: 8.5L/100km

COMPETITORS
LAND ROVER DISCOVERY 4
Model TDV6
Price $68,545
Engine 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel
Outputs 155kW/520Nm
Transmission Eight-speed automatic transmission
Thirst 8.8L/100km

MITSUBISHI PAJERO
Model VRX
Price $63,990
Engine 3.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel
Outputs 147kW/441Nm
Transmission Five-speed automatic
Thirst 9.0L/100km

JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE
Model Limited
Price $61,000
Engine 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel
Outputs 184kW/570Nm
Transmission Eight-speed automatic
Thirst 7.5L/100km