Towing the line

Text and photography:
GG van Rooyen

A standard Toyota Prado 4.0 V6 is no slouch.

With 202 kW of power and 381Nm of torque, Toyota’s popular SUV delivers a very respectable performance. Twenty years ago any vehicle with more than 200 kW of power would, without doubt, have been considered a performance machine.

However, with the addition of lots of extra technology and luxury, and added safety features, the modern Prado is no lightweight, and it tips the scale at nearly 2,3 tons. So it doesn’t quite offer the spine-tingling top speed and acceleration one might associate with 202 kw of power. That’s simply because the Prado, at its core, was never designed to be a speed merchant. Instead, there is much more to it.

Underneath the vehicle’s sleek urban veneer lurks a true 4×4. While quite at home in rush-hour traffic, the Prado likes to venture off the beaten track.

And it has the specifications to prove it. With permanent four-wheel drive, low range, centre and rear differential locks, Hill Start Assist, Crawl Control and Multi-terrain Select systems, the vehicle can take on just about any 4×4 course.

So for those looking for a super elegant, super luxurious and super safe SUV that is also capable of tackling rugged off-road terrain, the Prado is an obvious choice.

But what if you want a competent off-roader cum daily runner that offers a bit of extra oomph? Something a bit more rorty, and sporty?

Surely, in this day and age, 4×4 enthusiasts should be able to have their cake and eat it? Right?