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Hi-tech goes bush in new Prado

Plenty of gadgets: The new Toyota Prado gets 360-degree camera coverage to help the driver pick through tough territory.

Gizmos galore to guide 21st century explorers in new Toyota Prado

20 Oct 2009

TOYOTA has revealed more details of its forthcoming new LandCruiser Prado, saying the redesigned SUV will get a bundle of hi-tech off-road driver aids when it is launched in five-door wagon and – for the first time in Prado in Australia – three-door variants next month.

The company has also heralded an upgraded 4.0-litre petrol V6 engine which, as GoAuto reported last week, will only be available in the five-door version of the new 150 series.

The revised engine gets dual VVT-i variable valve timing for more power and torque. Although the press release gives no figures for engine performance, GoAuto understands power will increase by 10 per cent, from 179kW to 202kW.

The three-door will be powered exclusively by Toyota’s 127kW 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel, which will also be available in the five-door.

Toyota claims its new electronic driver assist technology will “help even accomplished off-road drivers feel more confident in rough terrain”.

8 center image Among the systems is the Australian-developed electronically controlled Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) first used by Toyota on its 200 Series LandCruiser and its Lexus derivative.

This adjusts the front and rear anti-rollbars optimum roll rigidity, both on and off road. The system firms the roll resistance for flat cornering on the road, and softens it when driving off-road for large suspension stroke.

Also borrowed from the big brother LandCruiser is crawl control, otherwise known as 'off-road cruise control', which automatically applies the brakes to maintain a crawling speed through tricky terrain.

The system minimises wheel spin and wheel lock, providing what Toyota describes as outstanding drivability and vehicle stability while also helping drivers claw out of mud and sand.

New to both Toyota and Prado is Multi-Terrain Select (MTS), allowing drivers to dial in the correct set-up for various terrains.

“Incorporating Multi-Terrain ABS, the system offers a wide range of slip control, providing maximum traction for situations involving mud and sand, loose rocks, moguls and rocks,” Toyota says.

The driver can even monitor the terrain around the vehicle on a TV monitor that carries with images from four onboard cameras on four sides of the vehicle.

The cameras can combine so the driver can see ground conditions in six areas around the vehicle: to the front, rear, and the front and rear left and right sides, Toyota says.

“In addition, the monitoring of the area in front is linked to the steering operation to display the distance from the front of the vehicle to a point along the projected tyre path, providing additional support to the driver,” Toyota says.

A new ‘steering angle display’ in the instrument panel indicates the angle of the front wheels and their predicted path, further helping the driver plot a safe route.

Downhill assist and hill-start assist control help on inclines, while Toyota's Adaptive Variable Suspension system lets the driver choose from three damper settings.

While the suspension design appears fundamentally unchanged, with double wishbones on the front and a five-link live axle at the rear, an electronically controlled rear air suspension system provides an auto-levelling function and switchable height control.

The new Prado was officially revealed in Sydney in a global first for Toyota Australia on September 14 before the three-door was revealed earlier this month.

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