Never mind the price, it walks the torque

Bruce Fraser

Bruce Fraser

If you're thinking of buying the Toyota Prado 4,0 VX as your next vehicle, just make sure you have deep pockets.

Not only does it come at a hefty R488500 but it costs a whopping R1450 (180 litres) to fill the tank from empty. Ouch!

You see, the Prado has two tanks. The first holds 87 litres. Then it has what is called the sub tank, which holds another 93 litres.

The tanks work in tandem, unlike in the old days when you had to switch from one tank to the other, so when the fuel gauge reads empty get ready to fork out big time.

Mind you, there is a belief that if you can afford to shell out just under half-a-million rands for a vehicle, you shouldn't be too worried about the cost of petrol.

Now that I've got that out of the way, on to the vehicle itself.

The Prado is big. Weighing in at more than two tons, this is some chunk of metal.

The 4-litre, V6 engine churns out 179kW at a shade over 500rpm, which is pretty impressive considering its size.

Seating is described as 5+3, which means you can fit in the driver along with a front passenger. Then you have a middle row that seats three people fairly comfortably. And for the really large family there is seating for another three passengers in the back row which, when it is not being used, doubles as the boot.

As you would expect from a vehicle in this price range it comes with a wide variety of comfort and safety features.

I won't bore you with some of the more common ones, but the satellite navigation system was handy.

That also goes for the cooler box and one-touch automatic window and audio controls on the steering wheel that make driving just that bit more pleasurable.

Also standard on the Prado is the hill-start assistance that enables you to pull off on an incline or decline without having to worry about the hand or foot brake.

Again, it just adds to the pleasure that comes with driving this vehicle.

The Prado off-road has picked up various awards over the years for its prowess off the beaten track and also its unique design.

Unfortunately, owing to time constraints, I didn't have a chance to put it to the test off-road.

I guess it's a bit like judging Kelly Khumalo solely on her singing ability, whereas judging by pictures of her doing the rounds in the office she has a lot more to offer the entertainment world than we realise!