Joel Helmes reviews the Toyota Kluger Grande.
When considering luxury mid-sized SUV’s you had better be prepared to part with a fair few dollars.
The top of the range Kluger is no exception; it comes with a price tag of $65,490.
The Kluger range starts at $39,990 and for that you get the same engine and transmission as the Grande and to be honest it’s basically the same vehicle.
So is forking out more than an extra $25,000 for some very nice luxury inclusions worth it?
Well that’s your choice to make.
There’s certainly no argument that the Grande is well fitted out.
You get inclusions such as a sunroof, great looking 19’ alloys, leather seats, heated front seats, electric driver’s seat, rear DVD screen, a powered tailgate, multi-zone climate control and wood grain interior.
All that plus some additional nice touches such as nice interior and exterior chrome work and handy additional lighting such as underneath the wing mirrors.
In all it adds up to what is quite a pleasant vehicle to get around in.
The Kluger is one of those rare models that offers only one engine – a 3.5 litre petrol V6 which delivers 201kW and 337Nm.
It certainly is an engine that gives the Toyota Kluger a fair bit of punch.
Fuel economy, as you would expect from a reasonably big V6 in a vehicle as sizeable as the Kluger isn’t great, around town you can expect to use 15L/100!
On the highway that consumption drops to just under 10L/100 and the quoted combined figure is 11.6.
The Kluger Grande rides nicely, very much like a luxury car with quite soft and forgiving suspension.
The steering also adds to the luxurious feel by being fairly light.
The Toyota appears to have a little more off-road ability than some of its soft-roader competition thanks to reasonably good ground clearance and forgiving arrival and departure angles.
While there’s no centre diff lock or low range you do get hill descent control and that can be of help on the dirt.
Inside the cabin you of course get seven seats, the third row of seats offer ok leg and head room, but just like most SUV’s with this extra seating capacity these seats are really only suitable for children.
Leg room in the middle row is very generous and upfront I would give the Kluger a pass mark.
Storage areas are also quite good with a monstrous glove box and sizeable centre console bin.
But it’s not all pass marks on the inside of the Toyota Kluger Grande.
I was disappointed by the excessive use of cheap feeling hard plastics in the cabin, this is even more pronounced when found next to the nice leather seats and wood grain highlights.
The rear DVD screen also blocks pretty much all of your rear visibility, you can also only control this unit from the front seats with a remote control (which is huge!).
The old hobby horse of mine of relatively hard arm rests and steering were also evident in the Kluger Grande, disappointing in a $65,000 luxury model.
Summing it up the Toyota Kluger Grande is a well-equipped and generally well executed vehicle (would you expect anything else from Toyota?) that looks to have some off-road ability.
I enjoyed driving it but would certainly look at some of its main competitors including the Nissan Murano, Mazda CX-9 and even the Kia Sorento before putting down a deposit.
NUTS & BOLTS
Engine: 3.5L petrol V6 delivering 201kW and 337Nm.
Transmission: 5 speed auto.
Safety: 5 Star ANCAP rated.
Green rating: 3 Stars.
Fuel consumption: Urban – 15.6, Extra urban – 9.2, Combined – 11.6.
Warranty: 3 years/100,000Km.