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Toyota Kluger – 2014 – A quick look

The Toyota Kluger is a large, practical SUV made more for the family than for rugged off-roading.
In Australia it is called the Kluger and in the US the Highlander (where it is made).
It is well worth a look.
The new model is 80 mm longer and 15 mm wider to give more interior space and better access to the third row of seats which are now standard.
The body has thinner pillars and a bigger rear quarter panel for better visibility.
The new Kluger has six model variants, you can have either two wheel drive and four wheel drive on one of three models; the GX, the GXL and the Grande.
I was a bit of a cynical about the need for all wheel drive but this option no longer drives with a heavy feel. It will cost you an additional $4,000 to find out.
It’s about a fifty/fifty split in current sales between two wheel drive and four wheel drive and Toyota expects that to continue.
With ride and handling it is no sports car but then again it is a SUV which sits tall on the road and carries a fair bit of weight. To its advantage it sits on a car platform, is has new suspension particularly in the rear and if you get the four wheel drive you get Dynamic Torque Control which helps distribute the power between front and rear wheels.
It’s smooth, competent, quiet and functional
Standard features include 7 airbags, rear parking sensors and cruise control
The middle model, the GXL gets three-zone climate-control air conditioning, leather and heated front seats
The top of the range Grande gets, among other things, a lot of safety features; Active Cruise Control, Pre-Crash System, Lane Departure Alert and Blind Spot Monitoring. It also has cooling for the front seats. I like that. If leather seats get hot from the sun, they seem to stay hot for a long time.
The 3.5 litre V6 engine with 201 KW is powerful without aggressive performance but it is helped with an automatic transmission that now has 6 speeds.
An audio interview discussing the Kluger with Brent Davison from the Newcastle Herald and the Illawarra Mercury can be found at Link

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