Toyota has achieved a welcome engineering double for its seven-seat Kluger SUV range with the introduction of significant advances that deliver increased performance at the same time as better fuel economy.
The upgraded Kluger also benefits from styling enhancements across the range and impressive new grade-specific features that enhance safety and convenience.
Drivers will appreciate brisker acceleration and overtaking performance from the addition of direct-injection technology for Kluger’s powerful 3.5-litre V6 engine, eliciting 17kW more power (218kW) and 13Nm of additional torque (350Nm).
While the new technology increases engine output, it also delivers greater fuel-efficiency which is enhanced by a new automatic transmission that offers eight ratios compared with the superseded model’s six gears.
The new engine-transmission combination is designed to help owners save money at the petrol pump and travel further on each tank with fuel consumption falling to single figures for the first time – improvements ranging from 8.8 per cent to more than 10 per cent1.
On the official combined cycle, 2WD Kluger uses just 9.1 litres/100km1 for the GX and mid-spec GXL grades and 9.3 litres/100km1 for top-of-the-range Grande while all AWD variants are rated at 9.5 litres/100km1.
These improved economy figures improve the driving range by up to 85km (2WD) based on the theoretical maximum from the 72-litre petrol tank. Emissions are similarly lower.
Styling updates include refreshed front and rear masks with a new grille and LED taillights, newly designed grade-specific alloy wheels and more upmarket interiors that feature enhanced quality and premium materials.
Prized features such as satellite navigation2 have been introduced to the GXL while the Grande’s suite of safety features has been expanded.
Kluger is one of Australia’s most popular SUVs with more than 140,000 sales since the first-generation model arrived in 2003. Since 2008, it has topped 10,000 sales a year, achieving annual average sales of almost 12,700 vehicles.
Toyota Australia’s executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the latest Kluger enhancements will be welcomed by both drivers and their passengers.
“The latest updates to Kluger deliver more of everything appreciated by families – increased performance for more relaxed driving, better fuel economy to stretch the travel budget, modern exterior and interior treatments, welcome additional features and remarkable overall value,” Mr Cramb said.
On GX variants, a price increase of just $1,360 is outweighed by the combined value of the more powerful engine, new transmission, better fuel economy and styling advances.
GXL variants gain the most in terms of added specification with an 8-inch audio screen, satellite navigation, digital radio (DAB+)3 and a power back door with the convenience of an independently operated glass hatch. A price increase of $2,360 is more than justified by this substantial package of premium features, along with the range-wide updates.
Grande – already equipped with comprehensive safety features including a pre-collision safety system with autonomous emergency braking – takes visibility and safety to new heights.
A new panoramic view monitor for Grande uses four cameras (front, rear and in the side mirrors) to display a 360-degree bird’s-eye view of the vehicle surroundings when driving at low speeds – especially useful for negotiating tight parking spots.
The top model also gains rear cross-traffic alert4, a system to aid reversing out of a parking space. It uses the same radar sensors as the blind-spot monitor system4 to alert the driver to approaching vehicles which may not be visible in either the reversing camera or door mirrors. When approaching vehicles are detected, the system flashes icons in the door mirrors, sounds a warning buzzer and indicates the direction from which the detected vehicle is approaching.
Grande’s lane departure alert4 is now supplemented with steering control and sway warning. If the system judges the vehicle is about to move out of its lane and the driver does not respond sufficiently to a warning buzzer and light, it will apply gentle steering force to assist the driver to bring the vehicle back on course. The system has also been advanced so it can warn the driver if it detects swaying, which may occur due to driver drowsiness, inattention or distraction. It does this by combining two pieces of information – data from the camera about the vehicle’s position within the lane, and data on the driver’s steering operations.
The substantially expanded equipment list and other upgrades are priced at just $1,860 on Grande. The step from 2WD to AWD is $4,000 on GX and GXL and $3,981 on Grande (the only variants impacted by the luxury-car tax).
Kluger’s Dynamic Torque Control AWD helps maximise traction, cornering stability and driver control while also saving fuel. The compact, lightweight system uses information on vehicle speed, yaw rate and steering and throttle angles to control torque distribution automatically between the front and rear axles. It saves fuel by driving only the front wheels when the vehicle is cruising, switching to AWD when needed via an electromagnetically controlled coupling in the rear differential housing. Pre-torque control can direct 10 per cent of the available torque to the rear wheels as soon as the driver starts to turn the steering wheel. Yaw-rate feedback control can feed additional torque to the rear wheels every six milliseconds, ensuring an ideal torque split – up to a maximum of 50 per cent.
Standard Kluger equipment includes seven airbags, reversing camera, reverse-parking sensors, anti-skid brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution, stability and traction control, and hill-start assist control.
Every Kluger is also fitted with air-conditioning, cruise control, electric power steering, six-speaker display audio with Toyota Link5 connected mobility, front foglamps, privacy glass and power-adjustable exterior mirrors.
GXL variants are distinguished by three-zone climate-control air-conditioning, keyless entry and ignition, roof rails, premium steering wheel and shift knob, and leather-accented seats with heated front seats and a 12-way power-adjustable driver’s seat.
Additional premium Grande features include active cruise control, blind spot monitor, auto high beam, tilt-and-slide moonroof, ventilated front seats with two-position memory for the driver’s seat, nine-inch rear-seat entertainment system with Blu-ray player, heated exterior mirrors with memory function and puddle lamps, electro-chromatic interior mirror, second-row retractable sunshades and a back-guide monitor for the reversing camera.
The Kluger range is covered by Toyota Service Advantage capped-price servicing at $180 per service6.