In 2003, Toyota introduced the Kluger to Australians and it was met with great success. Fast-forward to 2014, and the third generation model is here with its significantly different exterior and interior design.
The 2014 Toyota Kluger is a bigger, tougher looking model and is available in three grades including the GX, GXL, and Grande. Depending on your needs you can also choose two-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive for each grade.
All grades come with 7 seats, alloy wheels, daytime running lamps, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, Hill-start Assist Control, Downhill Assist Control, stability control and traction control. As a result of the included safety features, it achieves a 5 Star ANCAP safety rating.
Our review model, the 2WD Grande, we get to experience some extra features including larger 19” alloy wheels, 9” rear Blu-Ray player, moon-roof, large 8” touchscreen display for navigation, and multimedia controls. There’s also a digital radio tuner in the Grande.
Pricing for the Toyota Klugar starts at the mid-$40,000 mark for the 2WD GX model, and our top of the range 2WD Grande review model is priced in the high-$60,000 range.
Powering the new Kluger is a 3.5 litre V6 petrol engine that produces 201kW of power and 337Nm of torque. This enables it to have a braked towing capacity of 2000kg, and 700kg unbraked. Enough for the big family adventure during school holidays.
The new design Kluger transforms it from just a family SUV, to something that looks and feels aggressive. This is most apparent when looking at it from the front.
From other angles, the SUV isn’t shy to show its size. The length, width and height are definitely felt. Thankfully there are sensors and systems to help you park, making the bigger dimensions not a hassle.
On the inside, there are a great deal of creature comforts in the Grande model with leather accented trim, heated and ventilated front seats.
How does it feel on the road?
Driving the 2014 Toyota Kluger on the road is easy stuff, even for a large feeling SUV.
This is because of the inclusion of its safety and driver assistance systems like the ones we’ve already mentioned, plus others like electric power steering, radar cruise control, lane departure assist and blind spot monitoring.
Toyota have also included in the Grande model auto-high beam assist, which works well when driving out of the city and in darker areas. Gone are the days that you need to hover your hand over the high-beam stalk to turn them off incase a car comes towards you.
Acceleration in the Kluger is smooth, yet enough to allow you to put the power down when you need to. Overtaking on the highway, or pulling away from the traffic lights will have all the power you need to get it done.
Fuel economy has been improved with a figure of 10.2 litres per 100km for the 2WD model we tested, and a stated 10.6 litres per 100km for AWD models. From the 72 litre tank, you should be able to get close to 700km per tank.
Toyota has done a great job on making this now large SUV feel like something other than a tank on the road. Your passengers will also thank you for the better shoulder, hip and access in the second and third row seats.
Toyota designed the Kluger to be practical. In Australia, you will find families not only just doing school runs, travelling to sport matches and then an occasional holiday. The reality is that Mum is also running a small catering business and Dad and his mates head out on a Sunday to fish.
So not only do you need ample space for the kids, but everything else the family does needs to be accommodated and the Kluger is able to do all of it.
The second and third rows of seats are incredibly flexible with a 60/40 split in the second row, 50/50 split in the rear, adjustable recline, heated and cool seats, movable second row seats, and all of it can be folded flat if required.
Drink holders in and around the car are plentiful, and the deep center console is large enough to store 6 x 1.25 litre soft drink bottles. Now that’s a large center console!
Plus there are a range of Toyota accessories like roof racks to give you additional storage for those long road trips.
Pricing for the 2014 Toyota Kluger has shifted slightly with the GX and GXL reducing their drive away price and the Grande receiving a slight increase but offers $7,000 of extra value than before.
As the SUV market is quite competitive, pricing is an important factor. If you’re after the size alone, the entry level Kluger in the mid-$40,000 price range is a great starting price and provides quite a lot of value and technology.
If technology, and luxury are a must, the Grande won’t disappoint you at its price point. You would have to make a significant price jump to find a similar sized European SUV.
Toyota also includes the Toyota Service Advantage meaning that your first six scheduled services will only cost you $170 each for the first three years or 60,000km.
The warranty for the Toyota Kluger is a 3 Year/100,000km warranty and if you wish, you can extend it by 1, 2 or 3 years with 100,000km or 150,000km options.
It looks different, feels different and in the end Toyota has done a great job to modernise the Kluger and to make it feel more luxurious.
The inclusion of comfort features like heated and cooled seats; automatic high beam, electric power steering and more make this SUV feel more relevant and practical on our roads today.
Whilst some may not like the new look, in our road test, the majority of our passengers and passersby appreciated the more aggressive and more prominent feel it has.
Even if the Kluger isn’t on your shopping list, it is worthwhile coming in and experiencing the new 2014 Toyota Kluger for yourself to see just how far this model has come.
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