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BabyDrive Verdict

As the name suggests, everything about the Toyota Kluger Grande we drove is SUPER-SIZED! Including the cup holders!! It is an enormous vehicle that feels unwieldy and inflated like it has severe water retention!! It’s more swollen than my legs after my caesarean!!

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Everything is enormous, the seats, the glove box, the space, it is just a really BIG car with ample everything! In terms of a BabyDrive I feel like they have covered nearly everything!!

It’s just not very comfortable!! I feel like I was bouncing around on top of the seats rather than sitting in them. On paper and in reality it has EVERYTHING a BabyDrive could possibly ask for but it’s like I’m bouncing around on a space hopper!

Storage in the Kluger was really good; it is ample in the front, with a shelf running around the dashboard that I LOVED!

It even had holes so you could pass a USB wire through to the sockets below for charging your phone and keeping the wire neat, tidy and out of the footwell. The front cup holders, central console storage box and glove box are all very generously sized but the door pockets I found shallow and impractical and things I put in them rattled in the plastic.

With eight cup holders throughout the car (two for the second row of seats and four in the third row), everyone would stay well refreshed! I actually found when the third-row seats were folded down that having cup holders in the boot was so useful! When I got to the car with all my child, bags and tea, I had somewhere to put my hot tea that was safe while I dealt with child and bags in the knowledge that it wouldn’t spill or fall over.

When it came to the boot there was enough space for our Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle stroller and three shopping bags! This is the first seven-seater SUV that I have found big enough to hold the Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle in the boot! Let alone with shopping too!

The Kluger could be a family five-seater car with an enormous boot, large enough for a really big dog. Or a seven-seater with some sensible boot space! With nothing else in the boot and all the seats up, seven bags fitted, which is very good.

The boot door has an extra window opening that I found a fantastic feature, it made popping a bag into the boot a simple thing rather than opening the full boot door.

The boot has a powered tailgate but it is REALLY slow to open and close and it beeped a warning alarm the whole way up and down so you would definitely not open it while your Bub was asleep!!

Surprisingly the other doors and the windows were quiet and you could use them without disturbing a sleeping baby!

There were plenty of other baby-waking and driver-harassing beeps in the Kluger!! The rear parking sensors could not be muted but the front ones could if you are quick enough!! The mute option only appears on the screen for a second and if you don’t catch it in time then you have to put up with the loud beeping!

The Kluger does not have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto which is crazy for a $70,000 family car! I would definitely expect it for this price.

The road and engine noise is quite good for a car of this size but it grunts like a teenager when accelerating uphill.

There are seven seats in the Kluger; the two in the rear are very spacious and you could put two teenagers back there! The third-row seats were actually the most comfortable in the car!! Very spacious and supporting.

The second row had ISO Fix in the two outer seats and top tether for all three seats. There was just enough room for three child seats to fit. I fit two rear-facing ones on the outside seats; the Mountain Buggy Protect infant capsule and the Infasecure Kompressor 4, and the Infasecure Foldaway booster in between. Installation was relatively simple, however the black leather seat surfaces were a problem. They are very flat, I think to allow for three child seats across, but this meant the child seats slid around even though they were anchored correctly. My daughter definitely protested about this and I had to drive in a way that compensated for it.

The second-row seats slide forward, allowing enough room to get through to the third-row seats so you don’t have to remove any second-row child seats, which is BRILLIANT!

Legroom was very good throughout the Kluger and even in the back, for thoe in the third row.

The front seats are also slippery! It’s not that they are uncomfortable. They adjust in a million ways with electric controls at the side of the seat but I just never found an ideal position during the whole week I was driving it! I felt I was bouncing around on top of the seats, rather than in them and with no support.

Serious BabyDrive points are won for the inbuilt window shades in the rear doors as well as the tinted glass. Combined these are fantastic for keeping little ones shaded from the Australian sun!

There are air conditioning vents throughout the Kluger and the rear passengers have individual controls on them, as well as master controls on the dashboard for the driver to set them. This is a FANTASTIC BabyDrive feature, so you can keep each of your little passengers happy, in theory!!
In reality, I did find there was too much custom ability on the dashboard, a spattering of different buttons, dials and digital displays. As a Mum I just find I need simplicity, as there is sooo much else to deal with.

For me, the seats and the size of the car were the downsides. The Kluger pitched and rolled, causing the people on board to be bobbing about.

The windows were rounded at the corners and it had a fish-eye lens effect looking out of them that felt like tunnel vision. I think this with the bobbing motion while driving made all passengers feel quite travel sick.

The Kluger model we drove has a 360-degree view camera! In theory, this is great because you can check all around you before moving off. In reality, as a mum, you do not have time to be selecting camera views and zooming in etc. Mum life is too demanding of your time. You need to be able to see that the coast is clear and drive off, which is another problem with the Kluger and I am sure why they have the 360-degree camera! Visibility is shocking! I really struggled to know the extremities of the Kluger; it seemed that where I could see the end of the vehicle there was then 30cm of bulbous car bodywork beyond it!

BabyDrive Indepth

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