The Toyota Prado is a big seven-seater that I haven’t driven since late 2017 when we used it to make our first BabyDrive video, which was a disaster and never made it to the website!! So I was keen to get in one again and this time make a video review for BabyDrive that does make it to the site!!
The LandCruiser Prado was exactly as I remembered, really large and with some fantastic BabyDrive features like the conversation mirror so you can keep an eye on the rear passengers without having to turn your head away from the road.
And the central console box is a huge Esky! Which I found this fantastic feature for keeping snacks and drinks cold on hot days when you’re out and about.
Overall I found the Prado quite impractical in many ways too, the third-row seats are quite difficult to put up and down, they are very heavy and the mechanism very stiff especially at 162cm I actually found them hard to reach.
I was disappointed for such a large car that there were only three top tethers and two ISOFix points, all in the second row, so I couldn’t install child seats in the third row! It always such a shame for large families needing to fit four or five child seats and that so many of these enormous seven-seaters don’t accommodate.
Fitting three child seats in the second-row was a bit of a squeeze too! I was surprised again for such a big car I expected three seats to fit easily but I couldn’t fit three big forward-facing child-seats in. Only two forward facing and a rear facing capsule. It was a much easier fit with just two child seats.
The ISOFix points are quite hidden under a large velcro flap that goes across the width of each seat base and I always worry that velcro will collect child crumbs and detritus and over time will look really scruffy.
The ISOFix points are concealed behind flaps of seat fabric, stuck down with velcro which for me is the weakest link in the whole car! I think over time the velcro will collect dust, fluff and food and will also easily get caught on clothes and ruin them.
Storage in the back of the Prado was good when only using five seats. It would hold 17 shopping bags or any type of stroller fitted with a good amount of shopping around it.
When using all seven seats the boot space was pretty impractical and there was only space for three shopping bags. No strollers fitted, not even the compact ones!
The boot floor was nice and flat, with a rubber mat, which would be easy for hosing clean and when only using five seats it is suitable for an emergency nappy change.
The boot of the Prado hinged/opened outward from one side like a barn door. On the VX model I reviewed, the top glass panel could be opened on its own as the spare wheel is stored under the vehicle, whereas on the other models the spare wheel is mounted on the boot door and the glass panel doesn't open. Models with the spare wheel on the back have a larger fuel tank.
I found that not having the wheel there on the VX made the door much lighter and easier to open and I liked the opening glass panel because if you reverse park into tight space you can still access the boot.
I have concerns over the large side-opening hinged door because it is held in place by an arm that is at toddler height and has the strut that locks it in place has a really simple twist operation, so on any kind of incline that heavy door could cause a bit of damage to an inquisitive child!
The media screen is very milky so when you are using the reversing camera it’s actually quite hard to see properly.
The media system does not have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto and feels outdated to use.
The dash and central console is a spattering of buttons which I actually found quite confusing, it feels as if a new button has just been added each time a new technology is installed rather than being designed to be there from the beginning.
The Prado does seem to pitch and roll a bit when driving around suburban and town roads and feels like it would be more at home on corrugated outback tracks than suburban streets.
The central console Esky is a fantastic storage feature, however storage in the rest of the Prado is not as well thought out, the covered hole below the media screen would be good for storing your phone but it has a slippery surface and my phone just slid around in there making a scraping noise, all the time.
In the third row, there is a cup holder big enough to hold my large refillable water bottle, it feels crazy in a car of this size that none of the door pockets in the front are big enough.