Toyota Kluger Review
The comprehensive Toyota Kluger review
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|Cars Guide||69%||"Twenty kilograms short of two tons of American-built iron equipped with an unstressed V6, it's big and straightforward."||Read more|
|WhichCar||90%||"It is smooth and quiet to drive, and its comfortable cabin has thoughtful storage touches and deeply cushioned seats. "||Read more|
|Cars Guide||70%||"The Kluger will serve you and your family well in a solid and unspectacular way. Given most of us like that in our cars, it's easy to see why it's a hit."||Read more|
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How does the Toyota Kluger compare with its peers?
The complete Toyota Kluger review
Toyota Kluger Pricing
The Toyota Kluger is available in three variants – GX, GXL and the top-of-the-line Grande. Prices vary depending on where you live, but the figures listed in the table below are the driveaway prices for the Sydney 2000 postcode as of 7 March 2019.
OverviewThe Toyota Kluger has long been one of the stand-out sales performers in the Japanese manufacturer's Australian line-up. A seven-seater family SUV designed with practicality in mind, the Kluger boasts a spacious cabin and the sort of reliable performance for which Toyota is known.
There's a powerful V6 engine under the bonnet and the interior fit and finish quality is excellent. 2WD and 4WD variants are available and the Kluger does an admirable job as a family wagon for school runs, shopping trips, weekend sport and the like.
However, the Kluger does have its shortcomings. That V6 can be a little thirsty, the infotainment system is starting to show its age and it's not the cheapest family SUV going around.
And while the Kluger is still an impressive package and continues to sell well, it's facing increasing competition from the likes of the Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento and Mazda CX-9.
So is the Toyota Kluger the right family SUV for you and your crew? Let's take a closer look at what some of Australia's leading motoring journalists have had to say.
As you'd expect from a Toyota seven-seater SUV, there's nothing particularly outlandish about the Kluger's design and there's nothing wrong with that. The first thing that caught the eye of most reviewers was the sheer size of the Kluger. In order to offer plenty of space inside, this SUV has pretty sizeable dimensions. It's a tall, wide vehicle and one you climb up (rather than step down) into.
The other stand-out feature is the masculine front end, which features a unique grille that adds a point of interest to an otherwise conservative design. Alloy wheels are fitted as standard and there are nine paint colour options available.
Engine and performance
The Kluger's 3.5L V6 generates 218kW of power and 350Nm of torque. You can choose between 2WD and AWD models, but all feature the same eight-speed automatic transmission. If you want a manual, you'll need to look elsewhere. There also aren't any diesel models available, so petrol is the only option.
Official combined fuel consumption figures range from 9.1–9.5L/100km, depending on the model you choose and whether you go for 2WD or AWD. However, in real-world driving, the reviewers returned figures of above 13L/100km, with fuel efficiency regularly singled out as one of the Kluger's weak spots.
That said, the inclusion of a large, 72L fuel tank means you'll still be able to fit in a fair bit of driving between trips to the servo. The V6 is also a quiet and smooth performer that has no trouble getting you off the line and moving this circa-two-tonne SUV from A to B.
Finally, the Kluger's braked towing capacity is capped at 2,000kg.
|Engine||3.5L V6 petrol engine||3.5L V6 petrol engine|
|Maximum power||218kW @ 6,600rpm||218kW @ 6,600rpm|
|Maximum torque||350Nm @ 4,700rpm||350Nm @ 4,700rpm|
|Transmission||8-speed automatic transmission||8-speed automatic transmission|
|Fuel economy||9.1L/100km (GX & GXL), 9.3L/100km (Grande)||9.5L/100km|
|Fuel capacity||72 litres||72 litres|
Exhilarating and engaging handling is hardly something you'd expect from a seven-seat SUV and that's the case with the Kluger. Remember, this is a big vehicle in terms of height as well as weight, so it's hardly going to handle like a hot hatch.
That said, the reviewers didn't find any major faults with the Kluger's on-road performance. The ride on the long-travel suspension is impressively smooth and comfortable. While the reviewers did experience body roll in and out of corners, it wasn't any more than you'd expect from a car of this size. The key is to drive the Kluger the way it's meant to be driven, rather than trying to push it towards the edge of its limits.
One reviewer also reported that the steering response was improved slightly on the Grande's 19-inch tyres (GX and GXL sit on 18-inch rubber) but can slightly diminish the ride quality. And if you fancy heading away from the blacktop, AWD versions of the Kluger are suited to some off-bitumen driving but not heavy-duty off-road work.
When you climb up and into the Kluger's driving seat you're greeted with a comfortable and well-appointed cabin. While the design is quite conservative, everything you need is included, the layout makes perfect sense and the finish is to a high standard.
The reviewers made special note of just how high the seating position in the Kluger is, offering excellent vision to the front and side. Rear vision isn't great, but all variants come with a rear-view camera. The front seats in the Kluger also impressed the reviewers with their comfort levels and spaciousness, making this row quite a pleasant place to be for long-distance touring.
The boxy outer shell of the Kluger means there's a lot space to work with inside. The seven seats are split across three rows and the middle row also has ample room for a couple of kids or adults to travel in comfort. But space is a little harder to come by in the third row, with the seats there only really suited to smaller kids.
Clever storage solutions abound throughout the interior, headlined by the cavernous centre console. With a 24L capacity, this storage bin has heaps of room and will surely get plenty of use on long road trips. Each row of seating gets cupholders (there are eight in total) and the reviewers were impressed with the shelf on the dashboard, which is a very useful spot for storing phones and other odds and ends.
Total storage space in the Kluger depends on your seating arrangements. With the third row of seats in use, there's only 195 litres of capacity, but this rises to 529 litres when you fold them away. And with the middle row also down, you'll have a huge 1,117 litres of space to work with.
Entertainment and safety features
One area where the Kluger came in for criticism from the reviewers was for its infotainment system, which is accessed via a 6.1-inch screen in GX or an 8-inch screen in GXL and Grande. This dated system is well and truly showing its age and lacks the user-friendliness of more modern systems in the Kluger's rivals. There's even a CD player on all models, which an increasingly rare inclusion on most new cars, while the lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support is a definite pain.
The good news is the Kluger is no longer dated when it comes to safety tech. There are plenty of electronic bells and whistles to keep you out of trouble on the road, including Lane Departure Alert (very handy in a big car), Blind Spot Monitor and Brake Assist. A reversing camera and rear parking sensors are included on all three models, while the Grande also gets a four-camera panoramic view monitor and front parking sensors.
|60:40 split second- and third-row seats||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Driver and front passenger heated seats||No||Yes||No|
|Driver and front passenger heated and ventilated seats||No||No||Yes|
|Active Cruise Control (ACC)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Automatic rain sensing wipers||No||Yes||Yes|
|Manual air conditioning||Yes||No||No|
|3-zone automatic climate control air conditioning||No||Yes||Yes|
|9-inch rear seat entertainment with Blu-ray player||No||No||Yes|
|6.1-inch screen audio display with Toyota Link, iPod/USB connectivity, CD player, AM/FM tuner and AUX input for portable audio players||Yes||No||No|
|8-inch screen audio display with advanced Toyota Link, satellite navigation, CD player, iPod/USB connectivity, digital radio and AUX input for portable audio players||No||Yes||Yes|
|Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Brake Assist (BA) and Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Seven SRS airbags||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Pre-collision safety system with pedestrian detection||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Control and Sway Warning||Yes||Yes||Yes|
There are plenty of good reasons why the Kluger has featured at the pointy end of seven-seat SUV sales charts for several years. While it may not be the most glamorous or exciting drive, the Kluger does everything it's meant to do and does it well.
The V6 is a smooth and reliable performer, with the plush and comfortable ride in the Kluger drawing plenty of praise from reviewers. But it's in the practicality stakes where this big SUV really comes into its own. There's ample space inside for mum, dad and a few kids to travel in comfort, plus plenty of handy storage solutions for all the bits and bobs that accompany a family whenever they hit the road. And as you'd expect from Toyota, there's nothing out of place in the cabin and everything is finished to a high quality.
However, there are a few downsides, including the disappointing infotainment system and the high fuel consumption figures of the big V6. While Toyota has an impeccable reputation for reliability, the fact that it continues to offer a 3-year/100,000km warranty when most other manufacturers offer 5 or even 7 years of protection is another disadvantage.
But all things considered, the Kluger has plenty to offer and is well worth a look for anyone shopping for a seven-seat SUV. Make sure you test-drive it alongside the competition, especially the Hyundai Santa Fe, before deciding whether the Toyota Kluger is right for you.
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