I vacationed in Costa Rica for a week and reserved a Toyota Fortuner. National Car Rental gave me an "upgrade" to a Land Cruiser Prado. Here are my impressions after living with it for a week.
The Land Cruiser Prado has the same frame and sheetmetal as the US Lexus GX460, though in the rental's base TX trim it is devoid of luxury equipment.
The engine is a 3.0L 1KD-FTV turbodiesel 4-banger with direct injection, making 161 hp @ 3400 rpm and 295 lb-ft @ 1600-2800 rpm. Redline is 4500 rpm. It's mated to the familiar A750F 5-spd auto shared with the 2nd gen Taco. Shift gate has a manual +/- position.
There's a full-time 4WD transfer case with center diff, which can be locked with a button on the center console. The 4WD rotary knob has just two positions, 4Hi and 4Lo. Shifting to 4Lo requires the same procedure as the Taco: come to a stop and put the shifter in Neutral. There's downhill assist control, but at least at the TX trim level, no other off-road features like rear locker, A-Trac, crawl control, spotting cameras, etc.
As can be expected, the engine felt strained hauling the Prado's 4900 lb curb weight up steep mountain road enroute to the 8900-ft Poas volcano. Coming down was less comfortable - the lack of an intake throttle body meant there was almost no engine braking. Thankfully the wheel brakes are quite beefy and never overheated, though the pedal feel is about as bad as the Taco TRD OR's, not surprising since it uses a similar electric assist system.
After 277 km of driving, I topped up the tank with 41L of diesel, which works out to 14.9 L/100km or 16 mpg, about what my Tacoma gets in rush hour driving. In flat highway driving, the vehicle supposedly delivers 28 mpg according to Toyota Australia's site, but there was no opportunity for me to test this in Costa Rica.
Unlike in North America, there Toyota installs "real" AT tires from the factory - Kumho Road Venture SAT in P265/65-17. It's a highly-rated tire on TireRack, with 8.39/10 average score amongst Toyota truck and SUV drivers: http://www.tirerack.com/survey/Surve...irePageLocQty=