One of the best-selling large SUVs last year, the months-long waiting list for a 2022 Toyota Kluger suggests it's still a firm favourite. So what makes the Kluger stand out from the crowd?
And should it be on your test drive shortlist? Here we take a look at this large SUV's key features, the various options available and what other vehicles you may wish to consider if you decide the Kluger doesn't quite tick all the right boxes.
This is a large, 7-seater SUV, that's perfect for bigger families or drivers who frequently have to carry several passengers. The Kluger is available in a hybrid form (using a combination of electric power and petrol), that uses just 5.6l/100km of fuel. It's also got an impressive suite of Toyota Safety Sense autonomous driver safety features, as well as plenty of physical safety features.
Drivers can opt for one of three different specifications - the GX, the GXL and the Grande.
Exterior and Interior
The Kluger is primarily intended as a dependable people and luggage transporter that will take you, your family and a significant amount of kit wherever needed for a relatively low outlay (particularly if you select the hybrid option). The exterior fits this image - it's conventional, conservative and unlikely to cause offence. Features such as rear privacy glass, LED headlamps (projector versions in the Grande) and a shark's fin antennae add interest and functionality.
Inside, there's plenty of space and the cabin is reasonably well laid out. Materials are practical rather than luxurious (although Grande drivers can benefit from indoor ambient lighting, wood effect inlay and an ambient-lit instrument panel. Second and third-row passengers benefit from A/C strips above the windows, creating a pleasant environment in the rear.
For an additional outlay, drivers can also opt for a rear-seat entertainment package, that further improves the passenger experience.
60/40 split seats in the second and third rows provide added storage capacity and flexibility. The second-row seats also slide forward or back, further freeing up space for storage if necessary.
The boot has a volume of 332l when all the seats are in use.
Overall, the interior is functional, spacious and well-equipped.
Drivers can choose between a 3.5l V-6 petrol engine (218kW/350Nm torque) or a 2.5l I4 hybrid engine (142Kw/242Nm of torque). The petrol engine is available in 2WD or AWD formats; the hybrid is available in AWD format only. Petrol engines are teamed with an 8-speed automatic transmission; hybrid engines have a CVT set-up.
Fuel efficiency is around 8.1l/100km for the petrol engine and 5.1l for the hybrid.
Reviewers rave about the Kluger's driving experience, calling it "luxurious" and "perky". If you want an SUV that handles beautifully, holds the road and is also capable of towing something fairly beefy in its wake (up to 2000kg), you can't do much better than the Kluger. That said, if towing plays a large role in your driving, check out the Ford Everest, which has a maximum towing capacity of 3100kg.
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Tech is similar in standard to most others in the class, but probably not exceptional. The Kluger has an 8" infotainment screen (Apple Carplay and Android Auto compliant). Other features include a powered tailgate and head-up display (only on the Grande), keyless start and remote entry (all models) and the option of a JBL 11 speaker sound system (Grande only).
If you want tech, it's mostly there, but you'll need to usually opt for the Grande to enjoy everything that Toyota has to offer.
ANCAP 5-star safety rated, the Kluger benefits from Toyota's Safety Sense suite of autonomous driver and safety features, as well as a good range of physical safety features.
Toyota is widely recognised as having one of the best autonomous safety suites on the market, so if safety is a priority for you, the Kluger is a good option.
An entry-level Kluger costs around $47,650 for a GX,2WD variant, up to $75,700 for the Grande Hybrid AWD.
Pros and Cons
- Great driving experience
- Fuel-efficient, hybrid option available
- Plenty of space
- Not the most exciting vehicle out there.
- You could get more tech features for a lower price if you opted for something like a Sorento.
As you might expect from the best-selling vehicle manufacturer in Australia, Toyota's Kluger is safe, spacious, handles well and has a good reputation for reliability. If you need a family-orientated vehicle that you can depend on to get you from a to b, you really can't go wrong with the Kluger.
The hybrid option is also appealing for larger families who want to reduce fuel costs as well as opt for a greener vehicle option.
Where it arguably falls down is in terms of value. The Kluger has many excellent features, but it's one of the more expensive options out there. Depending on what facets of an SUV are most important to you, it's possible to get a cheaper vehicle that will still provide everything you're looking for.
Other Options to Consider
Drive Car of the Year 2021 (Large SUV class), the Sorento features high-end tech and has a stylish, contemporary vibe. Featuring a 10.25" infotainment screen and remote smart parking assist, as well as quilted Nappa leather seats and customised Aussie handling, this is an attractive, versatile option that's ideal for drivers who value cutting-edge tech as well as plenty of visual appeal.
If you want a larger SUV that can tow a heavy load, the Everest should be on your wish list! Depending on the spec, it will tow up to 3100kg, safely and confidently. It's also designed with off-roading in mind. With a rugged, capable vibe, the Everest is suited to rural roads as well as capable of managing in an urban environment. There's also the option of a meaty, turbo-diesel engine that's cheaper to run than a petrol option.
If you're not going to use the third row very much (but still want 7-seater capability if necessary), consider the Outlander. This is a compact SUV that manages to squeeze a third row in. With a starting price of just $41,490 (drive away), it's way below the entry-level price of the Kluger ($47,650). You're not comparing like with like here, but for budget-minded drivers, the Outlander could deliver what's needed.