We had on test the Toyota Kluger GX AWD SUV model which is the range entry version.
Toyota Kluger has been one of the most popular 7 seat SUV for families since it was introduced in 2014, it was upgraded in 2017 and some safety improvements have seen it keep at the peak of the segment.
It has been hugely successful and the reason is simply that it works for the family.
In what is becoming a new sales trend, the Kluger is becoming more popular as a 2WD as well as its traditional AWD roots.
Buyers are looking for the benefits of the SUV body style but don’t necessarily want or need the benefits of AWD.
The Kluger looks good for a family wagon, drives with almost car like handling and ride, has an abundance of standard comfort and safety features and sells in droves for Toyota.
The Kluger has an upright bold look with a high grill and sleek lights and bonnet.
The Kluger had LED daytime running lights, auto dimming headlights, LED taillights and 18″ alloys.
Without having an abundance is styling, the Kluger manages to exude a distinctive presence.
The Kluger is like a Tardis inside. It seems to have way more space than it looks like form the outside.
The fabric seats are reasonably comfortable but lack adjustable lumbar support.
They do give you enough slide for taller drivers and a height and reach adjustable steering wheel.
The dash is easy to read and simple to navigate. The centre stack houses the infotainment system that again is easy to read and use.
Unlike a lot of the Toyota systems this looks integrated in to the dash.
It also does look a little plastic though. Bluetooth connection is a breeze. Unfortunately there is no satellite navigation system.
For a fairly large SUV there is good visibility for the driver with good reversing camera, large external rear view mirrors and decent internal mirror.
Even for taller drivers there is ample head and shoulder room.
The second row of seats are again comfortable, even for three.
With the flat floor there is room for the middle passenger feet as well. With the driver’s seat fully back there is enough room for me to sit behind myself in comfort.
The third row of seats is amongst the best in class and both rear rows from air-conditioning vents.
In line with the perfect SUV theory there are cup holders and storage bins everywhere.
The centre console is probably the biggest and best designed in any vehicle. It serves as a great arm rest and is cavernous as well as practical.
The list of standard features on the GX is impressive even though it is the entry level model.
It includes six-speaker 6.1″ display audio with Toyota Link connected mobility, illuminated vanity mirrors, fog lamps, privacy glass, power-adjustable mirrors, and keyless entry/ignition.
Drive and Engine
Toyota has persisted with the V6 petrol engine. The 3.5L V6 petrol engine produces 218kW/350Nm and has an AWD system and eight-speed transmission.
Even though the Kluger 2WD sales are increasing it at heart is an AWD SUV and that is its roots I guess you could say.
It is really an AWD SUV for forest trails, down to the snow for a weekend, some sand driving and towing the Jet Ski.
The AWD system in the Kluger is the Dynamic Torque Control AWD.
It really is a safety feature as much as anything.
It saves fuel by driving only the front wheels when the vehicle is cruising, switching to AWD when needed ensuring an ideal torque split – up to a maximum of 50%.
The 2017 upgrade has seen the safety of the GX improved. The Kluger has an ANCAP 5 Star safety rating.
Toyota Safety Sense includes Pre-Collision Safety System with Pedestrian Detection, Active Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert and Automatic High Beam
Standard features include seven airbags, reversing camera, reverse-parking sensors, Brake Assist and Electronic Brake-force Distribution.
- Internal space
- Fit for purpose
Not So Good Bits:
- Needs diesel engine
- Lack of character
- Manual steering wheel adjustment
So to sum up the Toyota Kluger GX. It could be described as the perfect family wagon. It does everything with a minimum of fuss, isn’t fazed by anything in its daily life and transports the family in comfort and safety.
It is limited in some safety and comfort features and lacks sat-nav.
For the family it isn’t too expensive. It is however a little boring and still is a bit heavier on fuel than alternative diesel engine SUV’s.
However Toyota continue to sell heaps of the Kluger but not so many of the GX version.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Toyota Kluger GX AWD SUV
- Engine: 3.5L V6 Petrol 218kW/350Nm
- Transmission: Eight-speed auto (constant AWD)
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Japan
- Warranty: 3yrs/100,000km
- Price: from $53,266 RDAP