Thursday, October 21, 2021
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2021 Toyota Kluger GX (car review)

THE 2021 Toyota Kluger GX, in its two-wheel drive form, is a practical SUV that provides an elegant yet powerful on-road presence. This large SUV feels well rounded and family orientated, with a touch of sophistication and yet, it’s the base model.

Our front-wheel-drive test vehicle was powered by a 3.5-litre 6-cylinder petrol engine, paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission. It has a claimed fuel consumption of 8.7-litres/100km, and to be fair, that was pretty much on the money.

It’s fairly zippy too, picking up speed quickly and without lag. You can plant your right foot into the accelerator and tap into some 218kW of power and 350Nm of torque, in what is a genuinely fun car to drive.

Despite its big SUV dimensions, the 2021 Toyota Kluger GX has a real car like feel, with quick and response handling that feels well-grounded, with a soft-plush suspension set up that provides a comfortable family-focused driving experience.

We also noticed there is minimum body roll when compared to other large 2WD SUVs in this space (and even some 4WD offerings). The Kluger GX rolls around on Toyo Open Country A43 tyres fitted to 18-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels.

This package feels well-poised and handles on road conditions very comfortably, absorbing bumps and potholes. The seven-seater has a reasonable 2,000kg braked towing capacity (remember it’s not a LandCruiser).

Toyota’s pre-collision safety suite provides plenty of protection too, with pedestrian (night and day) and cyclist detection (day only), intersection turn assistance, emergency steer assist, road sign assist, active cruise control, lane trace assist and lane departure alert.

Additional safety features in the Kluger GX include blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, seven airbags, rear privacy glass and power windows.

All Kluger variants have been fitted with an 8.0-inch JBL colour touchscreen display, and the GX model comes fitted with a 6-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The touch screen has been neatly integrated into the console housing but feels a little small. The instrument cluster includes a 4.2-inch display in-between two analogue gauges that provides vehicle trip data, fuel consumption and distance travelled.

It feels quite dated to be honest, and a bit like it’s been carried over from the previous model. That aside, there’s a generous amount of space throughout the cabin, and you get a real feeling of enormity and comfort inside the Kluger.

This is great for a large family-focused SUV and will offer taller drivers plenty of room, without impacting passengers in the spacious second row. The rear seats have a 60:40 split in the second and third rows.

Cargo capacity is 241-litres with the third-row seats up; 552-litres with the third-row seats down; and 1,150-litres with the second-row seats down. These dimensions are marginally smaller than the Hyundai Palisade, which it competes against.

When it comes to exterior design, the Kluger GX, and the rest of the range, has really turned a corner, with exceptional new look styling, with LED daytime running lights, and an updated front grille. It looks sleek, but could probably be improved even further.

The 2021 Toyota Kluger GX is available in eight colours, including Crystal Pearl, Silver Storm (as tested), Graphite, Atomic Rush, Galena Blue, Liquorice Brown, Eclipse Black and Saturn Blue.

In its 2WD 3.5-litre petrol spec, it’s priced from just over $52,000 depending on paint choices, and comes with Toyota’s 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, and capped priced servicing for the same period.

You can build and price a new Kluger direct from Toyota via their website, but it’s also worth shopping around with dealerships to see if you can get a better offer. Alternatively, can take a look at a platform like PriceMyCar to get the best deal.

Our test vehicle was provided by Toyota Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Toyota Kluger GX, contact your local Toyota dealer.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Driving experience
8
Exterior styling
7.5
Interior look and feel
7.5
Technology and connectivity
7
Family friendliness
9
Value for money
8

SUMMARY

Pros – spacious interior is family friendly; good power delivery.
Cons – the 8.0-inch infotainment system is comparably small in size; analogue gauges feel dated.
Scott Gravolin
Scott Gravolin is an aspiring photographer and automotive reviewer, with a passion for performance cars and sports motorcycles. Scott loves riding his Kawasaki Ninja 1000, Scott has an absolute appreciation for Porsche with two of his all time favorites being the Porsche 911 GT3 RS and Porsche 918 Spyder. However he just can not leave out the old rally focussed Ford Escort RS Cosworth.

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