IT’S been one of Australia’s favourite SUVs over the last decade. The 2019 Toyota Kluger Grande (AWD) is reliable, robust and yet still offers a classy look and feel that sets it apart from its competitors.
The Toyota Kluger Grande is the range topping variant for what’s best described as a family-sized SUV. It’s comfortable for big and small families alike, and without sounding too naff, it kind of feels unbreakable.
The capable 7-seater also screams soccer mum car, because you can pretty much guarantee that at every suburban sporting ground on any given weekend, you’ll find a bunch of kids jumping in and out of a Kluger, whatever the variant.
We reckon what sets the Kluger among the pigeons is the fact it’s not a minivan or people mover, it’s a proper fully fledged SUV, that just happens to be have a luxury feel and is family oriented, rather than say, off-road oriented.
Powered by a 3.5-litre V6 petrol motor that produces 218kW of power and 350Nm of torque, the 2019 Kluger Grande (AWD) has plenty of poke under the hood and plenty of pulling power if you have a trailer hitched, some 2,000kg towing capacity in fact.
Now while that’s not up there with the big boys, in terms of heavy hauling, it is more than adequate for your average 1200kg caravan or a trailer full of camping gear and a boot full of food and luggage.
Matched to an 8-speed automatic gear box the ride is smooth and relatively effortless. Toyota claims a combined fuel consumption of 9.5-litres/100km for the Kluger’s 72-litre fuel tank and these numbers seemed fairly accurate during our test period.
Unfortunately, there is no diesel variant, but to be honest, fuel efficiency from the petrol power plant is not horrible and you could certainly live with the V6 under the hood of the Kluger Gande.
On the road, the Kluger provided a great driving position and was relaxing to navigate in city traffic or on the open road. The leather seats were supportive, while the front seats offer heating and cooling for added comfort.
There was plenty of leg room in the middle row of seats as well, so much so, three large adults could sit comfortably for long journeys. As an added bonus, not only is there climate control for rear and middle seat passengers but there’s entertainment as well.
The 2019 Toyota Kluger Grande features a roof mounted 9-inch screen with a BluRay player just in case the scenery is boring, and it’s sure to keep the ankle biters entertained, should you need them to be ‘occupied’.
Two more-fold up/down seats are available in the rear, and offer pretty reasonable leg room. Not minivan or people mover kind of leg room obviously, but you get the point, they’re better than midget standard.
The technology in the infotainment system was functional and easy to use, but definitely feels a little dated, particularly when there’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. It’s a Toyota curse we know, at least in current models, but it is coming.
There is SatNav though, and the sound system is good, without being great. You’ll also find all the usual controls on the steering wheel. One of the standout features though is the sheer amount of storage space.
Aside from the 529-litre boot (with the third row down), there’s a large centre console, front dash storage shelf, storage pockets in the middle row, cup holders, door pockets, you name it.
Being a family car also means loads of safety tech, and the Kluger Grande features blind spot assist, lane keep assist, steering assist, and sway warning, which detects signs of driver fatigue.
The reversing camera is decent too and the Grande edition of the Kluger comes with 360-degree view. Our test vehicle was resplendent in Deep Red metallic paint, especially when paired with an elegant set of 19-inch wheels.
You and your family can of course choose a different shade for your 2019 Toyota Kluger Grande (AWD) including Eclipse Black, Crystal Pearl, Silver, Rustic Brown, Predawn Grey, Rainforest Green and Cosmos Blue.
Pricing for the Kluger Grande (AWD) starts from $69,990 driveway, depending on the options you choose. It’s pitted against one of its own in the Toyota LandCruiser Prado, the Mazda CX-7 and Hyundai’s Santa Fe Highlander.
It boasts a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty and comes with all the brand loyalty that a Toyota badge garners in Australia.
Our test vehicle was provided by Toyota Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Toyota Kluger Grande (AWD), contact your local Toyota dealer.