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The 2 new Toyota SUVs coming to South Africa this year

South Africa is getting two new SUVs from Toyota this year, and they couldn’t be more different.

On the one hand, there’s the next-gen Prado, whose launch is right around the corner and is poised to become a big player in the luxury 4×4 segment.

On the other side of the spectrum, the carmaker recently revealed the new Urban Cruiser Taisor, which will become the brand’s new entry-level crossover when it is expected to touch down later this year.

Toyota Prado

The new Toyota Prado is landing in South Africa this April, rocking a completely new design meant to evoke a more retro 4×4 aesthetic.

Part of the Land Cruiser family, the Prado is set to retain its place as one of the top dogs in the premium off-roader segment along with units like the Ford Everest and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Prices for the current generation range from R1,168,400 to R1,376,400, so expect the new models to be priced slightly higher than these figures.

The prestigious role that the Prado has in the Toyota catalogue also means that a number of “First Edition” models will be available at launch with unique styling and features, though the carmaker has not disclosed how many are being brought over.

Built on the same platform as the larger Land Cruiser 300, the next-gen Prado boasts an improved chassis and suspension, and a new electronic steering system replacing the old hydraulic one.

Powering the package is the brand’s 2.8-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged diesel plant with 150kW and 500Nm, which connects to a permanent four-wheel-drive layout through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Other nice-to-haves on the premium vehicle include a rear and central diff lock, a new Tow/Haul driving mode, downhill assist, crawl control (off-road cruise control), a 360-degree camera, and an interior with items like tri-zone climate control, heated and ventilated leather seats, and two 12.3-inch displays.

Toyota Urban Cruiser Taisor

In stark contrast to the high-end Prado, South Africa will also be getting a new affordable crossover – the Urban Cruiser Taisor.

This is not what the car will be called when it arrives here, however, as the automaker is currently exploring an alternative naming scheme for our market.

Originating in India, the Taisor is Toyota’s long-anticipated answer to the Suzuki Fronx, its new entry-level SUV based on the Baleno hatchback.

The Baleno is the architectural twin of the Toyota Starlet, so it seemed inevitable that Toyota would end up replicating the Fronx using its own hatchback as the base.

Adding to this is the fact that the Toyota Urban Cruiser now starts at R342,500, so a more affordable crossover that falls under the R300,000 mark is an important move for South Africa’s biggest carmaker to maintain its appeal across the price spectrum.

The Taisor is expected to be all but identical to the Fronx in terms of equipment, but will likely cost a little bit more than its half-sibling’s R288,900, as has been the case with other Toyota-Suzuki partnerships.

Considering that the Fronx, Baleno, and Starlet all use the same 1.5-litre petrol engine with 77kW and 138Nm, it’s also a good bet that the Taisor will ship with this drivetrain when it arrives in the near future.

Toyota also confirmed that the local Taisor will ship with luxuries including a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as automatic climate control.

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