The big brother of the popular RAV4 has finally made its debut in the Australian market with a range of variants and hybrid options.
The 2021 Toyota Kluger is now on sale in Australia offering a healthy boost in safety features and fuel-efficient hybrid options across a wide price range.
Available in a choice of three variants known as GX, GXL and Grande, paired with a range of petrol and hybrid engines similar to its very popular RAV4 midsize SUV sibling.
Kicking off the range is the Kluger GX which is priced from $47,650 before on-road costs with the 3.5L V6 petrol engine making 218KW of power and 350Nm of torque.
That power is sent through an eight-speed automatic gearbox to either a front or all-wheel drive system, with all versions capable of pulling two tonnes braked.
Unlike the version sold in the United States, the Kluger Hybrid available in Australia can only be equipped with an all-wheel drive system. The drivetrain mates three electric motors – with two at the front and one at the rear – to a 2.5L four-cylinder petrol engine.
By itself, the petrol engine generates 142kW/242Nm with Toyota only quoting a combined power figure for the entire drivetrain at 184kW – which puts it closer to the grunt of the V6.
The hybrid option forgoes the eight-speed transmission for a continuously variable transmission, with a range of dedicated eco, sport and normal driving models.
Toyota says the Kluger Hybrid will drink just 5.6L/100km of 95 octane fuel, while the Kluger V6 uses cheaper 91 octane fuel but uses a lot more of it at 8.7L/100km for the front-wheel drive option or 8.8-8.9L/100km for the AWD model.
The seven-seat SUV has also benefited from a switch to the same TNGA-K platform as the RAV4, which has been commended by many for its driving dynamics.
Toyota says this new platform has made the Kluger a more comfortable SUV to drive every day and offers a good dynamic balance – which we’ll soon put to the test in our upcoming review.
Moving inside, the Kluger houses an eight-inch touchscreen in the centre with digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto all fitted as standard.
While other manufacturers are migrating almost all their controls to the touchscreen Toyota has kept buttons for the air conditioning and other functions in their own separate area.
Toyota says the Kluger has gained a slew of soft touch materials in its fourth-generation, with features such as a huge 15L centre console box and eight large cup holders dotted around the cabin likely to be a hit with parents.
Both the second and third-row are designed to fold at a 60:40 ratio, with the former now able to move 180mm fore and aft, an increase of 30mm over the outgoing Kluger.
Those in the third row now have an extra 20mm of width to move around in – but all those on board should be more comfortable due to a new seat design that is said to be more supportive.
Along with better driving dynamics, the new chassis has also opened up room in the boot with the space measuring 50mm longer and 13mm wider.
The end result is an extra 48L of storage, which adds to around 241L with all three rows up, 552L with the third row down or 1,150L when both the second and third row are down.
Starting out in the Kluger GX, the seven-seat SUV is equipped with cloth seats along and a 4.2-inch display in the instrument cluster that is capable of simple tasks such as phone calls and measuring fuel economy.
The middling Kluger GXL gains a few important improvements including a larger 7.0-inch display in the centre cluster, and satellite navigation in the centre touchscreen.
Buyers of this grade also receive a more push synthetic leather material on the seats with both heating and power-adjustability for those in the front.
Opting for the top-spec Kluger Grande builds on the above features but uses a higher quality, quilted leather material inside with a cooling function in the front seats – along with a 11-speaker JBL premium sound system.
While it’s yet to be crash-tested by our local ANCAP safety authority, the Kluger has fitted a number of new features that bring it into line with modern safety standards.
These include a more advanced AEB system that can detect pedestrians in either day or night, while cyclists are only rated for the daytime.
Fitted with adaptive cruise control, Toyota says the systems can now better detect the edges of a road which means it will respond not just to white lines but also grass and dirt.
Other standard features include blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, the latter of which will stop you having a collision by reversing out into traffic.
As standard, Toyota has fitted the Kluger with front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera that even has a self-cleaning system with a little washer jet.
Buyers opting for the Kluger GXL can switch between a normal or wide-angle reversing camera while the top-spec Grande has a helpful 360-degree camera.
The Toyota Kluger is now on sale in Australia through Chasing Cars understands the manufacturer expects to be inundated with interest so it might be a while until you can get your hands on one.
All prices listed are before on-road costs.
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