1997 Toyota Prado GX 2.8 diesel from Fiji Islands
One of the best SUVs around, the LJ95 Prado 2.8 diesel..
Rear axle broke - cheap fix, as Toyota parts are readily available.
Stereo - Factory stereo died out, so I purchased an Alpine USB unit.
Injector nozzles changed at 100,000km interval.
Timing belt, seals and water pump changed at 100,000km (part of maintenance schedule for the vehicle).
I was at first hesitant to buy a clunky and noisy underpowered variant of the Prado, having owned a powerful TX variant a few years before purchasing this vehicle. However I am glad I made the purchase, as the vehicle has never let me down in any situation.
Fuel economy may be second to none for a vehicle its size. The vehicle has 2 diesel tanks, switchable with a switch from inside the cabin.
Though the gear ratios are close, and the vehicle tops out at around 135km/ph at maximum revs on 5th gear, the point to be noted is that it was never meant for speed in the first place.
On the flats, the 2.8 normal aspirated diesel runs pretty well, and it's capable enough to bully the 2.5 turbo diesel Hyundai Terracan, but going uphill, don't expect to overtake anything all of a sudden.
The suspension on the vehicle is very tough. I still have all the factory bushings, ball joints and springs in place... Changed the shock absorbers as the rear ones had leaked oil.. Seeing the amount of potholes we have here in Fiji, I am very very pleased at how the car has held up.
The interior is built solid with no nonsense electronics, the sunroof is a pretty good addition to the vehicle... the seats have all held up, and there is no sign of wear anywhere, despite me being over 100kg...
I have driven the car to my heart's content, and since I cannot part ways with it, I guess now a turbo has to be bolted on and a boost compensator fitted to the fuel pump.
Overall, this is one of the best vehicles if you are after a good, reliable and economical SUV for our pathetic Fiji roads...
If I can get a brand new LJ95 Prado, I would buy it in a heartbeat... and yes it will still have to be a manual transmission, but probably this time a 10 seater unit with normal winder windows, and I would keep my current GX with electric windows and 7 seater capacity as my prestige ride, even though it's not a prestige, but a rough ride...
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 21st August, 2011