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Toyota Land Cruiser Prado vs Land Rover Defender – Spec Check 

13 Jun 2024

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado vs Land Rover Defender
DEF 110 25MY 080524 01 DYNAMIC 2

The new Toyota Land Cruiser Prado has arrived in South Africa, but how does it stack up against the segment-heavyweight Land Rover Defender? This article takes a “deep dive” into the specification details to help you make an informed buying decision. 

When the highly-anticipated new Land Cruiser Prado is launched in the South African market (due in June 2024), it will mount a challenge to Land Rover’s (New) Defender, which has firmly entrenched itself in the luxury off-road SUV market. Will the new Prado ruffle the Defender’s feathers? Read on!

The New Defender arrived in South Africa in 2020, with the Defender 110 coming to market at launch and the 3-door Defender 90 joining the line-up 2 years later. In 2023, the long-wheelbase Defender 130 joined the range with the overlanding-ready Defender 130 Outbound following in June 2024.

The Defender is offered with a choice of petrol, diesel, V8 and PHEV powertrains. The Defender range was recently updated to include specification updates, a more powerful diesel powertrain and the addition of the Defender Sedona Edition. The Defender 110 is optionally available as a 7-seater. 

As for the new Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, it’s a 7-seater SUV with 3 main derivatives to choose from including the entry-level TX, high-spec VX-R and limited-run First Edition, the latter of which is offered with either a bi-tone or monotone finish and equipped with special features. The Land Cruiser Prado will be powered by Toyota’s familiar 2.8-litre 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine, which serves in several models. 

In this article, we will compare the Defender D250 110 X-Dynamic SE with the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado 2.8 GD VX-R. 

This article aims to help you, the consumer, make an informed buying decision. To help you do this, we will provide you with the need-to-know information and insight based on available vehicle information and our experience with the cars in question. 

Please note that while we have tested the Defender extensively, we have yet to drive the new Prado. We will reserve judgment on the Prado’s performance until after the launch and update this article accordingly as soon as we’ve driven Toyota’s newcomer. 

This article will cover key aspects including Exterior Styling, Performance & Efficiency, Off-road Features and Practicality, Interior Features & Safety and Pricing & Warranty details. 

If you are still undecided about what to buy at the end of this article, you are more than welcome to reach out to us for advice via X, Facebook or Instagram. Our experienced test team will gladly assist you.

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado vs Land Rover Defender

Exterior Styling 

New Toyota Land Cruiser Prado 

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado vs Land Rover Defender

When the new Prado broke cover in 2023 it sported a modern (if still rather squared-off) design that brought the appearance of the Aichi-based brand’s off-road SUV up-to-date to rival the Defender.

The Prado wears a sophisticated grille design flanked by slim rectangular headlight units, while the First Edition derivatives sport retro round headlights. Being a rugged, purpose-built off-road SUV, the new Prado also wears protective cladding with angular wheel arches. 

With a thoroughly modern design, we expect the new Prado to strike a chord with local buyers. 

Land Rover Defender 

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado vs Land Rover Defender

With its beefy boxy looks, the Land Rover Defender has been well-received by local buyers. The modern Defender has dropped the utilitarian design of its long-serving predecessor in favour of a thoroughly modernised design. The circular light signature of the headlamps and chunky protective cladding give the Defender a purposeful look, while a subtle rear-light design adds a modern touch to the rear end. 

The new Prado and Defender make strong style statements. In addition to its trim lines (S, SE, HSE, Sedona and X), Land Rover also offers a variety of optional styling packs that further enhance the SUV’s packaging based on the specific intended use of the vehicle. These include an Explorer Pack, Explorer Black Pack, Adventure Pack, Adventure Black Pack, Country Pack, Country Black Pack and Urban Pack. 

Performance and Efficiency

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado 2.8 GD VX-RLand Rover Defender D250 X-Dynamic SE 
Powertrain 2.8-litre turbodiesel,
4- cylinder
3.0-litre twin-turbodiesel, 6-cylinder 
Power Output 150 kW @ 3000-3400 rpm183 kW @ 4000 rpm
Torque Output 500 Nm @ 1600-2800 570 Nm @ 1250-2500 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic 8-speed automatic 
Fuel Consumption (Claimed)7.9 L/100km8.3 L/100km 
Fuel Tank Size110 L (80 + 30)89 L
Fuel Range (avg)1 392 km1 072 km 

New Toyota Land Cruiser Prado

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado vs Land Rover Defender

We will drive the new Prado very soon, so reserve judgment on its on-road and off-road performance. 

However, we know Toyota’s 150 kW/500 Nm 2.8-litre 4-cylinder turbodiesel powerplant well from products such as the Hilux and Fortuner. It’s a well-proven engine that strikes a good balance between performance and economy. The big news is that in the Prado, this engine is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, which is expected to improve its performance and efficiency even further. 

With the 2.8-litre 4-cylinder turbodiesel being the only engine in the new Prado line-up, we hope that it will perform well enough to satisfy local buyers. Toyota could, however, introduce a higher-power Prado in future, perhaps using the same uprated powerplant in the recently introduced Toyota Hilux GR Sport III, which produces 165 kW/550 Nm. Perhaps Toyota will introduce a Prado GR-Sport? Let’s hope so! 

We will update this article as soon as we have driven the new Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. 

Land Rover Defender 

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado vs Land Rover Defender

The Defender can be had with a 3.0-litre 6-cylinder bi-turbodiesel engine with peak outputs of 183 kW and 570 Nm, which is notably more powerful and torquey than the new Prado’s powerplant. This engine is also mated with an 8-speed automatic transmission. If that’s not enough, an uprated Defender D350 came to market in May 2024 – its 3.0-litre bi-turbodiesel engine produces 257 kW and 700 Nm!  

With its higher outputs, the Defender D250 may offer better performance, but with 2 extra cylinders and a higher engine capacity, it’s unlikely to be as fuel-efficient as the Prado (but we’ll put that to the test).

The Defender’s got enough grunt to tackle challenging terrain while also offering a pliant ride quality on asphalt thanks to its standard air suspension, which the Prado doesn’t have. The 8-speed automatic transmission is also well matched to the engine and delivers smooth gear shifts, all of which enable the Defender to deliver high levels of driving refinement, whether it be on tar or in the dirt.

Practicality and Off-road Features

Toyota Land Cruiser PradoLand Rover Defender
Length4 925 mm 5 018 mm
Width 1 980 mm2 008 mm 
Height1 935 mm1 967 mm 
Wheelbase2 850 mm3 022 mm 
Ground clearance216 mm 291 mm 
Approach angle30°38°
Departure angle17°40°
Breakover angleTBC28°
Wading depthTBC900 mm
Low Range YesYes
Differential Locks Limited-slip diff, front and rearCentre differential lock (optional Active Locking Rear Differential )
Off-road Driving SystemMulti-Terrain Select (Multi Terrain MonitorConfigurableTerrain Response 2 
Towing capacity (braked)3 500 kg3 500 kg 

Off-road Summary 

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado vs Land Rover Defender

Both the Prado and Defender are designed and built to tackle difficult off-road terrain. The Defender 110 does have a larger footprint and, on paper, it does appear to have the upper hand over its Prado rival. 

We’ve evaluated the Defender off-road on several occasions and the abilities of the Solihull-based brand’s SUV have impressed our testers. Note that the Defender stands significantly higher than the Prado with a ground clearance of 291 mm (versus the Prado’s 216 mm. The Defender also holds an advantage with its standard air suspension, which can raise the vehicle by 75 mm when required. 

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado vs Land Rover Defender

To reiterate, we haven’t tested the Prado in local off-road conditions, but even though it’s a smaller vehicle than the Defender, do NOT underestimate the newcomer’s 4×4 capability. We expect that it will prove to be a formidable off-roader in its own right. It’s a Toyota, after all – its success depends on it.  

Interior Features and Safety

The Toyota Land Cruiser Prado 2.8 GD VX-R and Land Rover Defender D250 X-Dynamic SE are similarly specified in terms of standard features. Use our Compare Tool to compare any derivatives you like. 

Toyota Land Cruiser Prado VX-R Land Rover Defender X-Dynamic SE 
Infotainment system 12.3-inch infotainment 10-inch Pivi Pro Infotainment 
Digital Instrument Cluster12.3-inch digital instrument cluster 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster 
Android Auto / Apple CarPlay Yes, wireless CarPlayYes, both 
Bluetooth, Voice Control, USB, Wireless Charging Yes to all (7 USB Type C ports) Yes to all 
Rear View CameraYes, surround viewYes, surround view
Steering Adjustment: Rake / ReachYes, both Yes, both 
Cruise Control Yes, adaptive Yes, adaptive
Air ConditioningAutomatic dual-zoneAutomatic dual-zone
Panoramic Sunroof YesYes, optional sliding panoramic
Upholstery / electric seats Full leather, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, 2nd row heating, electric folding 3rd rowArtificial leather, electric front seats, heating and ventilation is optional
Front / Rear Park Distance Control Yes, front and rearYes, front and rear
Safety Features9 airbags, ABS with EBD, Brake Assist, traction control, Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keeping Assist, Hill Assist Control, Downhill Assist Control, Crawl Control, Tyre Pressure Monitoring6 airbags, ABS with EBD, Brake Assist, traction control, Blind Spot Warning, Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keeping Assist, Fatigue Detection, Hill Descent Control, Tyre Pressure Monitoring

Interior Feature Summary 

The range-topping Toyota Land Cruiser Prado VX-R is well-specified with comfort and convenience features, as well as safety equipment (in fact, it trumps its Defender rival by offering 3 more airbags). 

Note that the Prado is a 7-seater as standard. It’s a pity Toyota hasn’t quoted a figure for the Prado’s load-bay capacity, but hopefully, that detail will be divulged at the model’s upcoming local launch.

Comparatively, the Defender 110 is a 5-seater in standard guise, but a 7-seat configuration can be specified for an additional R31 700 (June 2024). In addition, Land Rover offers a wide variety of optional features (such as heated and ventilated front seats), but these can push up the price dramatically.  

Price and Warranty 

Note that pricing is accurate as of June 2024. 

Conclusion

The choice to buy a new Toyota Land Cruiser Prado or Land Rover Defender might very well depend on what you’re able to afford. You may (or may not) be shocked at the vast price differences between the Prado and Defender – that alone might be the most critical point that will drive your buying decision. 

Yes, the Defender is larger and offers stronger performance, but over and above its base price, you will pay extra to gain a 3rd row of seats, or spec any of the option packs. The Land Rover, when compared with the new Toyota, is therefore a pricey proposition and, unless you can afford to pay that premium, the new Prado is a strong alternative and will likely claim a sizable share of the luxury off-roader market. 

It’s worth noting, however, that the Defender is sold with a superior warranty, but Toyota’s brand strength and vast dealership network in South Africa should inspire consumer confidence.

From a sales perspective, the Defender has been popular in Mzansi and that trend is likely to continue. But with the arrival of the new Prado, buyers will have a more affordable luxury off-road SUV option to consider – judging by the success of the outgoing model, expect to see many new Prados on our roads. 

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