2017 Toyota Kluger review

Ivan Leon

Expert Member
May 27, 2008
And here it is, Toyota's 'most likely to win' contender of the 2017 Darwin Award for the 'Most Unfortunate Branding Faux Pas in Selecting a Model Name', for it's soon to be launched 7-seater SUV for the USA and Australian markets!


Blessed with its first proper drought-busting rainfall in years, California is so wet right now that roads are flooding, coastal highways and canyon passes are smattered with fallen rocks, and drivers unaccustomed to such conditions are struggling to stay on course.

The perfect time and place, then, for a first drive of the updated 2017 Toyota Kluger, already well known in its 2014-2016 form as a comfortable and impressively composed seven-seat family hauler.


Due for Australia in late February, the refreshed 2017 Kluger made its first appearance in March last year as the US-market Highlander, revealing a lightly restyled front end and an even subtler tweak to the rear.

Up front, there’s new headlights with newly integrated LED daytime lights for all, along with a bold new dual-grille design. The rear lights are now a dark red, again with new LED signature lighting standard across the range.

The GX and GXL get a silver finish to their new grille, while the Grande goes shiny with a painted chrome grille and a chrome garnish at the rear. A blacked-out grille is available with the US-market Highlander, but ours will skip that stealthy option.

Exterior styling changes are rounded out by new wheel designs, including an 18-inch five-double-spoke look for the entry-level GX, 18-inch multi-spoke ‘turbine-style’ design for the mid-range GXL, and a 19-inch multi-spoke look for the top-shelf Grande.

In the cabin, there’s new silver metallic highlights for the GX and GXL models, while the Grande gets silver “woodgrain-look” garnishes and ambient blue LED lighting to the dash and doors.

As before, the Kluger is again a seven-seater, with the third row offering air vents and bottle holders to ensure the space back there – although not especially commodious – feels like more than just an afterthought.

Standard-fit equipment updates bypass the entry-level GX model, but the GXL scores an 8.0-inch display, satellite navigation, DAB+ digital radio and a powered tailgate with an independently opening glass hatch.

Stepping up to the Grande adds front parking sensors and rear cross-traffic alert, along with a new “panoramic view” monitor that uses front, rear and side mirror-mounted cameras (making four in total) to create a top-down bird’s-eye view.

The Grande’s lane departure alert is now also joined by steering assistance and sway warning, the latter coming into play if the system – using the external cameras and data from steering inputs or a lack thereof – detects potential driver drowsiness or inattention.

As before, the full Kluger range’s standard features list already includes air conditioning (three-zone climate control in GXL and Grande), cruise control, electric power steering, six-speaker display audio with Toyota Link connected mobility, front foglamps, privacy glass, and power-adjustable exterior mirrors.

The GXL’s carry-over features include keyless entry and ignition, roof rails, “premium” steering wheel and gear knob, leather-accented seats (heated up front) and a 12-way power adjustable driver’s seat.

The Grande builds on that list with an opening sunroof, ventilated front seats with two-position memory for the driver’s seat, nine-inch rear entertainment display with a Blu ray player, heated exterior mirrors with memory function and puddle lamps, electrochromatic interior mirror, second-row retractable sunshades and a reversing guide monitor for the rear-view camera.

Safety kit across the ANCAP-approved five-star range includes seven airbags, rear-view camera, reverse-parking sensors, anti-skid brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution, stability and traction control, and hill-start assist control.

The Grande again gets the special goodies, adding autonomous emergency braking (AEB), active cruise control, lane departure alert, blind-spot monitor and automatic high-beam lights.

It’s disappointing that the top model, as with others in the Toyota family, is the only one to score AEB as standard – particularly when one of the Kluger’s key rivals, the CX-9, offers it as standard. On the plus side, the new Camry will offer AEB to all-comers, so that’s likely a sign of what’s to come for the wider Toyota range.

Read the full article & see more pics at the link here: