Having recently undergone its mid-life facelift, the current-generation Kluger has come out looking a little less chunky and a quite a bit classier. In a theme for the rest of the car, it doesn't set our hearts a-flutter, but neither does it do anything to offend.
The reduction in chunkiness is primarily thanks to the new front end that sports a set of significantly slimmer headlights, a new bonnet and revised grille. Although the car's new eyes are of the projector variety, swivelling xenon headlights aren't available anywhere in the Kluger range. All four sides are recipients of black-out plastic and extra lashings of chrome for a more upmarket feel.
Mid-range KX-S and top-of-the-line Grande models ride on different 19-inch alloy wheels, while the basemakes do with a set of 17-inch shoes. The chromed pair of side rails look almost too nice to be used for holding a set of roof racks. Click the unlock button on the remote plipper and the Kluger will now greet you with puddle lights mounted on the underside of the wing mirrors.
The changes on the inside are more subtle; if you notice the darker plastic "metal" trim then you're doing a good job.
Seven seats are standard on the KX-S and Grande, whilebuyers will have to pony up an extra AU$2700 or make do with five seats. Even with the front seats pushed back to their limit, there's plenty of room in the second row for anyone smaller than Goliath.
Anyone who's past puberty will find the third row of seats uncomfortable for anything more than a short journey. There's plenty of torso, arm and head space, but the shallow foot-well means that rear row occupants have to sit with their knees up. The middle pew can be slid forwards to improve the comfort of those behind or reclined.
The third row folds flat and easily into the boot floor for ample storage space, but if that's not enough the second row of seats split-folds 40/20/40. In seven-seater mode, though, boot space is limited to a few shopping bags.
In terms of safety, all Klugers come with seven airbags, including one for the driver's knee, stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes and hill start assistance. Air conditioning is standard, with the KX-S and Grande gaining three-zone climate control and a separate set of controls for passengers in the rear.
On the KX-S upwards, the Kluger features leather upholstery, with the front seats benefiting from electric adjustment and heating.
Take the leap into the Grande and you'll gain a tilt and slide sunroof, automatic headlights, keyless entry and start, and auto-dimming rear-view mirror to play with. Some luxury features, like radar-guided cruise control and rain-sensing windscreen wipers, are notable absentees from the Kluger range.