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Toyota Kluger in depth

The Kluger's mid-life facelift adds a dash of style into a brew that's still dominated by comfort, practicality and space.

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Derek Fung
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1 of 34 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

A change is as good as a holiday

The Kluger's mid-life facelift adds a dash of style into a brew that's still dominated by comfort, practicality and space.

In late 2010, Toyota gave its Kluger range a mild facelift, and rejigged some specifications and pricing.

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Easy choice

Australian Klugers are offered with only one engine option: a 3.5-litre petrol V6 that puts out 201kW of power and 337Nm of torque.

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Thirst killer

Overseas Klugers can be had with a hybrid drivetrain that's similar to the Lexus RX450h's that features a 3.5-litre V6 working together with two electric motors (one up front and one at the rear).

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Thin camp

Slimmer headlights with projector main beams help to reduce the car's visual bulk.

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Foggy days

Fog lights and their spear-like surrounds are standard on the mid-range KX-S and top-of-the-range Grande models.

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Glass hatch

The rear windscreen can be flipped up by itself; buttons found on the plipper and chrome surrounding the numberplate activate the windscreen's lock.

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Courtesy

All Klugers now come with puddle lights mounted on the underside of the wing mirrors.

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Stop!

The redesigned tail-lights don't feature LED indicators or brake lights.

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Boot camp tales, part I

In five-seat mode, the Kluger has plenty of space in the boot for gear.

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Boot camp tales, part II

A roll-up luggage blind keeps prying eyes away from your goods.

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Boot camp tales, part III

The luggage blind conveniently stows away underneath the boot floor should you not want it.

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Air is free

Although air-con is standard throughout the Kluger range, the mid-range KX-S and range-topping Grande both get three-zone climate control as well. Rear-seat passengers get their own controls, too.

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Work it out

Only the top-of-the-range Grande has an electrically operated tail-gate. Given the heft of the Kluger's boot door, that's a real shame.

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Leverage

If you want to fold down the middle row of seats to carry long and large items, this can be easily done thanks to these levers in the boot.

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Seven-seater

Both the KX-S and Grande are fitted with a third row of seats, for a total people-carrying capacity of seven. Space back there is decent, but the foot well is shallow so you have to sit with your knees up.

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Comfort or people?

The middle seat in the second row can be removed and replaced by a lidded bin and cup-holder arrangement (pictured). The middle seat or the bin/cup holder is stored in a slot underneath the centre armrest when not used.

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Off- or on-road action

All three trim levels can be had with all-wheel drive, although this adds AU$4500 to the asking price.

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Car spotting

The different Kluger grades can now be distinguished by their alloy wheel designs (if you're into that type of thing). The KX-R rides on 17-inch rims, while the KX-S and Grande have 19-inch items.

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DAC it

All-wheel drive models feature Downhill Assist Control that can maintain a constant low speed when you're heading down an off-road track.

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Roof rails

Roof rails, with a rather attractive metal finish, are standard on the KX-S and Grande.

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Fingertip control

Every Kluger model has audio controls mounted on the steering wheel.

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Air time

On the other spoke are controls for the climate control air-con that's fitted to the KX-S and Grande.

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Cruisey

Cruise control is fitted throughout the range, although the light on the instrument panel only informs you of when the system is on, not when it's actually regulating the car's speed.

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Swings and roundabouts

The base KX-R and mid-range KX-S have (different) audio head-units with an auxiliary jack, iPod/iPhone-compatible USB port, and Bluetooth for both hands-free and wireless music streaming.

While the range-topping Grande gains a sat-nav audio system with touchscreen display and rear seat DVD entertainment setup, it loses out on the lower models' USB port and Bluetooth music streaming.

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Shifty

The only transmission on offer is a five-speed automatic.

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Riotous

The three-zone climate control system that's present on the KX-S and Grande features a riot of buttons that are hard to comprehend whilst driving. No wonder Toyota likes putting a set of controls on the steering wheel.

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Multi-function display, part I

The 3.5-inch display between the air vents can display a variety of information from the trip computer and is controlled by the Disp button on the steering wheel.

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Multi-function display, part II

In addition to the average fuel economy meter, the Kluger stores a fuel economy history so you can revel in your thriftiness or marvel at your lead foot.

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Multi-function display, part III

The display is also used for the climate control system.

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Spot the changes

Compared to the outside, the updates to the Kluger's interior are rather minor. There's shiny silver painted plastic on the KX-R and KX-S, black carpets and dashboards for everyone, and marginally less fake-looking "wood" on the Grande.

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Whirrrrr

The front seats gains all electric adjustment and heating on the KX-S and Grande.

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She (doesn't) bang

The front passengers' cup holders feature removable rubber liners so keys and other odds and sods don't bang about too much when you're driving.

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Rearward ho!

With its imposing presence and large rearward blind-spot, it's a good thing that all Klugers are equipped with a reversing camera. Pity that the screen's on the small side.

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Clear and present

Thanks to Optitron lighting, the Kluger's instruments are clear and easy to read no matter the conditions.

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