Toyota Kluger KX-S (2010)

Comfortable, spacious, decently equipped and better looking than before, the Kluger ticks all the boxes for safe, dependable family transport. We just wish that there was a bit of excitement or a hybrid thrown in there.


7.3
CNET Rating
7.5
User Rating

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CNET Editor

Derek loves nothing more than punching a remote location into a GPS, queuing up some music and heading out on a long drive, so it's a good thing he's in charge of CNET Australia's Car Tech channel.


Exterior design

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.

Toyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota Kluger

Click through for a complete look at the exterior of the Toyota Kluger.
(Credit: Derek Fung/CNET Australia)

Mid-range KX-S and top-of-the-line Grande models ride on different 19-inch alloy wheels, while the base KX-R makes 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.

Interior design

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, while KX-R buyers 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.

Toyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota Kluger

Click through for a complete look at the interior of the Toyota Kluger.
(Credit: Derek Fung/CNET Australia)

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.

Features

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.

Entertainment

Regardless of how much you pay, Toyota will only fit six speakers to the Kluger. And given that there's quite a large volume of space to fill, sound can only ever be described as, at best, adequate.

Toyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota KlugerToyota Kluger

Click through for a complete look at the features and entertainment system of the Toyota Kluger.
(Credit: Derek Fung/CNET Australia)

On the KX-S music options are well taken care of as the sound system sports an auxiliary jack, an iPhone/iPod-compatible USB port, Bluetooth hands-free and music streaming, and an MP3/WMA-compatible six-CD stacker. Scrolling through long lists of music on the button and knob-operated 4.3-inch LCD can be a drawn-out process. Steering wheel audio controls are a convenient and safe inclusion.

Both the KX-R and KX-S models come with head units that have problems connecting with Apple devices running iOS 4.1 and higher. A fix has now been developed and will come installed in all Klugers built from March 2011 onwards. Current owners should see their Toyota dealer. See our story, Toyota fix iPhone issue with its stereos, for more information.

While the top-of-the-range Grande gains an 8-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, and a DVD player and screen for passengers in the back, it misses out on the cheaper models' USB port and Bluetooth wireless music streaming.

On the road

It might surprise you — it certainly surprised us — to discover that, although the Kluger is wider and a fair deal taller than the Camry upon which it's based, it's actually not quite as long. Despite what the tape measure says, though, piloting the Kluger in town feels like guiding the Ile de France up a stream.

With its high-riding body and plenty of suspension travel, the Kluger can ride over any type of road blemish — potholes, speed bumps or Scrooge McDuck piles of cash — and you'd barely notice. The downside is that the Kluger doesn't like being hurried through corners as body roll is fairly pronounced even at moderate speeds. Combine this with power steering that's geared for comfort and it's clear that the Kluger isn't aimed at keen drivers.

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Click through for a look at the official Toyota Kluger gallery.
(Credit: Derek Fung/CNET Australia)

In the front-wheel drive model, the 201kW/337Nm 3.5-litre V6 is peppy but not as a quick as the output figures suggest. That's because the petrol engine has around 1.8 tonnes of vehicle to lug around. In the city we saw fuel economy figures of between 15.9 and 19.3L/100km, out on the freeway the Kluger's drinking habit dropped to a more manageable 8.2L/100km.

Four-wheel drive is an AU$4500 option that will enable some light off-roading, while adding a bit to the fuel consumption figure and subtracting from the on-road performance.

Conclusion

Comfortable, spacious, decently equipped and better looking than before, the Kluger ticks all the boxes for safe, dependable family transport. We just wish that there was a bit of excitement or a hybrid thrown in there.

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GreggC Facebook
7
Rating
 

"A car for steerers, not for drivers"

GreggC posted a review   

The Good:Spacious, comfortable, quiet

The Bad:Underpowered, bulgy headlights, too much plastic and chrome on the instrument cluster

I took delivery of a new Kluger KX-R as a company car, a first close up look see the Kluger is impressive, nice wide stance, clean lines, (apart from the headlights, toyota need to rethink that one) clean assembly and easy to be comfortable in. The first drive proved enjoyable, yet annoying, the transmission has a mind of its own even when in sports mode, it has a habit of kicking down one or two gears to climb the easiest of hills. That should not happen if the engine has been match well with the transmission, with cruise control engaged an attempt to increase speed only a few km will result in a jump in speed well past your intended speed setting. watch for the flash for cash in this case.
After careful moitoring I believe a better fuel econemy figure could be obtained if not for the overzealous transmission & and engine management system. A pet hate of mine is wires for MP3/IPOD all over the centre console, perhaps a connection in the back of the stereo system might find its way in next time round.
All in all, a nice vehicle to have a company car with a fuel card. but at this point I would not invest my own money in one until Toyota Australia have the software in the country to adjust transmission management.

Nutso
8
Rating
 

Nutso posted a review   

The Good:Practical, comfortable, not hideous

The Bad:Thirsty, FWD not ideal for such a big vehicle

For those who need a 7-seater & don't want a people mover or off-roader, the Kluger is a good choice, but it uses a lot of petrol & there is absolutely no excuse for Toyota not to offer the hybrid version, which has been available overseas for years.
You can get the same hybrid drivetrain in the Lexus RX400 hybrid, but that will cost you an extra $40,000.
Toyota, it's time you got your act together.

 

jmg posted a comment   

I dont understand why a consumer electronics webpage does car reviews. No sane person would visit a consumer electronics webpage for a car review - it just doesnt fit. I'm a car buff and Ill read car-oriented websites for such reviews.

 

BarneyF posted a reply   

True.
Some car reviewers are more good typists than car experts. They base the majority of their opinion on gadgetry and gimmics and hardly any on the underlying engineering qualities of a car and to me that is the most important area.
Then again, from reading a lot of forums, this seems to be the basis on which most people choose a car these days.
Good car reviewers do exist and their reports make good reading.

 

Sirrobbo posted a comment   

Dang, that thing is ugly...

 

BarneyF posted a reply   

Please tell what you consider beautiful. I promise not to laugh.




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User Reviews / Comments  Toyota Kluger KX-S (2010)

  • GreggC

    GreggC

    Rating7

    "I took delivery of a new Kluger KX-R as a company car, a first close up look see the Kluger is impressive, nice wide stance, clean lines, (apart from the headlights, toyota need to rethink that one..."

  • Nutso

    Nutso

    Rating8

    "For those who need a 7-seater & don't want a people mover or off-roader, the Kluger is a good choice, but it uses a lot of petrol & there is absolutely no excuse for Toyota not to offer the hybrid ..."

  • jmg

    jmg

    "I dont understand why a consumer electronics webpage does car reviews. No sane person would visit a consumer electronics webpage for a car review - it just doesnt fit. I'm a car buff and Ill read..."

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