This is the verdict of majority of auto stakeholders in Nigeria that participated in the selection/voting process this year, according to the organisers of the annual event, Naja.
Naja said the Prado edged out Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ford Explorer that were also nominated in the SUV category for the award.
Peugeot 301 also beat Toyota Corolla and Nissan Almera to emerge the car of the year (2016) in the same contest.
Other winners included Mercedes Benz S-Class, which was named the luxury car of the year; Ford Ranger got the pickup of the year; Toyota Hiace received the mini bus of the year award; while the heavy truck of the year was won by Mercedes Actros.
Globe Hyundai and Jet Van Mercedes were joint winners in the outstanding new entrant of the year category. The showroom of the year prize went to Nissan showroom in Victoria Island (Lagos); while Pirelli was crowned the tyre brand of the year.
The Chairman of Naja, Mr. Frank Kintum, said, “In arriving at the eventual winners, we have carefully evaluated all nominees and have been assisted by some auto customers and industry stakeholders. Interestingly, in order to make the awards more interactive, we decided to allow members of the public to participate by way of voting online.”
The Prado is a mid-size four-wheel drive vehicle in the Toyota Land Cruiser range; it is considered one of the smaller vehicles in the range, designed to meet the needs of modern drivers.
According to Toyota Nigeria Limited, the Prado’s off-road heritage is evident in its ground clearance and high approach and departure angles.
In the vehicle description provided by the TNL in its website, it said, “Together with outstanding hill-climbing performance, excellent maximum tolerable roll-over angle and good fording capacities, they contribute to the outstanding all-round off-road performance in difficult conditions.”
It also said the Prado’s full-time 4WD system would deliver excellent drive through performance by changing between high- and low-range setting, depending on road conditions.
“Should the Prado ever become stuck with the wheels on the side spinning freely, at the touch of a switch, the rear differential gear can be locked to enhance traction” the TNL stated.
The exterior of the Land Cruiser Prado, according to an online report by ALfuttaim Motors, “is bold and self-assured with a distinctive grille that makes it stand out on busy roads. Built to cope with the open road as well as rougher ground, you will have no problem negotiating any type of terrain.”
It added that the cabin of the vehicle was crafted from premium materials that provided a sense of luxury and elegance to contrast with the rugged exterior.
It also stated, “A leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio and telephone controls offers a touch of class and you can make calls on the move through the Bluetooth wireless connection.”
The vehicle’s three rows of seats would give enough space for seven people comfortably.