TOYOTA’S revised petrol-powered Kluger large SUV lands late this month with more performance, greater convenience and fresh style.

As before the Kluger will be available in three model grades, GX, GXL and Grande available with the either front- or all-wheel drive. Changes for 2017 model include direct injection for the 3.5 litre petrol V6 and a new 8 speed automatic transmission.

Toyota Kluger

2017 Toyota Kluger Design

Toyota has resisted the urge to radically overhaul the Kluger’s handsome, underplayed visage. Not everyone wants a family car that is all swoops, creases and bulging guards, after all. The front end is the biggest beneficiary of change, with a refresh grille, lower bumper and redone headlight design. The headlights also contain a row of LED globes that act as integrated daytime running lamps.

At the rear, the Toyota Kluger’s taillights will be replaced with units containing LED tubes, while the taillights themselves have been updated to include an emergency illumination function when the brake pedal is stamped hard enough.

The only other styling changes to the Toyota Kluger for 2017 will come in the form of new-design 18-inch alloy wheels for the entry level GX and mid-grade GXL, while the top shelf Grande scores new 19-inch rims.

2017 Toyota Kluger Engine and transmission

The Kluger’s biggest upgrade is the addition of the latest version of Toyota’s stalwart 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine.

It is actually the first time this (2GR-FKS) unit has been used in a Toyota in Australia, although both the Lexus IS350 and LX350 currently use it, and the next-generation Camry will also offer a version of the V6.

The 24-valve six-potter features direct fuel injection and a higher 11.8:1 compression ratio, giving the Toyota Kluger 218kW at 6600rpm (+17kW) and 350Nm at 4700rpm (+13Nm).

It’s backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission (also used in Lexus products), which combines with engine updates to improve claimed fuel economy figures by up to 10 per cent across the various grades. The Toyota Kluger formerly used a six-speed auto.

Aussie-spec Klugers won’t get the engine stop-start system fitted to overseas variants as Toyota reckons the marginal improvement in economy over the gains netted from the new engine and gearbox didn’t warrant the additional cost of the system.

2017 Toyota Kluger Fuel consumption

All-wheel drive (AWD) variants of the Kluger are now claimed to use 9.5 litres per 100km, as opposed to 10.6, while the CO2 emissions have fallen from 246 to 221 grams (of CO2) per kilometre.

Front-wheel drive GX and GXL models improve from 10.2 to 9.1L/100km, while heavier front-drive Grande drops to 9.3 from 10.4L/100km.