Nationality: Belgian
Occupation: Talent Acquisition
Vehicle: Toyota Prado VXR, 125 series (3 door), 2005

Tell us the background story of the car…
I was in the market for this specific model and jumped on it when I saw it advertised on Dubizzle. The owner already had a lot of interest so was reluctant to give me a viewing as he already had 8 people looking at it the next day. I offered to pay the asking price without negotiation if the car was in good condition and within 2 hours, I had paid the deposit and had a smile on my face. That was 10 years ago!

What modifications have been made, performance and cosmetic wise?
I changed the suspension less than 2 weeks after purchase with a set of Icon Vehicle Dynamics and Total Chaos control arms and a set of Dick Cepek rims – other than that, the car is completely stock. It’s difficult to improve perfection.

Do you have something that you consider to be a ‘special feature’ of the car?
I find the Prado an exceptional all-round vehicle. Very comfortable on the road for long distances with very little wind noise, and a very reasonable fuel consumption when driven reasonably. So you feel refreshed with over two thirds of a tank left when you reach Liwa. Power to weight ratio for the dunes is almost unmatched in a standard production vehicle with the 4.0 V6 engine and with tyres down to 8 psi, my only limitations are nerves and focus. Fold the rear seats and you have plenty of room for a 5-day camping trip with the missus to Masirah. Fold all the seats down and you can lie almost completely flat for a comfortable sleep. I keep an accurate and detailed log of costs to the car and it costs me about Dh1 per km to run (including registration, fines, fuel, maintenance, repairs, etc.). In a nutshell, I have yet to come across a vehicle good enough to replace my Prado.

What were your other options before you bought this car?
80 series land cruiser VXR but they are like hen’s teeth.

How often do you use your car, and what activities do you take part in?   
It’s my daily driver, both on and off road from going to the Palm for a romantic dinner with my wife to an extreme drive in Liwa, she handles it with ease.

Are you planning any future modifications?
A rear diff lock is planned but can’t find a 2nd hand stock diff lock. A winch would also be a great addition as I have been known to go out on my own at times but want to keep the stock look up front. Sadly, too many mechanics have told me there is not enough room behind the front stock bumper to fit the winch.

What 4×4 do you dream of owning? 
If money was no object, a car from Icon 4×4 – either a FJ40 or FJ43 Series, or their Bronco! These are beautifully restored vehicles with modern engineering for comfort and safety. ■

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this article was published in OutdoorUAE printed magazine issue #94 April – May 2019

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