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Toyota’s Fortuner set to shake things up

01.04.2016

Toyota is on a model assault in 2016, with the volume-selling Hilux already launched it was time for the brand to introduce its next-generation SUV contender.

The previous generation Fortuner enjoyed massive success in South Africa, dominating sales within its segment virtually from its introduction through to its model phase-out at the end of 2015. Now though, there’s a new Fortuner, with aggressive pricing, better looks and enhanced quality. I got behind the wheel of the new model in the Western Cape recently.

Exterior elegance

Whereas the Fortuner’s Hilux sibling split opinion in terms of its appearance, the Fortuner certainly found favour amongst the motoring press for its looks. Up front there’s no mistaking that fact that it’s a modern Toyota with a prominent grille, slim headlamps and an aggressive front bumper. In side profile there’s a strong character line that runs from the bonnet and curves upward past the rear windows and extends past the third seating section. The rear section appears to have Lexus-like treatment with slender rear lamps and stylised surfacing. Whether it looks better than the Ford Everest is up for debate however, there’s no denying that it is just as up-to-date.

Interior treat

The inside of the new Fortuner upon first appearance is far more upmarket, with a liberal use of brown for the leather and the cloth upholstery, depending on the variant, while the trim is a more upmarket wood grain that looks better than I had expected. The use of material and the tangible surfaces in the vehicle are of a higher quality than before, too.

Standard features inside include:

  • Bluetooth
  • Multi-function steering wheel
  • Electric windows and mirrors
  • Air conditioning
  • Six-speaker sound system with AUX/USB/AM/FM compatibility as standard
  • Higher specified models get a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with a reversing camera, while those wanting satellite navigation will have to specify it as it only comes with the flagship V6 petrol.

Speaking of engines...

The engine range is more comprehensive now with a couple of diesel variants and two petrol engines along with two transmission options. The diesel range consists of a 2.4-litre 100kW/400Nm turbo diesel as well as a 2.8-litre 130kW turbo diesel which, in manual guise, puts out 420Nm, while the automatic variant gets 450Nm. I found the 2.4-litre diesel to be the pick of the range, but wondered why there’s no 4x4 variant with the 2.4-litre engine.

In terms of petrol engines there’s now an entry level petrol with a 2.7-litre naturally aspirated four-pot delivering 122kW/245Nm, while the V6 from the previous model has been carried over with its 175kW/376Nm. The two gearboxes on offer are a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic, which is available on all models. We will surely see a shift towards more automatics being bought as we have seen with the new Hilux, as people look for a vehicle that is simpler to drive while also noting that Toyota has produced a good automatic transmission.

More practicality

The Fortuner was always popular for, amongst other things, its practicality and the new model improves upon that. It is 15mm wider and 90mm longer, which translates into 15mm more legroom for second-row occupants and a massive 45mm more legroom for third-row passengers. There is also space for two large bags in the boot with all three rows of seats in place, while there are now air vents for rear passengers. The range also provides practicality in terms of its towing ability, with a towing capacity of between 2 500 and 3 000kg and features a Trailer Sway Control.

Verdict

The new Fortuner is a great product; it improves upon its predecessor in every way while undercutting key rivals in terms of pricing. It‘s a good-looking, well-made contender that should see Toyota reach its goal of over 1 000 units per month, despite the tough economic conditions.

 Warranty and service

All models come with a three-year/100 000km warranty as well as a five-year/90 000km service plan.

Pricing

2.4 GD-6 Raised Body Manual R436 400
2.4 GD-6 Raised Body Automatic R453 400
2.7 VVT-i Raised Body Automatic R429 400
2.8 GD-6 Raised Body Manual R513 400
2.8 GD-6 4x4 Manual R571 400
2.8 GD-6 Raised Body Automatic R531 400
2.8 GD-6 4x4 Automatic R589 400
4.0 V6 4x4 Automatic R633 400

             

Article written by Sean Nurse
01.04.2016
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