The Toyota Fortuner bucks the trend of SUVs that look like they might take you to Cape York, but are actually more at home doing the school run and weekly shopping.
This newcomer is very much role reversal; its competence biased more towards off-road than on-road. But first, the news …
The Fortuner brings Toyota’s SUV fleet to six model lines, alongside the RAV4, FJ Cruiser, Kluger, Prado and 200 series LandCruiser.
Based on the new generation, big-selling Hilux 4X4, this all-new seven-seater shares the former’s 2.8-litre 1GD-FTV turbo-diesel engine, body-on-frame construction, front suspension, steering components and rugged under-body protection.
The common-rail diesel engine delivers 0kW of power and 450Nm (six-speed auto) or 420Nm of torque (six-speed manual). ADR combined fuel average is 7.8 litres/100km for the manual and 8.6 for the manual.
There’s a choice of three specification levels: the entry level GX, midfield GXL and top-of-the-range Crusade (as tested).
With a part-time four-wheel-drive system, high/low ranges, mechanical rear differential lock, 279mm of ground clearance and a wading depth of 700mm, the Fortuner has the wherewithal to go pretty well anywhere.
Instead of the Hilux’s leaf spring suspension, it boasts a multi-link coil sprint rear end which has the desired effect of making the ride more refined. That said, by segment standards, it’s still firm and a little restless on the blacktop.
The interior is spacious with easy access to the third-row thanks to one-touch fold and tumble second-row seats. Toyota has blended practicality and durability with comfort and style, and noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels are impressive for this type of vehicle.
Standard across the range are seven airbags, reversing camera, traction and stability controls, front and rear airconditioning, side steps, hill-start assist, seven-inch touch-screen, Toyota Link connected mobility system and LED taillights. The Crusade adds 18-inch alloys, LED headlights, sat-nav, leather trim keyless entry, rear park sensors and a powered tailgate.
Trailer sway control is standard with a maximum braked towing mass of 3000kg for manual models and 2800kg for autos. Maximum tow ball down load is 10 percent of these figures respectively.
If you’re in the market for a larger, seven-seater SUV with genuine off-road ability, the new Fortuner should be on your short list alongside other impressive newcomers, the Ford Everest and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport.