It’s been called the most trusted name in the medium SUV segment, iconic and commanding… and all the while it remains at the top of the bestseller list. Having driven the latest iteration at the recent South African launch, LIANA REINERS understands why.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Toyota’s Fortuner. Yes, yes, I know! I’m supposed to be impartial, but I just can’t help myself. I’ve always wanted one, even before SUV’s became cool. In my world – considering the size of our family and our recreational habits – it would be as close to the perfect vehicle as I can get. The only part of my world that it doesn’t gel with is my budget. The Fortuner has undergone a bit of a makeover for 2023 and now flaunts a bolder new look. The interior has also received some attention that includes an all-new interior colour palette for flagship models.
Looking the part
Toyota’s marketing material on the Fortuner makes reference to the catamaran-inspired elements. Honestly, I don’t see it. What I can see, however, is the new, more angular front and rear bumper treatment. The black mesh upper grille has been slimmed down and also immediately catches the eye, while the lower aperture has been considerably inflated in keeping with Fortuner’s new, more assertive attitude. A bespoke, grey contrast skidplate not only adds to the aesthetic, but enhances functionality. The redesigned LED headlamps are also rather attractive, as are the L-shaped LED daytime running lights and LED indicator lamps.
When seen from the rear, the redesign is slightly more subtle. Reworked elements include the aforementioned bumper treatment, a new design for the taillight clusters and a piano black numberplate garnish. The standout feature of the side profile is the new two-tone black and metal 18-inch multi-layered, machine-cut finished alloy wheel design.
So how does it go
The updated Fortuner is offered with a choice of two engines. The first is Toyota’s durable 2.8-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder powerplant, developing 150kW of power and 500Nm of torque and mated exclusively with the six-speed automatic transmission. On the other hand, the 2.4 GD-6 produces 110kW and 400Nm and is available in both six-speed manual and six-speed auto transmission configurations.
Better in a subtle way
Leather is standard across the Fortuner range, but the 2.8-litre models have a new dual-tone black and maroon colour palette. Matching maroon stitching adorns various surfaces providing a striking counterpoint to the predominantly black trim. I really do love this colour combination very much! All the 2.8 variants also gain USB points for rear passengers, so no more fighting about who gets to charge their phone. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that these models boast a revised instrument cluster which features all-new graphics, new black background ornamentation and revised opening animation. So, what exactly is different compared to the 2022 Fortuner? Quite a few things actually, starting with upgraded dual-zone climate control for 2.8-litre models, a Panoramic View Monitor (PVM) with selectable view for the range-topping VX grade, and an 11-speaker JBL Premium Audio system.
Safety and convenience features galore
There is one particular safety upgrade to the Fortuner (2.8 models only) that really stands out. It now has a Lane Keeping System with Land Departure Alert (LDA), Blind Spot Monitor (BSM), Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA), Adaptive Cruise Control and a brake-synchronised Pre- Crash System. All of this forms part of the Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver assistance technologies.
Of course, this is over and above an already comprehensive list of standard safety kit that includes a shopping list of items such as a full set of airbags, ABS with EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution), Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control. Just a word on the latter. In the case of VX models the electronic Active Traction Control automatically detects wheel spin and distributes torque between front and rear wheels to suppress unnecessary wheel spin and control skidding. Other standard kit includes Hill Assist Control and Trailer Sway Control, as well as a rear diff lock. All 4×4 models have a low-range transfer case for enhanced offroad ability, while all Fortuner grades incorporate a rear differential lock as standard.
Model line-up and pricing
- Toyota Fortuner 2.4 GD-6 RB MT: R653 500
- Toyota Fortuner 2.4 GD-6 RB AT: R677 500
- Toyota Fortuner 2.4 GD-6 4×4 AT: R709 800
- Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 RB: R794 600
- Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 RB VX: R837 800
- Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 4×4: R873 500
- Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 4×4 VX: R915,400
*(Bi-tone models have a R10 200 premium.)
*All Fortuner models are covered by a 3-year/ 100 000km warranty and a 9-services/90 000km service plan. Service intervals are set at 10 000km and customers can purchase a variety of service plan and warranty extensions from any one of the 220 Toyota dealers countrywide.