TOY­OTA For­tuner

4 x 4 Australia - - Driven -

SMALLER and lighter than the Prado, the For­tuner’s big­gest sales pitch is its price. We chose the GXL trim, at $54,990, which un­der­cuts the Prado wear­ing the same nomen­cla­ture by $7000. Granted, you miss out on sat-nav, but it picks up smart key en­try in­stead.

Still, with the For­tuner it’s easy to see where money has been saved. For ex­am­ple, the third row seats fold against the side of the car, tak­ing up valu­able lug­gage room. Oc­ca­sion­ally, too, the straps hold­ing them in place un­clip, re­quir­ing a quick tighten up. There’s also only a sin­gle zone for the ven­ti­la­tion, so all oc­cu­pants have to agree on the same tem­per­a­ture. Like the Isuzu, the bon­net misses out on the Prado’s struts, so when it comes time to clean out the air fil­ter you’re man­u­ally prop­ping it open. Oh, and if you get a punc­ture, the spare that’s tucked un­der­neath is only a steelie. Speak­ing of tyres, like the Prado the For­tuner gets tougher A/T tyres, whereas the Isuzu and Ford get H/TS.

The For­tuner’s smaller stature is most no­tice­able with its lim­ited head room and cabin width. That said, for a cou­ple or a smaller fam­ily it’s ad­e­quately ca­pa­cious.

On the road the For­tuner im­me­di­ately as­serts it­self as a ca­pa­ble com­pan­ion. Its overly light steer­ing that lacks meati­ness on coun­try roads is less of an is­sue once on the tracks of the CSR. It doesn’t take long for the For­tuner’s Hilux genes to shine through. Great ground clear­ance en­sures it is well el­e­vated over rocky sec­tions, with am­ple ar­tic­u­la­tion to keep the wheels in touch with the track. The trac­tion con­trol sys­tem is also ex­cel­lent,

en­sur­ing easy progress up sand dunes and through creek cross­ings. Less im­pres­sive is the sus­pen­sion tune, es­pe­cially in the rear. Dial up the pace and the coil springs soak up im­per­fec­tions, but the movement is not as well con­trolled as it could be.

At least the 2.8-litre en­gine gets on with things nicely. With less weight to deal with than the Prado, it’s frac­tion­ally more re­spon­sive, and the easy ac­ces­si­bil­ity of its 450Nm rarely leaves you want­ing. How­ever, de­spite its 80-litre tank, the For­tuner of­ten called for a drink sooner than its ri­vals, even though its over­all fuel use hov­ered around an im­pres­sive 11.0L/100km.

The big dif­fer­ence be­tween the For­tuner’s driv­e­train and the Prado’s is the 4x4 sys­tem. The full time sys­tem has been re­placed by the Hilux’s part­time setup, which in prac­tice means it needs wider turns when ma­noeu­vring in camp­sites or around tight turns.

Speak­ing of camp­sites, like the Prado the For­tuner in­sists on beep­ing ev­ery time it’s locked and un­locked; not re­ally ideal if you want to dive into the cabin for a mid­night snack.

Weeks later we were still find­ing red dust.

What’s that say­ing? Too many cooks...

225mm of ground clear­ance is great for the rocky stuff.

A quick bush fix helped it ar­rive – just.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.