TOYOTA FORTUNER GXL
Wagons based on utes subscribe to the latest family formula. Craig Duff checks the tough trucks
The mid-spec GXL has most of the Mitsubishi fare, excluding the active driving aids and rear seat DVD. The basic price buys a six-speed manual and it costs $2000 to fit an auto, which brings a 30Nm boost in torque. Servicing is every six months or 10,000km and costs $180 a visit. Over the three-year warranty period, that amounts to $1080.
Derived from the HiLux, it comes with occasional third-row seating. The back pews fold to the side rather than tumble into the floor, so the exposed floor mounts are just waiting to snag a parcel. Old-school interior has a vertical layout through the centre stack, with vents, seven-inch touchscreen and aircon controls cascading down. The side bolsters on the seats help support knees when off-road.
The 2.8-litre turbo diesel is comparable with the Mitsubishi on outputs but it’s hauling a slightly heavier body, so performance is about on par. Claimed fuel use with the sixspeed auto is 8.6L/100km and it will haul 2.8 tonnes of boat, horse float or caravan.
A five-star ANCAP rating and a crash-test score of 33.95/37 put the Fortuner into sedan territory for safety. That’s backed by seven airbags and, when driven off-road, a suite of traction aids for traversing hills and a variety of surfaces. Pedestrian protection is even rated as good.
The Fortuner drives like a beefier Toyota Kluger on the road and like a LandCruiser off the blacktop. There’s still some body movement around turns but it feels more settled on the bitumen and only marginally less so in the scrub. The compromise is smarter than the Mitsubishi’s, given such vehicles will spend the majority of their time on the tarmac.