CUT-PRICE WAGON GOES HEAD TO HEAD WITH COMPETITION
TOYOTA’S crowded SUV line-up gets another entrant this week with the introduction of the sevenseat Fortuner in three grades. Diesel only Fortuner is based on the new HiLux ute and is priced from $47,990 for the six-speed manual GX with two mode six speed auto adding two grand.
FORD Everest is Fortuner’s direct competitor with heat coming from Holden Colorado7, Isuzu MUX, both at less money and others like Mitsubishi’s outdated Challenger.
Other models in the Fortuner line up are the GLX at $52,990 for the manual and Crusade at $59,990 for the manual.
Fortuna is a legitimate off-roader offering (rear) 2WD and selectable low and high range 4WD as well as a rear differential lock.
IT CAN wade at depths up to 700mm and has 279mm of ground clearance along with a rigid rear axle – the preferred choice for serious off-road driving.
The body-on-chassis construction is time honoured for “real fourbies” and in Fortuner’s case, has been extensively revised in the rear for coil spring suspension and multiple, axle locating links.
Toyota heavily leveraged its new HiLux ute in Fortuner with a substantial Australian engineering input for the chassis/body, wiring and even its dynamic calibration.
A FEW HiLux body parts cross over to Fortuner with most panels rear of the windscreen unique to the new wagon.
Cabin design and equipment is Fortuner specific, however, under the bonnet is pure HiLux and Prado featuring a newly developed 2.8-litre turbo diesel four cylinder.
This twin-cam unit has maintenance-free chain cam drive and comes with a small, variable nozzle turbo. It is a new “passenger oriented” engine good for 130kW and either 450Nm in the auto or 420Nm in the manual.
The engine is fuel efficient (7.8-litres/100km for manual), smooth and quiet running but faces a tough competitor in Everest which has a 3.2-litre five-cylinder turbo diesel with more power and torque.
IT PASSES Euro5 emissions and has a diesel particulate filter in the exhaust. Safety rating is indicated at five stars thanks to use of high strength steel in the chassis, seven airbags, reverse camera and pedestrian safety material at the front.
Fortuner does well in the towing stakes and can drag up to three tonnes – half a tonne more than stablemate Prado.
The boot is OK with all rows in place ultimately expandable with rows two and three folded.
And they have been generous with kit as even the base model has a seven-inch touch screen, six speaker audio, ToyotaLink connectivity, information readout, Eco meter, multiple power and info plugs, many cup holders and storage compartments, rake and reach steering wheel adjust, a full-size spare and LED tail lights.
Higher grade models get more with satnav limited to the Crusade. Minimal high tech driver assist features such as auto brake or blind spot warning are fitted to any Fortuner model and Crusade is the only model to get an auto tailgate.
WE CRANKED up the Fortuner in the wilds of South Australia’s Flinders Ranges where it really put its best wheel forward.
It makes child’s play of high speed cruising on the blacktop and then spearing off on to bush tracks exploring mountain climbs, using downhill assist to ease down steep inclines and “walking” through rough and deep dry creek beds.
Fortuner is pretty much unstoppable and an accomplished offroader that can back up as a city commuter/family wagon.
Fortuner. . . based on the HiLux.