Toy­ota For­tuner 2,4 GD-6 4x4 6AT

The 2,4-litre 4x4 For­tuner may just be the best value-for-money choice in the range

Car (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

Price:

R522 100

0-100 km/h:

13,92 sec

Power/torque:

110 kw/400 N.m

Top speed:

170 km/h

CAR fuel in­dex:

9,84 L/100 km

CO2:

217 g/km

JUDG­ING by the num­ber of bakkie-based SUVS on our roads, this for­mula meets the re­quire­ments of ad­ven­tur­ous fam­i­lies bal­anc­ing school runs and peak-hour com­mut­ing with hol­i­days in re­mote lo­ca­tions. In many cases, proper all-wheel-drive abil­ity is a must for these ex­cur­sions, but so too is the con­ve­nience of an au­to­matic trans­mis­sion when re­turn­ing to the rat race.

Herein lies the prob­lem: com­bin­ing the last two pre­req­ui­sites may have your bank man­ager grin­ning from ear to ear, as most op­tions sit north of R600 000, in­clud­ing the pop­u­lar For­tuner 2,8 GD-6 4x4 6AT at R653 300. Toy­ota identi ed this gap in its For­tuner line-up and in­tro­duced a more af­ford­able 2,4-litre ver­sion at the end of last year.

Out­side, all that dif­fer­en­ti­ates the 2,4 from its big brother is the badge at the back. In con­trast to the di­vi­sive styling of the Hilux – now up­dated in Dakar speci cation – the For­tuner still ap­pears mod­ern and pur­pose­ful.

It’s when you step aboard that the cost-sav­ing el­e­ments be­come more ap­par­ent. Compared with the 2,8-litre, this model sees the leather-cov­ered steer­ing wheel make way for a ure­thane item; the touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem re­placed with a but­ton-op­er­ated sys­tem with a dot-ma­trix-like dis­play; and the in­stru­ment clus­ter de­void of the up­rated func­tion­al­ity usu­ally ac­cessed by the satellite but­tons on the right-hand side of the steer­ing wheel. Man­ual air-con­di­tion­ing is the or­der of the day, but at least the par­tial­leather seats are com­fort­able and help lift the gen­eral am­bi­ence of the cabin.

It’s good to know Toy­ota didn’t com­pro­mise on safety fea­tures, though, with front, knee, side

and cur­tain airbags, sta­bil­ity con­trol, trac­tion con­trol (in­clud­ing an off-road ac­tive-trac­tion sys­tem), trailer sway and cruise con­trol all stan­dard fit­ment.

Although the 2,4-litre tur­bod­iesel is 20 kw down on the 2,8-litre, it still de­liv­ers a healthy 400 N.m, al­beit ac­com­pa­nied by a rather noisy diesel sound­track when pushed. Cou­pled with a re­laxed (read: slightly slow, with per­ceived slip dur­ing shifts) torque-con­verter trans­mis­sion, this pow­er­train makes for effortless progress round town. Park­ing sen­sors or a rear-view cam­era would have been a big help when it comes to park­ing in tight spa­ces, how­ever, as the For­tuner is a large ve­hi­cle.

One tester em­barked on a

300 km road trip, seven up, and noted that the ve­hi­cle eas­ily cruised at the na­tional speed limit, los­ing ground to the 2,8-litre only when over­tak­ing oomph was re­quired at higher speeds.

This was con­firmed by our ac­cel­er­a­tion test­ing, where it posted a leisurely 0-100 km/h time of 13,92 sec­onds and took 11,91 sec­onds to com­plete the 80120 km/h dash. The 2,8 man­aged 12,02 and 9,07 sec­onds for the same ex­er­cises.

The 2,4’s big­gest ad­van­tage is in terms of fuel con­sump­tion, where we eas­ily bested Toy­ota’s claimed 8,2 L/100 km with an ex­cel­lent fig­ure of 7,5 L/100 km on our 100 km fuel route. It was noted, how­ever, when the ve­hi­cle was loaded, we saw in­di­cated fig­ures of more than 9,0 L/100 km, but that’s still an im­pres­sive feat for an SUV that tips the scales at 2,1 tonnes.

The For­tuner re­ally comes into its own when the tar­mac ends. Dirt roads are tack­led with ease and, when the go­ing gets tough, low range and a dif­fer­en­tial lock con­trib­ute to off-road abil­ity that makes this Toy­ota feel nearly un­stop­pable over rough ter­rain. A short sec­tion of off-road driv­ing con­firmed the 2,4 is as ca­pa­ble as its big­ger brother, although hill-de­scent con­trol is not part of the elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol pack­age. The fact that this hard­worked test unit dis­played no qual­ity is­sues with more than 20 000 km on the clock is tes­ta­ment to its build and in­tegrity.

The ride is typ­i­cal bodyon-chas­sis fare, with a con­stant shimmy. Han­dling-wise, the For­tuner feels more nim­ble than some of its com­peti­tors but care is needed when ap­proach­ing a set of curves, as body roll and a lack of steer­ing feel can make cor­ner­ing at speed a ner­vous ex­pe­ri­ence.

TEST SUM­MARY

On pa­per, there are suf­fi­cient dif­fer­ences in spec­i­fi­ca­tion and per­for­mance be­tween the 2,4- and 2,8-litre For­tuners to war­rant the price gap of R130 000. In re­al­ity, how­ever, the dif­fer­ence is far less pro­nounced. The bud­get in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem can eas­ily be swapped for a For­tuner-spe­cific af­ter­mar­ket unit (see Old car,

new tricks in the Au­gust 2018 is­sue) that elim­i­nates a large part of those frus­tra­tions. As is clear from the Matchup box, Toy­ota has been clever in in­tro­duc­ing this model be­cause it fills a gap where none of its com­peti­tors have an equiv­a­lent op­tion. It not only ap­pears to of­fer great value, but might just be the most sen­si­ble buy in this seg­ment. If you need ro­bust of­froad per­for­mance and an au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, this model is equally the pick of the For­tuner litter. Third row of seat­ing fold­ing to the sides is still an irk­some fea­ture, but space in that row is suf­fi­cient even for adults.

clock­wise from above Rear legroom is ex­cel­lent; in­fo­tain­ment cen­tre and ba­sic air-con­di­tion­ning clues to cost-sav­ing; still a proper 4x4 with low range and rear diff lock; satellite but­tons for the au­dio and phone con­trol re­main, but not for the in­stru­ment clus­ter dis­play; only the 2,4 badge dis­tin­guishes the lit­tle brother.

Some third-row pack­ag­ing is­sues aside, an ex­cel­lent fam­ily car Terence Steenkamp

Can’t stretch to the 2,8 4x4 AT? This will do nicely Ni­col Louw

En­gine’s a bit gruff but other­wise an im­pres­sive pack­age Gareth Dean

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