With the current South African economic climate, more and more consumers are looking at affordability and value for money in product offerings. This is no different for vehicle purchasing patterns. Toyota believes it offers a lot of value for money with its Fortuner offering for consumers who are looking for a 7-seater 4×4 offering under R700,000. Consumers appear to be responding positively to this value proposition from Toyota as the Fortuner is the best-selling vehicle in its segment. We recently had the opportunity to spend time with the flagship Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Auto and the vehicle just makes sense to us as a good value proposition.
On approach, the Fortuner gives a muscular-looking feel in a good way and screams adventure. The Fortuner’s design is based on the Toyota bakkie Hilux which is why it gives the rugged look. It is a big car that is quite capable with a ground clearance of 279 mm to ensure you have no problems climbing over any off-roading obstacles or that odd side parking over a pavement if necessary. The Fortuner comes at a length of 4,795 mm and height of 1,835 mm.
Our Fortuner came in a dark charcoal colour which was contrasted with chrome finishes on the grille, around the headlights, the spotlights and the side door handles. This all added to the good looks of the vehicle. It also came with LED headlights and daytime. The Fortuner came with 18-inch alloy wheels and mud flaps for those off-roading mud adventures. Our Fortuner’s tailgate was electronically operated and the vehicle also came with a tow bar.
On the interior front, the Fortuner has a plush interior with a combination of dark brown leather, quality black plastics, silver inlay touches and dark brown wooden finishes to give it a premium feel. Our 7 seater Forturner came in a dark brown leather colour and the dashboard was dawned by a combination of dark brown leather and dark brown wood finish. Even the steering wheel is a combination of dark brown leather and a brown wooden finish.
Our Fortuner came with electrically adjustable driver seat, cruise control, a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, climate control, rear-view camera, electrically folding mirrors, 7 airbags and an integrated navigation system. We must admit, we found the cruise control function button to be inconveniently placed as it was difficult to find as it was placed on the bottom right part of the steering wheel. For the entertainment value, the Fortuner’s infotainment system is integrated with a 7-inch touch-screen with DVD capability, Bluetooth, USB and aux support and a decent sound speaker system. The Fortuner also has a rotary dial to switch between 2H, 4H and 4L depending on the terrain you are driving on. You hardly struggle for space in the Fortuner for road trip essentials such water or coffee – the Fortuner comes with various storage space and bottle holders to store away the beverages for the trip.
The cabin is also quite spacious and offers both front and back passengers (second row) ample legroom and space for long trips. We found the third row of seats to be a bit tight but it definitely provides sufficient space for smaller occupants and children for long trips. The second and third rows have their own climate control vents which ensures that there is sufficient ventilation for the third row and second row passengers. Although we found the second row to have sufficient space, we did find that the space is a bit tighter when compared with competitors. The seats in the second and third rows both come with a recline function. Taken as a whole, we found the Fortuner’s interior to be quite compelling for the price of the vehicle.
The Fortuner has a good driving position and gives the driver a feeling of being central and in command given its high ride position. Our Fortuner was powered by a 2.8litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine with a 130kW of power and 450Nm of torque. The Fortuner’s gearbox is a 6-speed automatic transmission. Although the Fortuner has a decent launch at take-off on the normal drive mode, we immediately felt the difference in power delivery when we had the Power Mode button on. The Fortuner’s 130kW and 450Nm of toque is more than adequate to carry its large frame and delivers on the open road when overtaking.
The drive of the Fortuner feels smooth and refined on all terrain whether on the tar road or on a gravel road. We also found the vehicle to be versatile, in that it is a very good daily drive to the office where we even forgot we were driving an SUV and it is also a serious and capable off-roading machine when called upon. This speaks to the value proposition being offered by the vehicle to potential consumers. Although we did not do much off-roading, we got to take the Fortuner on a bit of a road trip that entailed a drive on gravel road and it felt planted and stable on the gravel road, we did not feel any rear shakes or rattle during the drive on the gravel road. When we were on the tar road, the drive was smooth and it did not feel like we were driving an off-road vehicle.
We were also impressed with the Fortuner’s fuel consumption and we managed to do a fuel consumption of 8.1L/100km on our road trip to the Free State Province, which was better than the Toyota claimed fuel consumption of 8.5L/100km. On the daily drives to the office, we averaged about 9.1L/100km mostly due to the short distance and the various and stop start occasioned by the traffic lights. Overall, we find the Fortuner to be a great vehicle and it is easy to understand why it leading the sales in South Africa for its segment.
The Fortuner range starts at R477,600 and our 2.8 specific model starts at R657,800 and packs way more features than the standard model. The price includes a three-year/100,000km warranty and a five-year/90,000km service plan.
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