Without fear of overstatement, the Toyota Fortuner is one SUV that definitely needs no introduction.
It has firmly entrenched itself in the local marketplace and has been a runaway success since its inception way back in 2006. Now in its second generation, the 7-seat Fortuner continues to offer the perfect blend of styling, versatility, off-road prowess and practicality.
Forming part of the Innovative Modular Vehicle (IMV) platform and sharing mechanical componentry with the revered Hilux, the Toyota Fortuner has found mass appeal with the South African public.
For 2020, the design and engineering teams focused on amplifying those core attributes that have made it so successful – sharpened styling, enhanced specification levels and improved performance all forming part of the brief.
New Flagship Grade
While a two-tier grade strategy (entry and mid) has been in place since introduction, changing market requirements have led to the introduction of a new ‘range-topper’ in the form of the new 2.8 GD-6 VX.
The VX suffix is employed on Toyota’s other SUV ranges (RAV4, Prado and Land Cruiser 200) and denotes the highest specification level on offer.
The design team focused on retaining the characteristic profile of Fortuner while accentuating and refreshing the façade.
At the front a larger, blacked-out grille with wave-like mesh pattern (gloss finish on VX) is accompanied by a silver-accented “skid-plate” underrun for a tougher, more integrated look.
Re-profiled Bi-LED headlamps provide a sleeker look and these are further enhanced by prominent chrome accent strips that bridge the grille and headlamp assemblies.
The Bi-LED headlamps now feature striking scalloped DRL light guides and are joined by LED fog lamps and strip-like LED turn-signal elements in the lower bumper. At night, these strip lights double as additional puddle lighting.
On the VX-grade, the side profile is enhanced with a thin, chrome belt-line that extends towards the rear, effectively wrapping around the vehicle, and complementing the other chrome detailing.
New tail lamp units with integrated light guides, help deliver a more striking night-time signature.
A roof spoiler and Fortuner-emblazoned centre garnish complete the rear view. The overall result is a sleeker, more premium presentation while retaining the rugged curb-appeal that Fortuner is renowned for.
A total of seven exterior colours are on offer, with Oxide Bronze joining the colour palette (replacing Avant Garde Bronze).
Glacier White, Chromium Silver, Graphite Grey and Attitude Black provide the neutral tones, while Cosmic Blue and Chestnut Brown remain the more expressive hues on offer.
Wheels & Tyres
The 2.4 GD-6 models retain their 17-inch alloy wheels shod with 265-65-R17 rubber while the 2.8 GD-6 variants receive a stylish new 18-inch alloy wheel with turbine design and metallic surface treatment – employing 265-60-R18 tyres.
One of the key change points, is the shift to a black interior, in line with market requests.
The previously employed brown-leather interior has been replaced by sophisticated black ‘hide’ with silver contrast stitching.
High-brightness treatment has also been applied to the accent areas of the interior, resulting in a more premium atmosphere both visually and tactility.
A new instrument cluster design has been employed with metallic-blue dial faces, white needle pointers and a simple, elegant font – complementing the blue interior lighting.
These are augmented by an expanded, centrally-mounted Multi-Information Display.
An all-new 8-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality now calls Fortuner home.
This allows users to mirror applications off their mobile phone – for seamless connectivity.
Navigation applications such as Google Maps and Waze are natively included and occupants can also access their music libraries and streaming accounts via apps like Apple Music, JOOX, Spotify and SoundCloud.
Wireless telephony is supported via Bluetooth with a USB input for additional media options.
The 2.8 GD-6 models (mid and VX) are also equipped with embedded Audio Visual Navigation (AVN).
Power & Performance
The mechanicals have not been forgotten, as the output of the 2.8 GD-6 engine has been boosted by 20kW to 150kW, with an additional 50Nm on offer, bringing the figure to 500Nm.
Toyota engineers have improved performance and fuel economy simultaneously by adopting a larger, heavy-duty turbocharger with a ball-bearing cartridge for exceptionally crisp and strong throttle response, and a new common-rail injection system with a higher maximum fuel pressure of 250 MPa.
Higher outputs in the 1GD engine have also been supported by improvements including a new, coated cylinder-head gasket, revised higher-rigidity cylinder block and new exhaust manifold and gasket materials.
Further cooling measures include a reshaped water jacket, revised cooling fan and fan coupling.
Fuel economy also benefits from a new combustion chamber that reduces cooling losses and more efficient exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) in the intake manifold.
A water-cooled double-pipe pre-cooler results in optimum EGR gas temperature.
The fuel index ranges from 6.8 to 7.9 litres per 100 kilometres (depending on engine and drivetrain configuration).
With the aim of improving refinement and reducing NVH levels, a balance shaft has been incorporated into the 1GD engine architecture.
The above changes have been made in pursuit of offering an elevated driving experience without compromising the core Toyota values of ‘QDR’.
The six-speed automatic transmission in turn has been recalibrated to allow earlier lockup for improved acceleration and cooling performance, especially while towing.
The towing capacity of 2.4 GD-6 4×4 models has seen a significant increase of 800kg, now registering 3.3 tons and matching that of the 2.8 GD-6 4×4 model.
Subsequently, 2.8 GD-6 4×4 models now also boast a towing capacity of 3300kg (an increase of 300kg over the outgoing model).
Ride & Handling
Underpinning the model, is the proven body-on-frame construction of the IMV platform.
In Fortuner execution, this comprises double-wishbone suspension at the front with a four-link arrangement in the rear – all using coil springs.
This layout serves to offer an excellent balance between wheel travel, durability and ride comfort.
Variable Flow Control
All models benefit from a new variable-flow control (VFC) power-steering pump that improves fuel economy while delivering a more natural driving feel that varies depending on the driving conditions.
A high level of assistance is offered at low speeds (parking manoeuvres) while offering lower levels of assistance at higher cruising speeds, in order to improve steering feel.
A specific mode for low-range, off-road driving has also been included.
All Fortuner models come comprehensively equipped, in-line with their lifestyle usage.
The 2.4 GD-6 variants now also include Park Distance Control (PDC) alongside full LED lighting, cruise control and touchscreen infotainment with aforementioned CarPlay and Android Auto.
A new Multi-Information Display (MID) screen now includes a large, digital-speed read out and steering wheel angle indicator (for enhanced off-road usability).
These are joined by the base specification items such as one-touch power windows, reverse camera, steering switches, air-conditioned upper glovebox, multiple 12-volt power outlets, cup/bottle holders and a tilt & telescopic adjustable steering column.
The 2.8 GD-6 ‘mid-grade’ adds an electro-chromatic rear view mirror, power seat adjustment for both driver and passenger, climate control as well as rear fog lamps.
A leather steering wheel, leather dashboard accents and matte wood-trim – complete the interior offering.
The new VX model boasts seat heating (driver & passenger), welcome lighting and the Toyota Safety Sense system.
Safety & Security
Making its debut in Fortuner is the Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) safety system.
TSS integrates a Pre-collision system, Lane Departure Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control and road sign recognition – to offer drivers additional peace of mind.
TSS joins the existing array of airbags, ISOFIX, seatbelt pre-tensioners and a full suite of active safety aids (ABS, EBD, Brake Assist, VSC, Trailer Sway Control, Traction Control).
As before, 4×4 models also include Downhill Assist Control (DAC).
A comprehensive anti-theft system, speed-dependent auto-door lock function and keyless entry is included across the board.
All models are also equipped with the Toyota Connect telematics system which includes an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot and complimentary 15Gb data.
Once linked to their profile, customers can manage their vehicle via the MyToyota App.
This intuitive app allows on-demand service bookings, vehicle information and history, tracking data as well as Toyota Connect data recharge services and much more – latterly even including the ability to renew your vehicle license online.
Warranty and Maintenance
All Fortuner models come with a 3-year/100 000 km warranty. A 9-services/90 000 km service plan is standard on all models (service intervals of 10 000 km or 12-months). Customers can also purchase extended service plans and warranty packages via their Toyota dealer.
Model Line-up and Pricing
Fortuner 2.4 GD-6 RB 6MT – R 566 800
Fortuner 2.4 GD-6 RB 6AT – R 588 000
Fortuner 2.4 GD-6 4X4 6AT – R 616 700
Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 RB 6AT – R 700 100
Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 4X4 6AT – R 770 400
Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 RB VX 6AT – R 720 200
Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 4X4 VX 6AT – R 790 500
Note: 2.7 VVTi, 2.8 GD-6 Manual and 4.0 V6 models were removed from the line-up at Epic introduction