One of the most eagerly awaited new-version SUVs must be the Toyota Fortuner. The new model, which is the second generation of this ever-popular family SUV, has broken the mould. Gone are the square, rugged looks as well as the Hilux look and feel. With its small elegant front and rear light clusters, the new Fortuner has a new, softer look. The front fender is more bulging than that of its predecessor and the wheel archers are square, giving the vehicle more of a Landcruiser look than a Hilux. This, I am sure, all Fortuner drivers will appreciate. The last big change is the rear window that covers the load bay or third row of seats and has shrunk for the sake of silhouette looks. This may do away with some practicality, but adds so much to the look.
Inside, the new Fortuner has a revised dashboard and the centre console now has vertical columns that run all the way to the bottom of the console. This again is more in keeping with the SUV look than a bakkie. The overall look is much more refined than the original and the vehicle feels somewhat roomier. That said, I personally do not approve of the brown and black material covering the dash and interior. To me, the charcoal grey exterior does not match the brown leather interior.
The new engine and auto gearbox work well and there is far less noise from the engine bay. On the whole the car feels more refined but it still does drive hard, especially in four-wheel-drive mode. This I learnt the hard way as I mistakenly left the car in four-wheel-drive mode and as I got onto the tarmac, the car felt hard and overly bouncy. As I switched back to two-wheel drive at the turn of the dial, the car settled into a much more acceptable ride.
This new Fortuner is as capable as the old one and drives a lot better on the road – which was the biggest criticism of the first-generation version.
In conclusion, the new Fortuner is a big leap forward on the original and has improved in many areas –especially on road drive comfort and ergonomics of the cabin. However, it still has the two fold-away seats that seem to take up space even when not in use. This is something I think Toyota needs to re-think.
After a week of driving on and off road, to summate this is still one of the most capable off-road SUVs that also looks good enough to drive around town.
- Engine – 2,4l 4 Cylinder Turbo Diesel
- Power – 110 kW
- Torque – 400 N.m
- 0–100 Km/H – 12,7 Seconds
- Price – From R444 500
Author: Torque Talk is a member of SAGMJ