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HomeiMoto ReviewsReview: Toyota Fortuner

Review: Toyota Fortuner

The design tweaks and technical updates have given the market leader a fighting chance against its new fierce competitor, the Everest but is it enough, we find out.

Toyota has given its Fortuner SUV an update with the aim of taking the fight to newer rivals from Ford (Everest) and ISUZU (MU-X).

The most noticeable change is upfront where the new bumper, new grille and headlight give the Fortuner a very new look. Most people thought it was a new generation Fortuner, judging by how different and more aggressive the updated design is. The new LED Daytime Running Lights on the headlamps are more up to date and work together with the LED lights placed on the lower part of the bumper. These also incorporate dynamic turn signal lights but placed so low, they are prone to easy damage for owners that take these cars off the beaten track.

Side steps are retained as before with the 18-inch wheels getting a new design. At the back, there are new LED rear lights with dynamic turn signals whilst the rear bumper also gets a revised design. The rear didn’t get as much mention as the front with some feeling the “New Model Fortuner” has kept the design of the “old model” (you can’t win them all). The lack of a sun roof does expose the Fortuner to some old buyer vibes as its most fierce competitor (Everest) comes with a large Panoramic roof.

The interior hasn’t received much changes with colour enhancements to the finish complemented by use of LED lighting (slight and sometimes not very noticeable).

The large infotainment screen is long in the tooth when compared to rivals but it is still functional. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mean there is no need for a standard Navigation but you do need a cable to connect the new tech. Storage space up front is limited and the lack of the much needed wireless charger limits smartphone user-friendliness. The JBL audio promised much but failed to deliver the sound quality and bass one expected.

Both front seats come with electrical adjustment (no memory function for both) with seat heaters coming as standard. Entry into the cabin is aided by the side steps which considering how high the Fortuner is, proved useful.

Rear seats lack user friendliness when pivoting to access the 3rd row. The seats also don’t move fore and aft but this is good for those on the 3rd row as they suffer limited leg room.

The one area which shows this is the still the current generation Fortuner is the 3rd row seating stowage on the side when not in use. This severely limits luggage space. Competition has seats that fold flat to the floor which gives vast luggage space when folded. The 2nd row is split for folding when added space is needed.

The 2.8 GD-6 engine is credited with 150kW/500Nm driving through a 6 speed auto transmission. The gearbox has been improved and is noticeable with smoother gear changes when shifting between P-R-N-D and also smoother when on the move. The test unit was the 4×4 unit which has 2WD standard with 4WD (4H/4L) selectable via a rotary switch on the centre console. The fancier All-Wheel-Drive Everest is more up to the recent trends and works better as a day to day drive especially with its multi mode drive programs. On the road drive is smooth with easy pick up from the engine whilst the drive definitely did receive some attention judging by its improvement over the pre-facelift model. Priced at R995, 400 the VX Fortuner undercuts the Everest Platinum (R1.2m) but is dearer than the MUX Onyx 4×4 (R960, 600). The Everest justifies its price with a much better V6 engine and technology whilst the cheaper ISUZU MUX needs to up its game against both rivals. The Fortuner strikes back with low maintenance also helped by its relative simple tech. The choice between the 3 boils down to personal choice with all yielding different pros and cons that directly suite their buyers.

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