Toyota’s Fortuner is the best-selling SUV in South Africa. The good guys love it, and for some reason, so do the bad guys. When you spend some time with the vehicle, it’s easy to see how it could endear itself to two completely different crowds. As of November 2020, there’s an updated Fortuner in town, and we got behind the wheel to see what the fuss is all about.

This isn’t a complete revamp of Toyota’s prominent SUV, but rather a facelift. Fortuner has been roaming the streets of South Africa since 2006 and now in its second generation, it was time for a mild facelift. Externally, the changes are not too drastic, quite mild in fact, and once you spot them you begin to appreciate the Japanese’ effort. The grille has been tweaked ever so slightly, and not only has it been blacked-out, but it has also increased in dimensions. What you will notice immediately, however, are those new headlamps. They’ve retained their shape, but now have some additional flare through a set of strip daytime running LED lights, surrounding those new Bi-LED headlamps on either side of the Fortuner’s face. The running gear has also been tampered with in the revamped Fortuner, the 2.8 GD-6 derivatives now wear a new set of 18-inch alloys to complement the rest of the styling changes. Aside from this, there are other very minor enhancements like the chrome detailing in the VX variant, which runs from front to rear on either side of the Fortuner. 

On the road the robust SUV runs like the Hilux, and as it should since the two share a platform as well as engines. The Fortuner is the one you purchase if bakkie’s don’t throw wind into your sails but you still appreciate the reliability and off-roading prowess of a Toyota pickup. The Japs have fiddled around beneath the Fortuner’s bonnet and managed to find an extra 20kW and 150Nm from the 2.8 GD-6 engine. It now produces a total of 150kW and 500Nm, which is enough to haul the two-tonne vehicle without hassle, and of course, your choice of trailer. Speaking of such, towing capacity has also been increased because what good are the engine upgrades if they can’t get you and your hitched load in and out of the Kruger? The 2.4 GD-6 has received a bump of 800 kg in its towing capacity, while the 2.8 increases by 300 kg. This brings both variants to a total towing capacity of 3300 kg each. We must make mention of the fact that the 2.7 VVTi and 4.0 V6 drivetrains are no longer part of this new offering, Toyota says this is due to an overwhelming demand for diesel engines in this segment, which accounts for 85% of their sales.

Inside, the seven seats have remained intact, with the last row still foldable if you need to make use of that rear space for items either than humans. Of course, the second row also folds away with little fuss, offering you a glimpse of what it would be like to have a Hilux. Toyota has done away with the old brown interior, and instead, replaced it with an all-black finish. It feels more modern this way, although the instrument cluster is still lagging and feels dated. A new 8-inch infotainment system brings the Fortuner up to date with modern times through the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – to think all we had was Bluetooth connectivity before the error of smartphone mirroring. It’s amazing how quickly things change. 

More tech has been included in the different variants as well. For instance, the 2.4 GD-6 is equipped with Park Distance Control as well as cruise control as standard. Its bigger sibling in VX grade benefits from features such as driver and passenger seat heating and the new Toyota Safety Sense. This essentially combines a raft of safety features like lane departure warning, a pre-collision system, adaptive cruise control, as well as road sign recognition which reads certain road signs. For the towers, you’ll be happy to know that Trailer Sway Control is also included in this package. Toyota Connect with in-car Wi-Fi should keep everyone happy on those extended trips with the family, and it includes 15 Gigs of complementary data.

How much is the Toyota Fortuner? Look no further because we have the price list below.

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

By Gugu Masuku