DRIVEN: Updated Toyota Fortuner is a golden oldie

Published Sep 29, 2023


By: Mpho Mahlangu

It goes without saying that the Toyota Fortuner is one of South Africa’s most loved SUVs, and now having received a facelift, the firm aims to continue its sales success story. We recently spent time with the range-topping version of the latest Fortuner, the 2.8 GD-6 4x4 VX.

Looks wise, the Fortuner now benefits from a new, more aerodynamically efficient front fascia, with new and sharply angular front and rear bumpers featuring aero-corner moulding. This is complimented by black trapezoidal foglamp housings at the front and L-shaped reflector inserts at the rear of the Fortuner.

The grille is now slimmer and flanked by split-quad LED headlights with a waterfall LED Line Guide Signature. L-shaped LED daytime running lights are also on duty, with sequential LED indicator lamps reserved for 2.8 models. Lower down, a grey contrasting skid plate is also on duty.

At the rear, the updated Fortuner boasts redesigned taillights, a piano black number plate garnish and black badging for the entire model range. Also new to the updated Fortuner is the addition of the all-new two-tone black and metal 18-inch machine-cut alloy wheels which are now standard across the range.

A bi-tone colour option for 2.8 models is on offer for customer to choose from and pairs up with a black roof with the exclusive Platinum Pearl exterior, which is also now available across the range.

Overall, the updates to the Fortuner’s styling have put it on par with competitors in the looks department. The improvements to the styling should keep the Fortuner looking modern until it is replaced by the new model.

Inside, the Fortuner remains largely unchanged apart from the addition of a two-tone black and maroon colour pairing on 2.8 models. Maroon stitching is also present on various surfaces in the cabin. 2.8 models further benefit from a revised instrument cluster which boasts new graphics and a new start-up animation for the TFT display.

Overall the cabin is a pleasant place to be in, however it’s beginning to show its age. I can’t help but shake the feeling that perhaps the recent update to the Fortuner might have been a missed opportunity to modernise the interior a little more.

Another gripe of mine was the third row of seats, which when folded away for more boot space, create a terrible blind spot as they sit against the window at the far rear. There is a blind spot monitor system fitted however nothing beats having a look over your shoulder to check your blind spot for yourself.

That said, the cabin is quite spacious, and offers good practicality and convenience thanks to niceties such as decent storage bins, heated front seats, two USB C ports, a 100W power outlet and climate control for the rear passengers.

As a family-hauling SUV, safety is paramount and as such, you will be happy to learn that the 2022 model year 2.8 Fortuner received several safety enhancements as part of the Toyota Safety Sense suite of driver assistance technologies, and these include a Lane Keeping System with Lane Departure Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control, and a brake-synchronised Pre-Crash System.

A smart entry system with enhanced security measures as we know how popular the Fortuner is when it comes to theft, has also been fitted across all Fortuner models to combat theft.

As a reminder, the Fortuner boasts a full set of airbags, ABS with EBD, Vehicle Stability Control and Traction Control (VX models receive electronic Active Traction Control), Hill Assist Control and Trailer Sway Control as part of the standard amenities.

Fortuner 4x4 models also receive a low-range transfer case, with all models receiving a rear differential lock as standard.

Although I couldn’t take our tester off the beaten track, colleagues inform me that the Fortuner isn’t just an urban jungle warrior. Although not many owners will be taking it off-roading, it’s pleasing to know that it’s capable should the going get tough.

Under the hood of our 2.8 GD-6 4x4 VX tester is as the name would suggest, a 2.8-litre turbodiesel mill delivering 150kW and 500Nm of torque via a 6-speed automatic transmission. Power delivery is more than sufficient in and around town, and equally as impressive on the open road. Overtaking manoeuvres require little to no careful planning, which does inspire confidence in you as the driver.

A gripe of mine however during my time with the Fortuner was its steering feel which I found to be cumbersome especially in the urban jungle, where most of its life span will be spent. At higher speeds on the open road, the steering feel does however come into its own.

Speaking of the open road, the Fortuner boasts decent comfort levels, with relatively low noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) levels too. Cabin insulation also deserves a thumbs up as it proved to be rather impressive.

The Toyota Fortuner range kick starts at R673 100, with our test unit coming in at R942 900.

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