We review Toyota’s Fortuner sport-utility vehicle (SUV) – a name derived from the adverb fortunate – quite apt as one of Toyota’s main objectives was to make it possible for many to own the SUV of their dreams.

A no compromise vehicle

And all indications are that they have succeeded. Although the Fortuner opens up the fun and enjoyment of SUV motoring to a new segment of buyers, it is a no compromise vehicle. It boasts a stylish, modern exterior design together with a stable, comfortable ride and dependable performance both on- and off-road.

Sporty and sleek

Filling the market gap between Toyota’s high-end Hilux Double Cab Raider models and top-end luxury SUVs like the Land Cruiser Prado, the Fortuner’s overall appearance is sporty and sleek. This is due to the fact that the design team focused on creating a well- proportioned vehicle with a flowing style.

The cab is placed well forward to create a masculine yet easy-on-the-eye look, while rearward sloping pillars and a wraparound rear windscreen provide the illusion of a vehicle that is wider than it actually is.

One of the prime design criteria was that the Fortuner should fully fit the SUV image, not just in exterior appearance but inside the cabin as well. Thus, opening any of the doors exposes a well-designed, stylish and spacious interior with a luxury appeal.

Seats feature car-like comfort

Price: From R300 100 To R363 200


Seating comfort is more car-like than anything else. Two sports-type bucket seats are provided in front, while the second row of seats provides space for three adults. It also features a 60/40 split with a tumble function to provide easy access to the two rearmost seats. The latter have a 50/50 split configuration and can be folded away independently.

Sliding rear seat means room to stretch legs

One of the main drawbacks of smaller SUVs is that in some cases legroom for rear passengers is at somewhat of a premium. To combat this, the rear seat of the Fortuner offers a slide function, meaning that – if the rearmost seats are not in use – it can be moved way back and passengers can literally stretch their legs.

Speaking of legs, Toyota engineers ensured that the performance element of the Fortuner was not neglected. For the South African market two engines are specified. The first, a 4-litre V6 petrol unit with intelligent variable valve timing (VVT-i), produces 175 kW at 5 200 r/min and 343 Nm of torque between 2 400 and 4 800 r/min.

The other is a 3-litre, common-rail, direct-injection, turbocharged diesel powerplant producing 120 kW at 3 400 r/min and 343 Nm of torque at 1 400 to 3 200 r/min.

Five models in the range

Catering for just about every SUV taste, there are a total of five models in the range. All have essentially the same interior specification level but differ in the choice of drivetrain.

Buyers wanting full SUV functionality – including extensive off-road use –  can choose from either the 4-litre V6 petrol unit with intelligent variable valve timing (VVTi) or the 3-litre, common-rail, direct-injection, turbocharged diesel powerplant. Both are mated to full-time four-wheel drive and a five-speed manual transmission.

A five-speed automatic transmission is also available, but only mated to the 4-litre petrol engine.

You can exclude the 4X4 capability too

For buyers who crave the status and style associated with an SUV but don’t necessarily require 4×4 capability, there are two so-called raised body variants. They are powered by the same 4-litre V6 petrol and 3-litre diesel engine as their four-wheel drive siblings, offer the same practicality and functionality, but are less expensive.

And aggressive pricing (ranging from R300 100 to R363 200) with numerous added value elements is basically what the Fortuner is all about. To this end, service intervals on the V6-petrol engine models are 15 000 kilometres, while the 3-litre diesel models have a 10 000-kilometre service interval.

A three-year/90 000 kilometre service plan is included in the price and warranty cover is three years or 100 000 kilometres. For additional peace of mind, free 24-hour roadside assistance is just a phone call away during the warranty period.

Competitively priced replacement parts

Come time for a service, owners will also be pleasantly surprised to find that the replacement parts basket of the Fortuner is very competitively priced. This is largely due to the fact that the high-volume global nature of this product, together with the drive to maximise component manufacturing efficiencies, has been fed through the system to the vehicle owner.

Read all about the optional accessories

Incidentally, the Fortuner comes with a whole range of optional accessories, all approved by Toyota Motor Corporation. They all carry a Toyota genuine accessory warranty of 12 months and do not impact on the vehicle warranty in any way.

The list includes a bluetooth kit, a child restraint seat, a removable towbar, a range of nudge bars, a bullbar, sidesteps, reverse sensors, a roofrack, bicycle racks, a cargo net, stainless-steel scuff plates and mats for the load area.

Lots of reasons to buy one

Seems there are just so many good reasons to buy a Fortuner. So if you’re lucky enough to own one, spare a thought for those less fortunate drivers whose eyes are probably burning a hole in your door. They’re just jealous.