New Toyota Fortuner a seven-seater for the 'burbs and bush
Toyota reveals changes to its Fortuner wagon, riding hard on the heels of the updated HiLux ute
While the Toyota HiLux ute and Fortuner wagon might not look much alike, the two share similar mechanical DNA, meaning the seven-seat Fortuner has been the beneficiary of similar styling, equipment and technical upgrades as the recently updated HiLux.
Toyota pitches the Fortuner as a diesel alternative to the V6 petrol-only Kluger and an affordable choice for those who aspire to a LandCruiser.
However, the affordability of the face-lifted Fortuner has taken a hit with prices rising to $49,080 (+ $3115) for the GX, $54,350 (+ $3560) for the GXL, and $61,410 (+ $3120) for the Crusade.
On the up side, this 2020 model Fortuner offers stronger performance and improved fuel economy, thanks to revisions to its 1GD 2.8-litre turbo-diesel. The engine’s peak outputs rise to 150kW and 500Nm (previously 130kW and 450Nm), the same as the latest Hilux.
The performance gains come courtesy of a new water-cooled heavy-duty ball-bearing turbo, with variable nozzle vane mechanism. Engine rigidity, cooling and other efficiency measures are also part of the re-engineering effort.
Importantly, the engine’s maximum torque is now available across a wider rev range of 1600 to 2800 RPM, delivering better acceleration and towing performance. The Fortuner’s towing capacity has also been increased by a handy 300kg to a maximum braked capacity of 3100kg.
The new model’s official combined fuel consumption figure has dropped to 7.6 litres/100km, a meaningful litre per 100km better than the old model, while the urban cycle drops from 11 litres/100km to 9.1 litres/100km. For the maths nerds out there, that’s a reduction of 11.6% and 17.3% respectively.
Toyota claims the use of a new variable-flow power steering pump delivers easier steering at parking speeds thanks to more assistance, while there’s a more direct and connected feel at highway speeds. We’re yet to test the new Fortuner so will have to take their word for it.
Parking should also now be a little easier, thanks to the addition of standard front sensors, complementing the existing rear park sensors.
Like the HiLux, the Fortuner boasts an impressive suite of Toyota Safety Sense technologies including a pre-collision safety system with pedestrian detection (day and night) and cyclist detection (daytime), lane departure alert with steering assist, and high-speed active cruise control.
Cosmetic changes include a revised front end centred on a larger black grille, and a restyled lower front bumper. Slimmer Bi-LED headlamps add a more aggressive appearance, while top-spec Crusade models gain higher grade headlamps and new taillight design. GX and GXL models retain 17-inch alloy wheels, while the up-spec Crusade gets new 18-inch alloys with a flanged-spoke design.
Getting into the nitty gritty, the GX and GXL interiors change to a dark grey fabric trim, with the Crusade available in black or fawn leather.
There are some modest changes to the updated instrument dials, with a new font, satin finish surround and a 4.2-inch multi-information display. The latter provides a handy front-tyre angle symbol, as well as the all-important diesel particulate filter status.
Range-wide, new features include a larger 8.0-inch multi-media screen with button control instead of touch, which Toyota rightly points out will be easier for people to use when bumping along a back track.
The multi-media system features enhanced voice activation and can now access Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and the myToyota app, which enables third-party companion apps such as Waze, AccuWeather and Stitcher.
Satnav and DAB+ digital radio are standard on the GXL and can be optioned on the GX models for a reasonable $1000. Other standard kit on the GXL includes automatic climate control, keyless smart entry and start, roof rails, LED fog lamps, privacy glass and downhill assist control.
For those wanting to go the whole hog, Crusade buyers can enjoy eight-way power adjustable front seats with leather accents, also now available on the GXL as a $2500 option.
The Crusade also boasts an electro-chromatic rear-view mirror, darker wood grain-look trim on the centre console, a power tailgate and 11-speaker JBL sound system.
Toyota Australia Vice-President Sales and Marketing, Sean Hanley, predicted that lifestyle vehicles such as Kluger and Fortuner would become increasingly attractive to buyers as COVID-related international travel restrictions continued to bite and domestic escapes soared in popularity.