The Toyota Fortuner, South Africa’s most popular sport utility vehicle (SUV), has been further refined for the 2011 model year. The new model boasts a major upgrade and follows similar mid-life activity on the Toyota Hilux, with which the Fortuner shares a platform as part of Toyota’s much lauded International Innovative Multipurpose Vehicle (IMV) programme.
Manufactured in South Africa at Toyota South Africa Motors’ world class Prospecton manufacturing plant the Fortuner has exceeded all sales expectations since it was first introduced in South Africa in 2006.
“The Fortuner has been one of our greatest success stories,” says Calvyn Hamman, Senior Vice President for Sales and Marketing at Toyota South Africa Motors. “The combination of luxury, no-fuss reliability and proven off road capabilities has made it a popular choice as family vehicle and overlander alike. The Fortuner is in many respects a unique product in the South African market.”
New engine introduced to the range
The new Fortuner range also boasts with the first introduction of the new high power 2.5 D-4D VNT engine. This engine has been fitted with an electrically actuated variable nozzle turbo charger, intercooler and direct fuel injection system similar to that of the 3.0 D-4D engine.
“The 2.5 D-4D VNT Fortuner was designed in response to changes in market demands and requests from customers who wanted a less luxurious entry into the Fortuner range. We believe that the new engine, coupled with changes to the list of specifications, has answered all these questions and offers extremely good value,” says Hamman.
The new Toyota Fortuner 2.5 D-4D VNT will only be available in 4×2 configuration and the engine will be mated to Toyota’s popular 5 speed manual gearbox.
Bold new design language
The significantly upgraded Toyota Fortuner shares many styling cues with its brother, the recently upgraded Toyota Hilux. The design changes have however been adapted to specifically suit the Fortuner’s position in the SUV market, while simultaneously ensuring that it has a bolder, more aggressive presence on the road.
The styling changes are most visible at the front of the vehicle. The striking new grille has a trapezoidal shape with bold horizontal slats and prominent chrome detailing.
The grille is flanked by new clear headlight clusters that feature in-cluster design elements such as an individually packaged driving and high beam lights and ribbed covering for the indicators. The lights on the 3.0 D-4D and 4.0 V6 models are now equipped with high impact discharge bulbs (HID) and offer auto levelling. They are also equipped with an auto lights-on sensor. The headlamps protrude slightly outward to provide a starting point for the vehicle’s strong shoulder line.
The new bonnet has a strongly defined bulge where the lines flow from the front windscreen across the length of the bonnet and into the grille. Toyota has also fitted a new air intake on the D-4D models that are wider and centrally mounted, thereby providing a more aggressive presence and optimising air flow to the intercooler.
The front bumper is completely new and features a darkened centre section and new fog light designs. The bumper is squarer in design and was penned to emphasise the bold and aggressive styling direction, while the bonnet shut lines flow down into character lines on the front bumper.
Underneath the new bumper one can find an additional engine cover that was designed to optimise air flow underneath the vehicle and thereby improve steering response and driving stability. This feature can also be found on the new Hilux.
Viewed in profile the Fortuner now features new overfenders with rear flowing character lines. These lines pick up on the cues from the front lights and create a sense of forward movement. This is also strengthened by the fact that the 3.0 D-4D and 4.0 V6 models also feature privacy glass on rear passenger and luggage compartment windows.
Tied to the side profile design changes are the inclusion of new alloy wheel designs and the adoption of 17 inch alloy wheels on all models. The full sized spare wheel also features a full alloy wheel, which is securely locked at the rear of the vehicle.
The new Fortuner features the integration of the side indicators into the side mirrors, which are now colour coded on all models. The side mirrors are electrically retractable.
The major design changes are carried to the rear, where the rear light clusters now feature individually styled rear light units behind clear glass.
Linking the two rear lights is a chromed number plate garnish with the Fortuner name moulded into the unit. A reverse camera (on the 3.0 D-4D and 4.0 V6 models) hides neatly behind the new garnish.
Rounding off the design changes is a new square rear bumper, which was designed to offer a smoother transition between the luggage door and the bumper. A roof mounted spoiler with in-built LED stop lamp is now fitted to all models.
The Fortuner will be available in 7 colours thanks to the addition of Silky Gold and Dark Steel Mica to the range. Dark Steel Mica will become available in the first quarter of 2012. The other colours in the range are Glacier White, Sterling Silver Metallic, Pacific Blue Metallic, Charcoal Grey Metallic and Eclipse Black Metallic.
Significantly upgraded and more luxurious cabin
The Fortuner has always been highly regarded for its list of creature comforts offering good value at the price. This has been further strengthened with the introduction of the new range.
The first striking feature that will catch one’s eye is the newly designed instrument cluster which now features a single unit with chrome detailing and a more squared off design. The instrument cluster features Toyota’s luxury Optitron instrumentation with finely detailed gauges and blue accented graphics.
The centre console and lower placed rows of buttons, on the lower section of the centre console and to the right of the driver, has also been redesigned. The 3.0 D-4D and 4.0 V6 models now feature Toyota’s Display Audio system with a 15.5 cm TFT touch screen. The Display Audio system displays audio information, including iPod cover art and track listings from an USB memory stick, an iPod or music streamed from any Bluetooth enabled device. All models now feature a USB/iPod jack and audio-in connector.
The Display Audio system also features images relayed from the in-built reverse camera.
The 3.0 D-4D and 4.0 V6 models will also feature automatic climate control systems, while the new 2.5 D-4D VNT will offer a manually controlled air-conditioning system. All models will offer a separate air-conditioning system for rear passengers, which can be deactivated by the driver and controlled by rear passengers.
Other design changes to the interior include a dark wood grain highlights package on the centre console and doors for 3.0 D-4D and 4.0 V6 models, new bright accents on the gear knob, doors and parking brake, a redesigned overhead storage console and roof lining and electric seat adjustment for the driver on the 3.0 D-4D and 4.0 V6 models.
All models will further feature a new steering wheel with silver accents, high volume foam padding and controls for the audio and multi-information display system. The 3.0 D-4D and 4.0 V6 will add leather and dark wooden trim, controls for the cruise control system and Bluetooth system on the steering wheel and leather covering on the gear knob as well.
To add to the premium interior feel Toyota’s designers have darkened the upper sections of the dashboard and door trim.
All versions of the upgraded Fortuner are equipped with seven seats, of which the 2nd row of seats can split in a 60/40 configuration and unclip to tumble forward. The 3rd row of seats can slide, split in 50/50 configuration and fold up to the sides in a space-up configuration to further increase the load area.
The Fortuner further offers ample storage space for all passengers, a centre arm rest for the 2nd row of seats, rear privacy glass on the 3.0 D-4D and 4.0 V6 models and electric windows all round. The 3.0 D-4D and 4.0 V6 models offer leather trim for all seats, while the 2.5 D-4D VNT model is equipped with luxury cloth seat trim.
Toyota has always been known for its high safety standards and the new Fortuner is no different. All versions of the Fortuner features a driver and passenger airbag, ABS brakes with electronic brake force distribution (EBD), emergency brake assist (BA) and vehicle stability control (VSC).
Added to this are full three point seat belts for all passengers, with height adjustment for the front occupants, side impact beams on all doors, energy absorbing clusters in the roof, front section and in the height adjustable steering column and a manual airbag on/off switch for the front passenger.
The 3.0 D-4D and 4.0 V6 models further adds front passenger side airbags and curtain air bags that stretch for the length of the passenger area.
Two diesel and one petrol option
The Fortuner range now consists of 7 models with the option of three engines and three gearbox options.
First in line is the new 2.5 D-4D VNT turbo diesel engine. The engine is equipped with an electrically actuated variable nozzle turbo, intercooler, a common rail direct diesel injection system and double overhead cam shafts.
This engine delivers 106 kW at 3 400 rpm and a strong 343 Nm of torque in a constant band between 1 600 rpm and 2 800 rpm.
The next engine in the range is the very popular 3.0 D-4D turbo diesel. This engine has a similar configuration to the 2.5 D-4D VNT with DOHC, common rail direct injection, turbo charging and an intercooler. This engine delivers 120 kW at 3 400 rpm and 343 Nm at an even wider range than the 2.5 D-4D VNT of between 1 400 rpm and 3 200 rpm.
Both diesel engines are equipped with a powerful diesel cooling system that is located underneath the car and a new high efficiency diesel filter.
Topping the range is the powerful 4.0 V6. This engine features Toyota’s well known variable valve timing – intelligent (VVT-i) engine management system, 24 valves, Toyota’s EFI injection system and dual overhead cam shafts.
This engine delivers a heady 175 kW, which peaks at 5 200 rpm, and a strong 376 Nm of torque at 3 800 rpm.
All versions of the Fortuner are equipped with high mounted double wishbone front suspension and, in contrast to its Hilux brother’s leaf springs and rigid rear axle, it is fitted with four link independent rear suspension with a lateral control rod at the rear. All models further feature protection under the engine and fuel tank.
Two wheel drive versions are equipped with a lockable rear differential, while four wheel drive versions of the 3.0 D-4D and 4.0 V6 further adds a heavy duty transfer case and a lockable rear differential, with a Torsen limited slip centre differential. The 4×4 versions of the Fortuner are permanently in four wheel drive mode and the driver can use the transfer case to switch between 4WD High and 4WD Low.
The Fortuner 3.0 D-4D is available with the choice of 5 speed manual or 4 speed automatic gearbox, while the 2.5 D-4D VNT will only be available in manual and the 4.0 V6 only in a 5 speed automatic gearbox. The 4.0 V6 is equipped with a 5 speed automatic gearbox, which features Toyota’s artificial intelligence shift control (AI-Shift) which measures driver inputs and road conditions to ensure smooth shifting and prevents hunting between gears when driving on hilly roads or when towing.
Increased towing capacity
The Fortuner has benefitted from the same towing upgrade programme that was implemented on the upgraded Hilux range. This means that the whole range now have an upgraded towing capacity ranging from 1 715 kg on the 2.5 D-4D VNT model to 2 075 kg on the 4×2 3.0 D-4D model.
Service plan and warranty
The Fortuner range is sold with a 5 year / 90 000 km service plan and a 3 year / 100 000 km warranty. The service plan can be extended to 7 years or 220 000 km and the warranty to 6 years or 220 000 km. The warranty also includes a ToyotaCare Roadside Assistance Programme that is applicable in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland and Lesotho.
All Toyota products are now equipped with DataDot Microdot anti-theft technology.
The average price increase of the new Fortuner range was kept on average below 2%, despite the significant upgrade in specification levels.
Fortuner 2.5 D-4D VNT 4×2 RB R325 500
Fortuner 3.0 D-4D 4×2 RB R395 000
Fortuner 3.0 D-4D 4×2 RB AT R406 300
Fortuner 4.0 V6 4×2 RB AT R422 300
Fortuner 3.0 D-4D 4×4 R439 800
Fortuner 3.0 D-4D 4X4 AT R451 200
Fortuner 4.0 V6 4X4 AT R466 900