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Adventure vehicle test: Toyota Fortuner Crusade

Adventures

THE VEHICLE 

The diesel-only seven-seat Fortuner is being offered here in three variants: GX, GXL and top-of-the-range Crusade. All have the proven 2.8-litre four-cylinder common-rail direct-injection turbo-diesel engine with a six-speed manual or auto box (an additional $2000). Maximum power and torque is 130kW and 450Nm (auto); 420Nm for the manual. Braked towing capacity is listed as 3000kg (manual) and 2800kg (auto). 

Fuel consumption is a claimed 7.8L/100km (combined) for the manual and 8.6L/100km (auto). 

Fortuner’s standard features include air-conditioning, rear differential lock, touch-screen audio display with Toyota Link connected mobility, cruise control, side steps and 17-inch steel wheels with “all-terrain tyres”. Toyota says it expects to achieve the maximum five-star safety rating as all variants are equipped with stability and active traction control, seven airbags, reversing camera, trailer sway control, hill-start assist control and rake-and-reach adjustments for the steering column. It includes three top-tether anchors and two ISOFIX child-seat mounts. Cargo capacity ranges from 200 to 1080 litres when packed to the top of the seat backs. 

Standard equipment also includes durable fabric seat-coverings with contrast stitching, projector-style headlamps, LED tail-lamps, an air-conditioned cool box, Bluetooth connectivity, six speakers, three 12V accessory sockets, audio and phone controls mounted on the steering wheel, eco and power drive modes and a multi-information display (MID) in the instrument cluster.

Top-of-the range Crusade expands the luxury with a leather-accented interior (available in fawn or dark brown), satellite navigation, power tailgate, climate-control air-conditioning, bi-LED headlamps, 18-inch alloy wheels (including the spare), 220V socket and a power-operated driver’s seat. It is priced from $59,990 (+ORC).

THE DRIVE

We focused on the Crusade (RRP $61,990 in Phantom Brown, an extra $550) for this launch review.

The drive program took us from Port Augusta through the Flinders Ranges, Rawnsley Park Station, and into Wilpena Pound with great 4WDing included.

Driving position is nice, high and secure; the seats are comfortable and offer plenty of support. Steering is rake- and reach-adjustable. The paddle shifts will seem like a nice touch for some, but we reckon they’re wasted here. Visibility from the driver’s seat is more than generous with open spaces all-round.

On-road, the Fortuner is open-road smooth at all times, quiet and stable. Steering is not as direct as some might expect, although it’s not a surprise given it’s an SUV. It can be a bit vague – and there was a touch of understeer on our tester – but nothing problematic. The 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine and six-speed auto are a tasty combo.

Ride was firm but not overly so.

Off-road, the Fortuner was a champion. The Fortuner tackled everything the two 4WD test courses threw at it with HiLux-like (or -lite) ease. No surprise there because it has HiLux’s body-on-frame set-up as well as its 4WD gear. It differs in that it has coil springs at the rear, not HiLux’s leaf springs. The switchable 4WD system has high and low range. There is also a manually lockable rear diff and a very steady Downhill Assist.

THE VERDICT

The Fortuner is a great looking vehicle that drives well on-road, and has real off-road capability. We reckon the Fortuner will shake up the mid/large 4WD wagon market and be a big hit for Toyota.