2015 Toyota Fortuner GX
Toyota may be parking its vehicle manufacturing in Australia but that does not mean Aussie input into the Japanese automotive industry is winding down. Take the new Fortuner seven-seat family SUV, for example.

The wagon’s new body, wiring and key underpinnings were designed and developed by Australians, while the rugged frame, engine, all-coil suspension and strong upper body were proven Down Under in some of the world’s toughest testing.

Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb says Foruner is the biggest single development program undertaken by the company’s local engineers. “If Fortuner could speak,” he says, “it would have a strong Aussie accent.”

“At a starting price of less than $50,000, Fortuner is the turbo-diesel alternative to the similar-sized petrol-only Kluger and offers an affordable choice for those who aspire to own a LandCruiser,” he says.

Three grades are on offer – GX, GXL and Crusade – all powered by a high-torque 2.8-litre four-cylinder common-rail direct-injection turbo-diesel engine with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. The Crusade automatic, at $59,990, plus on-road costs, was the test vehicle.

The front end is right up there with the latest in SUV design with dominant grille and chrome running off to wrap around projector headlamps. A prominent front bumper with recessed foglamps helps to emphasise the vehicle’s width.

Latest design cues are continued along the flanks with flared front and rear fenders, while a distinctive beltline does a kick up to the C-pillar.

2015 Toyota Fortuner GX

Combination lamps give a sleek appearance out back, while a squared-off rear end fails to fit in, harking back to the days when the boxy LandCruiser was all the go.

A range of accessories was developed as the Fortuner, including airbag compatible bull bars and a new towbar and load distribution hitch.

There is seating for up to seven in three rows upholstered in leather, while the premium character of the cabin is reinforced with soft-touch materials round the dashboard, windscreen pillars and door trims.

Crusade occupants have the advantage of climate control air-conditioning, a stack of storage space with cup and bottle holders, compartments, trays, pockets and consoles.

An air-conditioned compartment above the glovebox can be used to cool or warm items with the capacity for two 600 ml bottles and bag hooks can be found attached to the front seat backs.

2015 Toyota Fortuner GX

All Fortuners have seven-inch touch-screen display audio systems with six speakers, auxiliary/USB port, AM/FM radio and a CD player. The screen also displays the reversing camera image and provides access to Toyota Link, which can give access to Pandora internet radio and help find fuel, a destination, weather and other assistance.

Top-of-the-range Crusade has DAB+ digital radio and satellite navigation, which expands the capability of the Toyota Link system. Other features include Bluetooth connectivity, voice recognition, steering-wheel audio and telephone controls, and power door locks, windows and mirrors.

Maximum power from the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine is 130 kW and peak torque is 450 Nm for the automatic. Braked towing capacity is 2800 kg. According to the maker, Fortuner uses just 7.8 litres per 100 kilometres for the manual and 8.6 the auto.

The Fortuner is designed for 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.

The Fortuner is a hefty vehicle, so it was a pleasant surprise to find how manoeuvrable it was in heavy street traffic and while parking in tight spots. And fuel consumption, at 6 litres per 100 kilometres on the motorway and twice that in town, likewise was unexpected.

Sharing of tough underpinnings with Toyota’s ‘unbreakable’ HiLux, the Fortuner shows prodigious off-road ability, while delivering a compliant ride expected of a premium SUV on bitumen.

The six-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission features blipping downshift in sequential mode, capable of bringing a smile to many a face, as does a ‘Power’ drive mode or ‘Eco’ mode depending on your environmental bent.
Fortuner’s seven seats are arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration. The 60/40 split-fold second-row seat has a one-touch slide and tumble feature while the 50/50 third-row seats are stowable up against the side of the cargo compartment.

Unfortunately, it’s the old story with seven-seaters. With all positions taken there is room for only 200 litres of luggage, not exactly totally accommodating. However, with the rear rows folded there is 1080 litres when packed to the top of the seat backs.

At $60,000, while some might see the Fortuner as a poor man’s LandCruiser, the Crusade variant carries enough kit and delivers convenience and comfort to match the Cruiser and its high-end rivals.


Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GX $47,990
Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GXL $52,990
Toyota Fortuner 2.8 Crusade $59,990
Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Toyota dealer for drive-away prices.

FEATURES (Crusade)
Projector-style LED headlamps, daytime running lamps
LED tail-lamps
Air-conditioned cool box
Bluetooth connectivity
Colour multi-information display
18in alloy wheels
Keyless smart entry and start
Roof rails
Reverse parking sensors
Fog lamps
Downhill assist
Leather-accented interior
Satellite navigation
Power tailgate
Climate-control air-conditioning
Bi-LED headlamps
Power driver’s seat

SPECIFICATIONS (Toyota Fortuner 2.8-litre turbo-diesel wagon)

Capacity: 2.755 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Maximum Power: 130 kW @ 3400 rpm
Maximum Torque: 450 Nm @ 1600-2400 rpm (automatic)
Fuel Type: Diesel
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.6 L/100km (automatic)
CO2 Emissions: 228 g/km

DRIVELINE: Six-speed automatic

Length: 4795 mm
Wheelbase: 2750 mm
Width: 1855 mm
Height: 1835 mm (with roof rails)
Turning Circle: 11.6 metres
Kerb Mass: 2110-2135 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 80 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

Three years / 100,000 km

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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