2015 Toyota Fortuner GX

Based on the recently launched Toyota HiLux pickup truck, the all-new Toyota Fortuner shares many of its body-on-chassis underpinnings and mechanical components, but has a seven-seat station wagon body. For improved comfort it has a multi-link rear coil suspension unlike the HiLux which is setup as a working vehicle.

Though not generally known to Australians the Fortuner name isn’t new for Toyota, the first Fortuner, also based on a HiLux pickup of the day, was introduced in 2005 as an Asia-only workhorse. It was a roaring success, many overseas tourists saw it and the Fortuner has since gone global.

While the new Fortuner could be considered a ‘grandson’ of the old Toyota 4Runner sold for many years in Australia, Toyota tells us the name couldn’t be used as ‘4Runner’ is used in a later generation vehicle in USA. That model hasn’t been imported to Australia as it’s petrol powered.

All new Fortuners sold in Australia have a turbo-diesel. Those who do want a petrol powerplant can choose the Toyota Kluger – or Toyota Prado – or Toyota LandCruiser. Talk about choice…

2015 Toyota Fortuner GX

Toyota Fortuner has a bold frontal appearance with large foglight surrounds and a tall bonnet. The body kicks up at rear and carries the latest fashion of slim rear windows. It has LED headlights and sits on 18-inch alloy wheels. Stylish, with a dash of conservatism, Toyota’s all-new Fortuner is likely to remain timeless in its looks.

Toyota Fortuner is powered by a four-cylinder turbo-diesel 2.8-litre engine that produces 130 kW of power; and 450 Nm of torque when in front of an automatic transmission, reduced to 420 with a manual.

The commercial vehicle roots of this engine are displayed by the fact that maximum power is generated at just 3400 rpm. Similarly, peak torque sits at 1600 to 2400 with the auto trans, and 1400 to 2600 with the manual gearbox.

2015 Toyota Fortuner Crusade

In this day and age it’s likely most sales will be of the six-speed automatic. There’s a six-speed manual in all models. An interesting six-speed manual that can rev match is offered in the topline Fortuner Crusade model.

As a serious 4WD the Fortuner has a two-speed transfer case. Shifts between 2H and 4H can be done on the fly at speeds up to 100 km/h.

The manual can tow up to 3000 kilograms, the auto’s ability is slightly lower at 2800 kg.

As is often the way, Australian engineers did a considerably amount of work on the design of the coil-spring suspension used in the Fortuner.

2015 Toyota Fortuner Crusade

Seven airbags are standard, with the curtain airbags covering the third row seats. Fortuner has achieved a five-star ANCAP rating.

An Australian-designed bullbar has been produced to work with the airbags during a collision. This bullbar, as well as some other accessories, may be made in Australia and exported, thus keeping a little life in the once proud Australian car manufacturing industry when the three big boys pull up stumps on building complete vehicles.

We did some heavy-duty, low-range off-road testing on a tight track set out by Toyota on private land in the Wilpena Pound area and found its good clearance and angles worked with sophisticated traction controls, including uphill and downhill assist.

On sealed roads the Fortuner was far quieter than you would expect in a pickup-based wagon. Indeed, many crossover SUVs don’t do as will as this Toyota 4WD.

Some sealed roads that had seen better days did create a rather jiggly ride at times during our extended drive program. Yet other surfaces which looked just as bad created no such troubles. There have to be a lot of compromises in 4WD on-road / off-road suspensions and the Fortuner showed a weakness in this area. Try for yourself during your pre-purchase test drive.

2015 Toyota Fortuner GXL

On the other hand new Fortuner rides beautifully on smooth to moderate sealed roads and will make an excellent long distance cruiser in the Australian outback.

We spent a couple of hours on a beautiful touring route in ancient off-road areas from Wilpena to Parachilna. Along dried river beds that showed signs of serious flooding during the wet season, over very Australian red-dirt roads, up winding trails with stunning scenery in all directions.

This is exactly the sort of land all Australian families should see at some time, preferably at the wheel of their own vehicle in the company of another vehicle in the company of good friends. And we can think of no better way of doing it than in the all-new Toyota Fortuner.

The complete 2015 Toyota Fortuner range is:
GX: $47,990 (manual), $49,990 (automatic)
GXL: $52,990 (manual), $54,990 (automatic)
Crusade: $59,990 (manual), $61,990 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Toyota dealer for drive-away prices.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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