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The Toyota Fortuner strategy

Toyota Fortuner 2016 car review Driven


Careful pricing sees Toyota’s high-riding 4wd wagon settling into a comfortable place in the kiwi market, says Colin Smith.

A sideline to the SUV sales boom has come from an unexpected direction — new high-riding 4WD wagons developed from the latest generation utility platforms.

Just when it looked as if car-like crossovers would be the future, the Holden Colorado 7 came along, followed by the Ford Everest, the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and Toyota Fortuner.

Diesel engines are a common theme along with low-ratio four-wheel-drive ability, heavy duty tow ratings and the fact that each of the quartet rolls out of the same Thai factories as the utes they are based upon.

Fitting them into the Kiwi market is a price-sensitive equation as relativity is sought alongside high-spec, double cab 4×4 utes and a large number of family and luxury SUV models.

That’s been a work in progress over the first half of 2016.

In Toyota’s case the Fortuner strategy began with finding room to slot its new Hilux-based, seven-seat wagon between the V6 petrol Highlander (priced from $60,990) and the LandCruiser Prado (starting at $78,490).

Toyota even prepared the ground for the Fortuner by trimming its choice of Prado models. And this wasn’t the last bit of trim-to-fit, because, since the February launch, each of the three Fortuner models has had $10,000 lopped from its price tag.

Toyota Fortuner 2016 car review

Toyota Fortuner 2016 car review AA

SOURCE: AA | YEAR: 2016 |

Inspired by the iconic success of the Hilux, Toyota has created another potential big-seller – this time for its mid-size SUV range.

At first glance it looks just like a Hilux, but it’s really only the front doors and bonnet that remain alike. The Fortuner is definitely all business in the front and party in the back.

Since the Fortuner has a 7-seater people carrying capacity and still manages to carry off the 4WD prowess of the Hilux, the question is more why not? If you want to venture into the big city, navigating endless queues of traffic without bouncing out of your seat at the slightest bump in the road, then the Fortuner may just be for you.

Like the new Hilux and Prado, it’s powered by the advanced 130kW, 2.8l diesel engine, and is supplied in three models – the GX, GXL and Limited. All are available with a 6-speed paddle shift automatic however the GX can also be selected as a 6-speed ‘intelligent’ manual. The SUV provides a modest 2.8-tonne (auto) and 3-tonne (manual) braked towing capacity, and consumes fuel at a rate of 7.8l/100km for the manual GX and 8.6l/100km for the automatic models.

Behind the wheel, you are presented with three driving modes – eco, normal and power. Personally, I preferred the eco and normal driving modes as having the vehicle in power caused uncomfortable bursts of acceleration when driving in urban areas.

Billboard Pajero Sport Run Out

Toyota Fortuner takes the road hardly travelled (or no road at all)


A couple of decades ago, an SUV was a very particular thing: a large wagon, most likely based on light-commercial underpinnings which meant it had not only people-carrying ability but also the talent to carry those people far off-road.

A couple of decades ago, SUV customers decided they’d rather have more on-road comfort and better handling, even though it was at the expense of mud-plugging ability. The SUV crossover rose to prominence and these days, most of the breed are built on passenger-car platforms that are capable of light off-roading at best.

You know how people say that if you wait long enough, things come back into fashion? The world is still full of soft-roaders, but there’s also been a march back towards ute-based wagons that can do the proper off-road stuff. We’ve had the Holden Colorado 7 and closely related Isuzu MU-X for a while, but in recent times we’ve also witnessed the launch of the Ford Everest (there’s quite a bit of Ranger under that) and the Challenger-replacing Mitsubishi Pajero Sport (Triton).

So meet the Toyota Hilux seven-seat wagon. Sorry, I mean Fortuner.

Now, Toyota is big enough to have a wealth of SUVs going anyway. It’s got loads of soft-roaders, from the little RAV4 to the large Highlander.

Billboard Pajero Sport Run Out

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