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HomeClassic Car2024 Toyota Fortuner review | CarExpert

2024 Toyota Fortuner review | CarExpert

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Given the Toyota HiLux has long been Australia’s favourite new car (until the Ranger supplanted it last year), you’d think an SUV version would be a sure-fire hit – well, you’d be wrong.

While popular in other parts of the world, the Toyota Fortuner has never had the same love from Australians as its ute-bodied sibling, despite offering virtually identical mechanicals as well as wearing the coveted Toyota logo on the nose.

For context, Toyota registered 3619 units of the Fortuner in 2023, equating to 2.9 per cent market share of the large SUV segment under $70,000 – the Ford Everest, meanwhile, returned 15,071 registrations and 11.9 per cent share.

Perhaps part of the problem is the fact Toyota also offers the LandCruiser Prado in the same segment, which for a bit more money brings a more refined cabin and a bespoke design, in addition to a bigger and plusher cabin. With an all-new Prado on the way however, the gap between the two nameplates is likely to widen.

So with that in mind, why should you buy a Fortuner?

WATCH: Paul’s video review of the MY21 Fortuner Crusade

Well, the 2024 Toyota Fortuner Crusade on test is the cream of the crop, being the absolute flagship and arguably the most luxurious take on the Fortuner/HiLux formula.

If you’re not in need of a tray, could this upmarket Fortuner be a better bet than a HiLux SR5 or Rogue? And does it deserve a bit more love from the Australian buying public? Read on to find out.

How does the Toyota Fortuner compare?

View a detailed breakdown of the Toyota Fortuner against similarly sized vehicles.

Toyota Fortuner cutout image

Toyota

Fortuner

How much does the Toyota Fortuner cost?

While the range opens at just under $54,000 before on-roads, the flagship Crusade on test lists for $66,755 plus on-road costs.

Toyota Fortuner pricing:

  • 2024 Toyota Fortuner GX 4×4: $53,775
  • 2024 Toyota Fortuner GXL 4×4: $58,895
  • 2024 Toyota Fortuner Crusade 4×4: $66,755

Prices exclude on-road costs

To see how the Fortuner lines up against the competition, check out our comparison tool.

What is the Toyota Fortuner like on the inside?

Unlike most ute-based SUVs which effectively carry over their commercial vehicle cabins, the Fortuner gets unique bits compared to a HiLux.

Everything from the steering wheel to the buttons and controls are generally the same, but the Fortuner sports a more car-like cockpit with a better integrated touchscreen and an upright centre stack that blends the HiLux and Prado’s designs together.

You also get more upmarket, padded materials like some stitched elements on the dashboard, on either side of the centre console where your knee comes to rest, as well as the trimming atop the instrument cluster.

Carryover elements from the HiLux include the telescopically-adjustable multifunction steering wheel, the gear shifter, 4×4 dial, climate control cluster, front tweeters near each side mirror, and A-pillar grab handles.

It all feels solid, if a little old-school and dated in areas. The clunky gated automatic shifter and thick manual handbrakes are examples of the platform’s advancing age, as is the fake woodgrain trim – which I don’t mind…

The Fortuner is nowhere near as digitised as the brand’s latest products, like the incoming next-gen Prado.

The blue-coloured analogue dials are a nice flash of colour compared to the related HiLux, and the multifunction display in the middle offers key information but also harks back to Toyotas and Lexuses of old.

Meanwhile, the central infotainment system is still running older software, meaning it has wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and slower hardware that leaves a little to be desired next to something like an Everest. It does retain physical buttons and dials for various shortcuts and controls, which makes it easy to use.

Embedded navigation does feature, which is handy if you frequent areas without cellular service, and there’s standard DAB digital radio for the GXL and Crusade. You also get a subscription to some of the Toyota Connected Services – including access to the myToyota app, Stolen Vehicle Tracking, Automatic Collision Notification, and SOS Emergency Call.

Second row space is fine without being standout. Legroom is good, though head room and toe room are on the tighter side for the segment.

There are roof-mounted air vents, cup holders, a coat hook, foldable grab handles, as well as 12V and 220V outlets.

Other amenities include map pockets, a fold-out centre armrest, as well as ISOFIX anchors on the outboard seats.

The fold-out third row is also on the smaller side, best left for kids. But, the fact that these remain units that fold into the sides of the boot area means you’re limited for boot space as well as visibility out of the rear quarter windows.

Toyota doesn’t actually quote a boot capacity figure for the Fortuner, but independent figures quote 200L with the third row in use, 716L with the third row folded, and 1080L with the second row folded. As you can see from the images, it’s quite hindered by those rear seats when they’re not in use.

You also get a full-size spare wheel, which is an 18-inch alloy unit in the Crusade and 17-inch steel unit in lower grades.

What’s under the bonnet?

The Fortuner is powered by the same 2.8-litre turbo-diesel as the HiLux and LandCruiser Prado.

Model Toyota Fortuner
Engine 2.8-litre 4cyl turbo-diesel
Power 150kW (3000-3400rpm)
Torque 500Nm (1600-1800rpm)
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Driven wheels Four-wheel drive (2H, 4H, 4L)
Weight 2110kg (kerb)
Fuel economy (claim) 7.6 litres per 100km
Fuel economy (as tested) 9.9 litres per 100km
Fuel tank size 80 litres
Emissions 201g/km
Kerb weight 2190kg
Gross vehicle mass 2800kg
Braked towing capacity 3100kg

Our observed fuel figure from the Fortuner’s trip computer came about from mixed driving including peak-hour commuting, which isn’t really this thing’s favourite set of conditions. Still, it came in under the 10L/100km mark.

To see how the Fortuner compares with the competition, check out our comparison tool.

How does the Toyota Fortuner drive?

Kind of like a HiLux, naturally…

The Fortuner fires up with a diesel grumble and feels suitably old-school from the get-go compared to something like a Ford Everest. It definitely gives off more of a workhorse vibe.

Clatter is adequately subdued but it never really goes away, and the heavy and clunky controls are a reminder of the Fortuner’s age and its agricultural roots. But, for many that will be a good thing.

With the more powerful 500Nm tune introduced in 2020, the Fortuner is still competitive with four-cylinder benchmarks including the Ford Everest Bi-Turbo, and offers more pep on paper than the Isuzu MU-X.

The 2.8-litre four-cylinder oiler is tried and tested. It’s in many a HiLux and LandCruiser Prado, as well as the Fortuner and HiAce. It’s been around forever, but combined with the standard six-speed auto it offers strong and relatively smooth progress.

Around town it’s got that sort of relaxed, almost lazy vibe that a lot of these ladder-frame 4WD wagons have in daily driving.

It’ll get a bit shouty if you work it hard, but it also has a bit of grunt to get you up to freeway speeds or perform overtakes. In our recent 4WD SUV Mega Test, the Fortuner proved itself one of the better performing four-cylinder diesel options in the segment – it beat all its direct rivals in performance testing bar the Everest Bi-Turbo.

The heavy hydraulic steering isn’t super urban or carpark friendly, though it at least feels accurate and offers decent feedback. Buyers of the Crusade trim also get a 360-degree camera which makes placing this 4795mm long and 1855mm family truck a little easier in tighter spaces.

Can’t really complain about general visibility either. The mirrors are big, as are the windows, and it’s all pretty upright so you have a good view out.

Like most ladder-frame 4x4s the Fortuner feels more at home on the open road, where it can lean on its torque-rich drivetrain and soft tuning to eat up highway miles.

The diesel engine settles nicely into the background with the auto transmission in sixth, and there’s generally good insulation from road noise. Wind noise can be a little noticeable off those chunky side mirrors, though.

Fuel use on the highway will drop dramatically, given the Fortuner still lacks idle stop-start tech so predominantly city and urban use will see the indicated readout approach 10L/100km and beyond.

The steering can feel a touch vague at speed, particularly about-centre, meaning you’re often making very small corrections to keep it on the straight-ahead. It’s a touch boaty, and this is something we’ve experienced in other heavy-duty Toyota models.

While Toyota has done well to continually update the Fortuner with active safety systems over the years, the tech suite still isn’t a patch on the Ford Everest and Isuzu MU-X.

As we’ve mentioned in other ladder-frame Toyotas with hydraulic steering still yet to migrate to the newer TNGA-F architecture, the Fortuner’s lane keep assist via braking is often overzealous and can be unsettling when the vehicle suddenly jabs one of the inside wheels and veers from the lane marking it thinks you’re about to drift over.

This is exacerbated by the Lane Trace Assist function meant to actively keep the Fortuner centred in its lane. If anything it’s just constantly twitching and making corrections which just doesn’t inspire confidence in the tech.

I rarely have to do this these days, but I often found myself taking over and doing the bulk of the work myself on anything other than perfectly straight marked freeways.

Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are handy inclusions, though they shouldn’t be limited to the Crusade and their audible warning is an annoying high-pitched beep which will just make you wince each time it sounds.

The Toyota claws back ground off-road, where its capable DNA shone through at last year’s 4WD SUV Mega Test. Here’s a rehash of what we found:

“The Fortuner slipped back slightly on the rollers in 2H, before the traction control figured things out. It barely moved back at all in 4H, driving off with a minimum of fuss.

“Body rigidity was impressive in our flex test, with no catching from the door.

“After a hint of wheelspin from the hanging wheels, the traction control did a good job allowing the Fortuner to clamber out of the offset moguls. Like the HiLux, the Fortuner went about its business with a minimum of fuss.

“It effortlessly scaled Mogul Mountain in 4L with the rear differential unlocked, even on highway tyres.”

What do you get?

Three grades are available – we have the flagship Crusade on test.

Fortuner GX highlights:

  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Steel spare wheel
  • Side steps
  • Variable Flow Control steering
  • LED headlights
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Air-conditioned cool box
  • 6-way driver seat manual adjust
  • 4-way passenger seat manual adjust
  • 8.0-inch colour touchscreen
  • Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
  • 6-speaker audio
  • Parking sensors front, rear
  • Reversing camera
  • Smart entry, start (keyless)
  • Toyota Connected Services (3yr)
    • myToyota Connect app
    • Stolen Vehicle Tracking
    • Automatic Collision Notification
    • SOS Emergency Call

Fortuner GXL adds:

  • Downhill Assist Control
  • LED fog lights
  • Premium steering wheel
  • Paddle shifters
  • Satellite navigation
  • Digital radio
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Rear privacy glass
  • Roof rails
  • Chrome rear door garnish
  • Chrome exterior door handles

Fortuner Crusade adds:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Full-size alloy spare
  • Premium grille finish
  • Bi-LED headlights
  • Door courtesy lights
  • Power tailgate
  • Leather-accented upholstery
  • 8-way power front seats
  • Woodgrain-look instrument panel
  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
  • 11-speaker JBL premium audio
  • 220V accessory connector
  • Panoramic View Monitor (360 camera)

Options

The mid-range GXL is available with an optional package.

Premium Interior Option Pack: $2500

  • Black leather-accented upholster
  • 8-way power adjust front seats

Is the Toyota Fortuner safe?

The Fortuner wears a five-star ANCAP safety rating based on 2019 testing of the related HiLux ute.

It lists scores of 95 per cent for adult occupant protection, 84 per cent for child occupant protection, 88 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 78 per cent for safety assist.

Standard safety systems include:

  • Adaptive cruise control (high speed)
  • Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
    • Pedestrian detection (day, night)
    • Cyclist detection (day)
  • Lane departure warning
  • Reversing camera
  • Road Sign Assist (speed signs only)

Fortuner Crusade adds:

  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert

How much does the Toyota Fortuner cost to run?

Like the wider Toyota lineup, the Fortuner is covered by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.

The Fortuner still has six-month/10,000km intervals, which is quite a bit shorter than most rivals.

Toyota offers five years-worth of capped price servicing, with each visit costing $290 a pop – or $2900 for five years.

CarExpert’s Take on the Toyota Fortuner

The top-spec Fortuner has its merits, but doesn’t feel like the best pick of the range nor the segment.

It rides on proven underpinnings, and come with the peace of mind that comes with buying a Toyota. It’s also not as bulky as the Prado if you’re conscious of having more city-friendly dimensions.

But really, that’s where its good fortunes start to end. It’s not as powerful or practical as segment benchmarks, and it’s really starting to fall behind on the tech front.

It’s also not all that refined, and the driving experience is heavy and old-hat. If anything, this just proves why so many Australian’s just leapfrog the Fortuner and head straight to the Prado. The all-new Prado due imminently will only make that more apparent.

Really though, the Fortuner is only one major update away from being a solid contender. We’ve seen plenty of excellent advancements in Toyota’s portfolio that the inevitable migration of the Fortuner to the TNGA-F could not come soon enough and address its key shortcomings – or, just bring the new 4Runner already!

Click the images for the full gallery

MORE: Buy a Toyota Fortuner
MORE: Everything Toyota Fortuner



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