Freedom is now even more beautiful

Wednesday, 26th November 2014

Everyone looks for something different in a new car. However, every once in a while a product comes along that manages to tick all the boxes. With its ideal blend of practicality, versatility, value for money, reliability, bulletproof residuals, impeccable on- and off-road credentials as well as feature-rich cabin, the Toyota Fortuner is just that sort of vehicle.

The commercial success of Fortuner is conclusive proof of this. Since its debut on the local market in 2006, it consistently racks up an average of 900 sales per month or to put it in perspective, around 50 percent of all medium* SUVs sold in South Africa are Fortuners.

Kerry Roodt, General Manager of Marketing Communications for Toyota SA Motors, echoes the aforementioned, attributing the Fortuner’s success to the fact that it “resonates extremely well with South Africans.”

“It’s the consummate all-rounder, suitable for use in a number of different conditions, from urban highways and rocky mountain passes to sand dunes and the bushveld. This ‘Go Anywhere, Do Anything… and Do it in Style’ character of the Fortuner perfectly complements the lifestyle of outdoor-loving South Africans who need the dual-purpose capability of a ‘bush and boulevard’ cruiser. If ever there was an apt tag line then the Fortuner’s got it – “Freedom is indeed beautiful’.”

In 4x4 guise, the Fortuner features full-time 4WD with low range and a Torsen Limited Slip Centre Differential (LSD) with lock. 4x2 versions are likewise well equipped to go bundu bashing courtesy of a rear differential lock. They also share the same heavy-duty yet sophisticated suspension system with their 4x4 brethren comprising a double wishbone, high-mount set-up up front and a four-link, lateral control rod system at the rear.

The vehicle stats for both versions (4x4 and 4x2) further confirm the Fortuner’s suitability for off-road work:

Approach angle

30 degrees

Departure angle

25 degrees

Ground clearance

220 mm

Wading depth

700 mm

 “Fortuner also has what we call the price/size balance just right. In essence what this means is that buyers are getting a bigger vehicle than they expected, at a lower price than they were expecting to pay, making it a solid value-for-money proposition,” Roodt says.

Another factor underpinning the Fortuner’s popularity is that it’s a proudly South African model. Produced at Toyota’s Prospecton plant in Durban, the Fortuner is built on the IMV (Innovative Multi-purpose Vehicle) line alongside its Hilux sibling by no fewer than 2 483 line workers.

A brief look at the Fortuner’s timeline reveals that this model has undergone a number of modifications and upgrades to keep it in line with market requirements and customer feedback. As Roodt points out, “the voice of the customer is critically important and this has to a large extent dictated many of the revisions that have been made to this bestseller.” 

2006

Locally-built Fortuner debuts in South Africa alongside 7th generation Hilux.

2009

Spec change sees Fortuner get Stability Control as standard and 17-inch wheels.

2011

Refreshed look for Fortuner as well as a number of comfort and convenience items added. A value-oriented 2.5 D-4D manual model was added to the line-up for the first time.

2012

2.5 D-4D Auto introduced.

2013

“Ltd Edition” offered on 3.0 D-4D and 4.0 V6 models.

2014

Fortuner “Epic” bows in alongside cosmetic tweaks applied across the range.

 

Toyota Fortuner “Epic”

Once again, Toyota’s evergreen Fortuner SUV has been revised for the 2014/15 model year bringing a host of changes to maintain the family SUV’s dominant position in its market segment.

Stylists have taken the Fortuner for a bit of cosmetic work. The redesigned front-end gains new headlights with black-out detail. The other striking changes are the teardrop-shaped chromed bezels surrounding the front fog lights. All outer mirrors are now chromed as opposed to colour-coded. Bringing up the rear are new tail lamps, once again with black-out detail, mirroring the front units.

Making an even bolder design statement with a thoughtfully curated suite of styling and practical enhancements, the “Epic” treatment is applied to 50 percent (over two months of production) of all the 3.0 D-4D and 4.0 V6 derivatives. Up front, this unique edition gets a chromed nudge bar with unique “Epic” branding. In profile, the dark grey 17-inch alloy wheels provide further visual differentiation. Adding functionality to the rear, “Epic” models get a towbar as well as a rear sill protector to make loading bulky objects just that little bit more hassle-free. 

Pricing

Fortuner 3.0 D-4D 4x2 Epic                           R461 800

Fortuner 3.0 D-4D 4x2 auto Epic                   R474 700

Fortuner 4.0 V6 4x2 auto Epic                        R493 100

Fortuner 3.0 D-4D 4x4 Epic                           R513 400

Fortuner 3.0 D-4D 4x4 auto Epic                   R526 500

Fortuner 4.0 V6 4x4 auto Epic                        R544 500

*Includes models such as the Chevrolet Trailblazer, BMW X3 and Hyundai Sante Fe.

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