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The 2,4-litre 4x4 Fortuner may just be the best value-for-money choice in the range...

Judging by the number of bakkie-based SUVs on our roads, this formula meets the requirements of adventurous families balancing school runs and peak-hour commuting with holidays in remote locations. In many cases, proper all-wheel-drive ability is a must for these excursions, but so too is the convenience of an automatic transmission when returning to the rat race.

Herein lies the problem: combining the last two prerequisites may have your bank manager grinning from ear to ear, as most options sit north of R600 000, including the popular Fortuner 2,8 GD-6 4x4 6AT. Toyota identified this gap in its Fortuner line-up and introduced a more affordable 2,4-litre version at the end of 2017.

Outside, all that differentiates the 2,4 from its big brother is the badge at the back. In contrast to the divisive styling of the Hilux (now updated) the Fortuner still appears modern and purposeful.

It’s when you step aboard that the cost-saving elements become more apparent. Compared with the 2,8-litre, this model sees the leather-covered steering wheel make way for a urethane item; the touchscreen infotainment system replaced with a button-operated system with a dot-matrix-like display (note, this model has since been upgraded to a touchscreen system); and the instrument cluster devoid of the uprated functionality usually accessed by the satellite buttons on the right-hand side of the steering wheel. Manual air-conditioning is the order of the day, but at least the partial-leather seats are comfortable and help lift the general ambience of the cabin.

It’s good to know Toyota didn’t compromise on safety features, though, with front, knee, side and curtain airbags, stability control, traction control (including an off-road active-traction system), trailer sway and cruise control all standard fitment.

Although the 2,4-litre turbo-diesel is 20 kW down on the 2,8-litre, it still delivers a healthy 400 N.m, albeit accompanied by a rather noisy diesel soundtrack when pushed. Coupled with a relaxed (read: slightly slow, with perceived slip during shifts) torque-converter transmission, this powertrain makes for effortless progress round town. Parking sensors or a rear-view camera would have been a big help when it comes to parking in tight spaces, however, as the Fortuner is a large vehicle (again, note a reversing camera has since been added).

One tester embarked on a 300 km road trip, seven up, and noted the vehicle easily cruised at the national speed limit, losing ground to the 2,8-litre only when overtaking oomph was required at higher speeds.

This was confirmed by our acceleration testing, where it posted a leisurely 0-100 km/h time of 13,92 seconds and took 11,91 seconds to complete the 80-120 km/h dash. The 2,8 managed 12,02 and 9,07 seconds for the same exercises.

The 2,4’s biggest advantage is in terms of fuel consumption, where we easily bested Toyota’s claimed 8,2 L/100 km with an excellent figure of 7,5 L/100 km on our 100 km fuel route. It was noted, however, when the vehicle was loaded, we saw indicated figures of more than 9,0 L/100 km, but that’s still an impressive feat for an SUV that tips the scales at 2,1 tonnes.

The Fortuner really comes into its own when the tarmac ends. Dirt roads are tackled with ease and, when the going gets tough, low range and a differential lock contribute to off-road ability that makes this Toyota feel nearly unstoppable over rough terrain. A short section of off-road driving confirmed the 2,4 is as capable as its bigger brother, although hill-descent control is not part of the electronic stability control package. The fact that this hard-worked test unit displayed no quality issues with more than 20 000 km on the clock is testament to its build and integrity.

The ride is typical body-on-chassis fare, with a constant shimmy. Handling-wise, the Fortuner feels more nimble than some of its competitors but care is needed when approaching a set of curves, as body roll and a lack of steering feel can make cornering at speed a nervous experience.
Only slightly less powerful but more affordable than the 2,8, could the 2,4 be the sleeper model in the Fortuner range?

Everyone wants the big dog … die groot kanon … the 2,8 GD-6 4x4. With both the Fortuner and Hilux currently selling faster than Toyota can churn them out its Prospecton plant in Durban, it's the bigger-displacement diesel in four-wheel-drive guise that's garnering the vast majority of sales among lifestyle purchasers. And, of these, the automatic transmission is proving the most popular, too.

There's no doubt the 2,8-litre turbodiesel is an impressive engine (read our test in the April 2016 issue) and we have both praised its abilities – including power output and fuel efficiency – and given it the nod over its rivals. Somewhat overlooked in all the hype around the Hilux/Fortuner double whammy, however, has been the 2,8-litre's smaller sibling, the 2,4 GD-6 that replaces the 2,5 D-4D from the previous generation's range.

Badge aside, externally there's nothing to distinguish this entry-level model from the 2,8-litre and that includes the standard fitment of 17-inch alloys. The Lexus-influenced styling is certainly a departure from the design of the previous generation and it has been well received.

The 2,4 GD-6's interior is another story, however. Not quite as upmarket as the 2,8-litre's treatment, it nonetheless features the same basic design with an attractive vertical arrangement. Here, though, there are harder plastics and rubber on top of the dash and door panels, it lacks the top-spec touchscreen infotainment system and fabric (as opposed to leather) covers the seats. These seats were our least favourite part of the car. They're comfortable, but the centres of the squabs, backrests and headrests are covered in a shiny brown, almost neoprene-like fabric that may be hardwearing, but is too chintzy for our tastes.

On to the key info for this test, then: the drivetrain. Below your left hand is a lever operating one of the better manual gearboxes in this class. The six-speed 'box feels precise and slick, and, while we have sampled the 2,4 GD-6 six-speed auto (an extra R17 000), it's the manual that makes the most of that 2,4-litre engine.

On paper, the 2,4's 110 kW (at 3 400 r/min) and 400 N.m (between 1 600 and 2 000 r/min) might seem a little off the boil up against the 2,8 130 kW/420 N.m, but on the road, the difference feels smaller. Our 0-100 km/h acceleration test indicates it's only 0,26 seconds slower than the 2,8-litre AT (April 2016) and just 1,35 seconds tardier to 120 km/h. During everyday driving, for towing and off-roading, there is more than enough low-down grunt and it's only during high-speed overtaking that you will notice the relative lack of power as the torque curve falls away steeply after 2 000 r/min.

As we already mentioned in the 2,8 GD-6 test, while the Fortuner might not offer the refined ride of a unibody SUV, its multilink, coil-spring suspension offers acceptable comfort, and is certainly a improvement on that of the previous generation.

This test did not include serious off-roading, but while driving it over some mildly challenging off-road terrain that included river-sand sections, the 2,4-litre rarely broke a sweat despite carrying three passengers.

Nakajima-san on the 2,4

Heading up the Hilux/Fortuner project is Toyota's executive chief designer, Hiroki Nakajima. In South Africa recently, we asked him for his take on the 2,4-litre GD-6 engine.

"I believe the 2,4-litre offers a strong enough package for our customers. However, in many southern hemisphere countries, customers view engine displacement as 'bigger is better' and, even though we are confident the 2,4-litre is sufficient, that's why we also decided to make a 2,8-litre.

"Compared with the 2,8, the 2,4's torque delivery is very similar. Depending on the 2,8's transmission, it's either 420 N.m or 450 N.m, versus 400 N.m in the 2,4. The most important thing to look at in these diesel engines is the power offered at low engine revolutions. That is the key technology when compared with our competitors."
The updated Trailblazer majors in balance, but will the Fortuner beat it at its own game?

There was something of a furore when the Chevrolet Trailblazer knocked the Toyota Fortuner off its perch to become the large SUV of choice in our 2013 Top 12 Best Buys. Many fans of the Japanese body-on-chassis stalwart were quick to point to its underpinnings shared with the hard-as-nails Hilux, and sales figures that have perennially outstripped those of its rivals.

But towering sales success doesn't automatically make you the best. Such a premise essentially argues that Justin Bieber makes the best music in the world and McDonald's the best food. And, while the Toyota's underpinnings carried a bulletproof pedigree, they ultimately became its Achilles' heel in the contest with the Trailblazer, rendering it an ungainly throwback in an SUV market that demanded a blend of off-road capability and town-bound user-friendliness. And those were attributes that the Trailblazer capably delivered.

Not that these matters deterred buyers; the first-generation Fortuner remained a top seller until its recent replacement arrived. But Toyota has been mindful of this market shift and, by injecting its second-generation Fortuner with more finesse to complement its ruggedness, the Japanese brand produced an all-new model that has so far impressed. Mindful of this seismic shift in the segment, Chevrolet has implemented a series of updates to its already capable Trailblazer. Are the tables set to turn again?

Styling 

The Trailblazer's chunky, purposeful design has aged well, so Chevrolet would never have made sweeping changes. Revised, upswept headlamps frame a slimmer take on the earlier car's two-section grille, visually tying the Trailblazer in with a number of Chevrolet's newer models.

The most noticeable changes take place in the cabin, where Chevrolet claims to have placed greater emphasis on material quality and ergonomics. And it has worked. Although hard plastics abound, they feel of a higher quality than before and are complemented by leather-effect panels on a clean facia, with the few manual ancillaries present being legible and easy to use. While the cabin updates may be more functional than fancy, Chevrolet has ensured that driver contact points such as the steering wheel and seats exude an upmarket air by wrapping them in leather as standard.

It's a minor touch, but it contrasts with the Fortuner's urethane-rimmed wheel and so-so cloth seats that sit at odds with what's otherwise a well-built, similarly soft-panel-equipped and visually engaging cabin. Perhaps the most telling division between the cabins is the execution of their entertainment systems, where GM's crisp and function-rich MyLink touchscreen infotainment system contrasts sharply with Toyota's rather fiddly, dot matrix-screened unit. While Toyota has yet to announce any plans to alter this model's specification, don't be surprised if a combination of customer demand and model diversification eventually ushers in trim and equipment revisions.

There's almost a hint of Lexus about the sharp creases, chrome accents and strong horizontal elements present in the new Fortuner's exterior styling, and that's not a bad thing at all. That smooth-skinned shell manages to make the Fortuner look upmarket and doesn't diminish the purposefulness of its imposing dimensions.

Packing and comfort 

In seven-seater duty, the arrangement of their rearmost pews comes under considerable scrutiny. Toyota's side-folding items, with their fiddly strap fasteners, are somewhat inelegant in both appearance and deployment, given the modern car to which they’re attached. By contrast, the Trailblazer's floor-folding third row is neatly executed and, unlike the Toyota's, don't impede rear-three-quarter visibility when stowed.

The Trailblazer falls short of the legroom served up by the Toyota's seats and also offers a rear cabin with less luggage and utility space. Although slightly shorter than the Trailblazer, the Fortuner's interior packaging is well resolved and in all measurable aspects, bar headroom, it's marginally the more spacious.

While there's little separating the two in terms of utility, the matter of driver ergonomics is a clearer one. Both cars feature supportive driver seats, but the Trailblazer's, even on its lowest setting, is too lofty. A steering column that lacks reach adjustment doesn't help matters and shows up the Trailblazer's driving position as less comfortable than the more adjustable Fortuner’s.

Performance and efficiency 

We were very taken with the Toyota's new 2,4-litre turbodiesel when we tested this Fortuner in the July 2016 issue, and our reacquaintance with the engine furthers this impression. It concedes 10 kW to the Trailblazer's 2,5-litre unit, but that handy dollop of 400 N.m between 1 600 and 2 000 r/min lends it satisfying flexibility. The Fortuner's gearing is on the tall side, but thankfully the gearbox has a precise, short-throw action that's almost car-like in its operation.

The same cannot be said of the Trailblazer's mechanical-feeling, long-throw lever. Although brawnier than the Fortuner, the Chevrolet engine's 20 N.m torque deficit is evident in overtaking figures that suggest the powertrain finds its feet only once it's deeper into the rev range.

There's little to separate them as towing vehicles, with the Toyota's braked towing capacity only 15 kg off the Chevrolet's and the unbraked figures identical. The Toyota's extra low-end torque and the standard fitment of a trailer-sway-mitigation system that regulates brake and engine characteristics to prevent fishtailing give it a slight edge. Perhaps the most marked difference between the engines is NVH suppression, where the Toyota's unit exhibits less mechanical feedback and is swaddled in noise-suppressing materials in the engine bay.

The CAR fuel index shows a marked advantage to the Toyota, but both cars impressed during our mixed-use fuel run, with the Fortuner and Trailblazer returning 7,6 and 7,7 L/100 km respectively.

Dynamics 

When the Chevrolet pipped the previous Fortuner a few years back, it did so largely owing to driving manners that were more car-like than those of its Japanese rival. But time, and the arrival of polished opponents such as Ford's Everest, has now made the Chevrolet feel even closer to its Isuzu KB donor than before. While it's true that both cars' makers have essentially adopted the same modus operandi – taking the underpinnings of their respective bakkies and replacing the leaf-spring rear suspension with a more car-like multilink arrangement Toyota's sharper execution now means that the Fortuner can be safely added to said list of capable rivals.

Thanks to a new chassis with considerably more torsional rigidity than that of its forebear, nearly twice the number of welded contact points between body and chassis, and suspension that now incorporates larger-diameter dampers, the Fortuner does a good job of snuffing out impact harshness. These developments also contribute to body control that, while not unibody-SUV-composed, is better than that of its rival here.

Although the Chevrolet's ride remains just about pillowy enough to capably absorb abrupt bumps, the body exhibits a distinct floatiness when negotiating rises at reasonable speed and the copious body roll that typifies body-on-chassis SUV handling.

While it's a given that handling prowess is never going to be the forte of vehicles such as these, driving them back to back galvanises the impression that the Chevrolet just doesn't feel quite as settled as the Toyota. This dynamic disconnect is furthered by a steering rack that's slower and slightly more numb than the Toyota's. And it's this remoteness that's evident when traversing gravel tracks. Both vehicles' ride heights are adequate for modest green-laning, but at speeds above 60 km/h on loose surfaces, the Toyota feels more surefooted. Its steering is lighter but more communicative, and the stability control, an omission in the Chevrolet, intervenes in a measured manner to keep the vehicle in check on loose surfaces.

Both vehicles are equipped with assisted braking systems and tip the scales at a smidgen over two tonnes, so our 10-stop 100-0 km/h brake test saw both cars halting at around 3,3 seconds to glean an "average" rating. Overall average stopping distances were near identical at around 44,3 metres.

Value for money 

In terms of standard specification, there's precious little separating the two. Where the Chevrolet adds leather upholstery and parking sensors, the Toyota counters with keyless entry and a more comprehensive suite of driver-assistance systems. The Toyota's service plan equals its rival's, but the Trailblazer's warranty is two years and 20 000 km longer. This advantage is further cemented by service intervals that are 5 000 km less frequent than those of the Japanese product.

Resale-wise, you'll be able to pick up pre-facelift Trailblazer 2,8 LTZ models with three years and around 100 000 km under their belts in the region of R300-350 000. It's far too early to tell how the new Fortuner will fare second-hand, but judging by the stock demand and value retention of the previous model, it should hold up very well when the time comes to part ways.

Authorised Dealer

Toyota Fortuner

Toyota Fortuner
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Manufacturer Specifications

Standard - standard Optional - optional
  • Cloth upholstery: Standard
  • Leather upholstery: Standard
  • Seats quantity: 7
  • Split rear seat: Standard
  • Folding rear seat: Standard
  • Air conditioning: Standard
  • Cup bottle holders: Standard
  • Front armrests: Standard
  • Antilock braking system (ABS): Standard
  • Electronic brake distribution (EBD): Standard
  • Brake assist (BAS/EBA): Standard
  • Traction control: Standard
  • Stability control: Standard
  • Driver airbag: Standard
  • Front passenger airbag: Standard
  • Driver knee airbag: Standard
  • Front side airbags: Standard
  • Curtain airbags: Standard
  • Airbag quantity: 7
  • Automatic drive away locking: Standard
  • ISOFIX child seat mountings: outer rear
  • Approach home safe lighting time delay park headlights: Standard
  • Emergency brake hazardlights: emergency-brake flashing brake lights
  • Start stop button: Standard
  • Hillstart assist hillholder: Standard
  • Alloy wheelsrims: Standard
  • Driving mode switch eg sport comfort: Standard, Sport, Eco
  • Power steering: Standard
  • Multifunction steering wheel controls: Standard
  • On board computer multi information display: Standard
  • Cruise control: Standard
  • Bluetooth connectivity: Standard
  • CD player: Standard
  • Aux in auxiliary input: Standard
  • USB port: Standard
  • Powersocket 12V: front + rear + boot
  • Central locking: keyless
  • Remote central locking: Standard
  • Key less access start hands free key: Standard
  • Electric windows: front + rear
  • Electric adjust mirrors: Standard
  • Frontfog lamps lights: Standard
  • Highlevel 3rd brakelight: Standard
  • Rear fog lamps lights: Standard
  • Park distance control PDC: rear camera
  • Camera for park distance control: rear
  • Rear spoiler: Standard
  • Fuel Type: diesel
  • Fuel range average: 1013 km
  • Driven wheels: rear
  • Driven wheels quantity: 2
  • Gearratios quantity: 6
  • Gearshift: automatic
  • Transmission type: automatic
  • Diff lock: Standard
  • Front tyres: 265/65 R17
  • Reartyres: 265/65 R17
  • Spare wheel size full: alloy
  • Length: 4795 mm
  • Width excl mirrors incl mirrors: 1855 mm
  • Height: 1835 mm
  • Wheel base: 2745 mm
  • Ground clearance minimum maximum: 279 mm
  • Turning circle wheels body: 11.6 m
  • Approach angle: 29.0
  • Departure angle: 25.0
  • Unladen/tare/kerb weight: 1924 kg
  • Gross weight (GVM): 2605 kg
  • Fuel tank capacity (incl reserve): 80l
  • Fuel consumption average: 7.9 l/100km
  • CO2 emissions average: 208g/km
  • Power maximum: 110 kW
  • Power maximum total: 110 kW
  • Power peak revs: 3400 r/min
  • Power to weight ratio: #DIV/0! kW/ton
  • Torque maximum: 400 Nm
  • Torque peak revs: 1600-2000 r/min
  • Torque maximum total: 400 Nm
  • Torque to weight ratio: #DIV/0! Nm/ton
  • Acceleration 0-100 kmh: 12.7s
  • Maximum top speed: 170 km/h
  • Engine position/ location: front
  • Engine capacity: 2393 cc
  • Engine size: 2.4l
  • enginedetailshort: 2.4TD
  • Engine + detail: 2.4 turbo diesel
  • Cylinder layout: inline
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinder layout + quantity: i4
  • Cam: dohc
  • Valves per cylinder: 4
  • Valves quantity: 16
  • Turbocharger: Standard
  • Warranty time (years): 3
  • Warranty distance (km): 100000 km
  • Service plan: Standard
  • Service plan time (years): 9 services
  • Service plan time (distance): 90000 km
  • Service interval (distance): 10000 km
  • Service interval (time): 1
  • Brand: Toyota
  • Status: c
  • Segment: passenger car
  • MMcode: 60054520
  • MMVariant: FORTUNER 2.4GD-6 R/B A/T
  • Introdate: 2019-06-24
  • DuoportarecordID: ToyoFort2e37

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Toyota Fortuner 2.4GD-6 auto for sale in Roodepoort from one of Carmag.co.za's apporoved car dealerships
New Fortuner 2.4GD-6 auto availbale from the following auto dealer:
Monument Toyota West Rand new car dealership located in: Roodepoort, Gauteng, South Africa

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