When it comes to the Fortuner’s exterior, we would happily argue it’s the best looking of Toyota’s off-road SUVs.
The Fortuner is yet to reach four years old, so the shape of the sheet metal is still relatively fresh.
Dimensionally, the Fortuner comes in at 4795mm long, 1855mm wide and 1835mm high with a 2750mm wheelbase. It’s these proportions that help designers distinguish the Fortuner from its burly brothers.
It’s a modern looker that brings a fresh face to the brand’s tough off-road image. A masculine tone can be found at the front, the shape of the headlamps, the three-dimensional trapezoidal front bumper and the deeply recessed fog lamps combine in an aggressive face that emphasises the Fortuner’s width.
There’s also a slanted large upper grille that is wrapped with just the right amount of chrome to provide a bit of bling.
Moving to the inside, the cabin is utilitarian in its design and layout, the Fortuner isn't trying to masquerade as anything other than a wagon version of the robust HiLux. The only peculiarity is the awful faux wood trim on the steering wheel, it adds nothing to the ambience, in fact, it has the opposite effect, just wrap the whole thing in leather and move on.
Tall drivers will immediately notice the front seats don’t go back as far as most would expect, the restricted range is there to preserve the very generous amount of room in the rear. It’s best to think of the Fortuner as a 5+2 SUV, as things are tight in the third-row which should be reserved for small children.
At first glance, the brown cloth trim on the seats is something of a turn-off, however, the retro vibe grows on you after only a few days and you’ll appreciate the way the brown provides some much-needed colour to break up the dark textures that occupy the majority of surfaces.
From the captain’s chair, everything is where it should be, the conventional controls and layout are inoffensive and nicely positioned.
Unfortunately, the interior isn't ageing as well as the exterior. Compared to some of Toyota’s latest efforts, the Fortuner’s cabin is falling off the pace and needs a spruce up.
Things like a rock hard centre armrest, clumsy third-row seat storage and the absence of rear USB ports quickly knock the shine off the new car honeymoon period.
Infotainment is also in need of an update, the 7.0-inch touchscreen can get lost in the bulky centre stack, losing the touch-sensitive keys on either side and expanding the screen would be helpful. It could also do with more speed to process commands along with a graphics revamp so that it looks new. Satellite navigation, Bluetooth and digital radio are all included, but there’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
While the presentation is more on the side of robustness and some extra kit would be welcomed, everything feels well screwed together in that typical Toyota style which will appeal to the brand’s loyalists.
So what we have here are two distinct sides of the same coin. The exterior design is one that brings a modern look to Toyota’s off-roading pedigree, it’s the interior that is in need of a few tweaks.
In isolation, the interior is fine, however, if, in the process of visiting a dealer potential buyers examine some of Toyota’s latest cabin designs, they will be left wondering when the Fortuner will be brought into line with the latest and greatest.