If recreational off-roading isn't part of your lifestyle, it’s hard to get excited about the Fortuner.
Should the buying brief call for a large family SUV that will spend its days shuffling around the suburbs with the occasional long run, there are better choices.
The Fortuner has been designed and engineered to appeal to buyers who regularly travel off the beaten track.
Toyota says the Fortuner provides genuine off-road performance thanks to a rugged frame, beefed-up suspension, low-range gearing and a rear differential lock.
Digging into the off-road digits reveals an approach angle of 30 degrees, a departure angle of 25 degrees and a break over angle of 23.5 degrees. The ground clearance is 279mm which allows a wading depth of 700mm.
On paper, everything looks good for the weekend warrior. If you want more reassurance, strip away the body panels, and the majority of the running gear is shared with the HiLux, which is a reasonably popular workhouse.
Straight off the showroom floor, the Fortuner is a very capable off-roader. During our off-road driving loop, the Fortuner made progress without any fuss. The calibration of the traction control system is excellent on dirt.
When the going gets slightly tougher, switching to low-range and locking the rear diff ensures no loss of momentum. The GXL also gets downhill assist control to manage the breaking during steeper descents.
Over more ambitious tracks, drivers will appreciate a healthy amount of wheel articulation.
Pleasingly, the Fortuner is easy to pilot off the blacktop. Those who are new to off-roading will derive plenty of confidence from the well-sorted drivetrain.
Toyota expects local owners to get their Fortuner dirty, and as such, the brand has equipped the car with a special under-body protection package that was specifically developed for “severe-use markets.”
The package includes an engine undercover for increased levels of protection and easier cleaning after going bush.
Hardcore enthusiasts will, of course, want more of everything, starting with upgraded off-road rubber and a suspension lift. Depending on where their favourite camping spot is, recreational users will most likely be able to forgo the lift kit and keep the additional expenditure to the tyres if the standard all-terrain Bridgestones are not up to the job.
As a model with off-road ability, Toyota could boost the Fortuner’s popularity by offering accessorised versions with a greater off-road focus, as the brand has done with the Rugged and Rugged X variants of the HiLux.
So the Fortuner is a strong all-rounder, it does the job during the week with the capacity to get away from the grind on the weekend. If this reflects your lifestyle, the Fortuner is worth a look.