Fresh Look for Toyota’s Fortuner
If there was an award for Most Popular Bike Carrier, judged by the number of vehicles waiting for their drivers in the car parks of the big races around South Africa, Toyota’s Fortuner would surely be it. The versatility and reliability of one of Toyota’s most enduring models makes it the perfect vehicle for carting happy bikers and their bikes around the bits of South Africa our favourite rides take place.
For 2023, Toyota’s most venerable SUV has a new look and, more than that, comes with a long list of updates on an already-brilliant platform. Redesigned to look incredible, the new Fortuner boasts a sleeker, catamaran-inspired face, a new front bumper, revised air intakes, new front skid plate, a new mesh grille, LED fog lamps, sequential indicators and black A-pillar and exterior mirrors. In 2.8-litre models, there are also new Bi-LED headlamps, while all 2.4-litre derivatives get the LED units from the previous 2.8-litre models.
Move to the back of the new Fortuner, and the changes are a little less obvious. There’s a black roof spoiler, and a redesigned rear bumper that helps with aerodynamics – remember, this is a family car with long road trips in its DNA as much as fun off-roading – and the numberplate holder is now black instead of chrome. Add the new 18″wheel option – across all the models in the range – and a choice of nine colours, including Platinum Pearl White with an Attitude Black roof, and the new Fortuner’s exterior is a fine step forward in modernising this old favourite.
There are changes inside, too, although not as obvious as the external updates; there’s a rear USB C port in the 2.8-litre and VX models, red leather door pad covers along with red stitching throughout the interior to go with the black headliner (to hide those chainring marks from careless bike loading when tired, and ice-cream fingers!). The digital central instrument cluster has a graphics update, and there is now interior ambience lighting.
The new Fortuner is available in seven model variants, with the choice of either a 2.4l, 110kW motor (with 400Nm torque) or a zestier 150kW, 500Nm 2.8l. There are no petrol options – diesel matches Toyota’s legendary reliability perfectly – and just one manual transmission, the base 2.4GD, while both engine variants can drive two wheels or all four, depending on your spec choice. The spec levels and differences are myriad – the best place to run through them all is on the Toyota website – www.toyota.co.za. Suffice it to say, South Africa’s most versatile family SUV has an option that will suit any discerning cyclist, from the chic roadie to the mud-splattered, go-anywhere mountain biker, and every gravel rider, balance-biker, e-biker and explorer in between.