Drive the best-looking SUV in SA

Charl Wilken

Charl Wilken

Just by looking at the Toyota Fortuner one can understand why it gained popularity so fast.

The fact that it is a Toyota 4x4 is a selling factor.

The Fortuner is a vehicle one wants to have, especially if you want to go up in Africa.

Our used test model was a 2007 Toyota Fortuner 4,0-litre 4x4 from Auto Pedigree, Meadowdale. It only had 42000km on the clock.

Though many people think that the Fortuner is just a Hilux station wagon, there are a lot of differences mechanically.

For instance, the road manners of the Fortuner are better than its bakkie counterpart.

The Fortuner is a seven-seater 4x4 whose capabilities will conquer most hardcore off-road obstacles without a sweat. This is because of the high ground clearance and a 4x4 system with diff-lock.

The outside package makes the Fortuner one of the best-looking SUVs in South Africa.

The interior of the Fortuner speaks of quality. Not only are the seats covered with beautiful tan leather, but also the steering wheel and gear knob are clad in leather. There are aluminium inserts on the doors and middle console to complete the luxury feeling. Another nice insert is the chrome circle around the speedometer.

The cabin is very spacious. Legroom for passengers is more than sufficient and the two seats at the back are good enough for children under 12 years.

The last two seats can be folded down to increase boot capacity.

But it is under the hood where most of the Fortuner's fun lies. The 4,0-litre V6 variant is by far the most powerful in the range.

This power plant is very willing and most of the power is available at relatively low rpms. Figures are 175kW and 343Nm of torque.

A five-speed manual gearbox delivers power to the rear wheels, making driving the Fortuner both on- and off-road pleasurable.

Our model was equipped with smash and grab window tint, chip protectors at the front and rear, roof racks, air-conditioning, electric windows, adjustable power steering, dual airbags, ABS brakes and front-loader MP3/CD player.

The only question to be asking now is: why wait?

The Fortuner comes with a three-year/100000km factory warranty and at R309000, it will keep you busy finding something else at this price with Toyota quality and reliability.