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Tow car – Toyota Fortuner | Other | Tested

It’s entry-level price means it has hard plastics on the interior, a split key/central-locking button set up and a CD player. On the plus side, it’s got a chill box, seven-inch touchscreen with basic multimedia and Bluetooth, but no Sat Nav. You are also getting Toyota’s legendary reliability and build quality for just $44,590 (or $42,590 for the manual). The Fortuner feels like a proper 4WD should, and like its Hilux brethren, it could go just about anywhere.

Our most recent towing duties saw us head to Goulburn, and while the four-cylinder 2.8-litre turbo diesel would have towed our overweight enclosed trailer with ease, we opted for the standard trailer.

What we liked

Despite weighing more than two tonne (2110kg kerb, claimed), little effort was required from the turbo-diesel engine to lug around the trailer with a couple of bikes onboard.

The brakes are solid with plenty of bite – even when holding back the loaded trailer down the steep descents of Macquarie Pass – and cruising at freeway speeds, there were times when I forgot the trailer was even there.

With the seats stowed there’s ample cargo space in the back (1080 litres), with the extra security with it being a lockable SUV.

The owner’s manual specifies a combined payload of 5745kg (manual) and 5545kg (auto) – that’s people, luggage and a trailer – the 2110kg Fortuner should be able to pull more than two tonne (braked) with room to spare for people and luggage.

Based on our 8.5L/100km highway consumption, the 80 litre tank should be good for 940km, if you need to push on.

What we didn’t

The engine has plenty of acceleration off the mark while pulling a loaded trailer, but it’s slow to gather momentum when accelerating from over 100km/h.

The Fortuner is quite wide and long (measuring 1855mm x 4795mm), and the rear window is high, making it difficult to see an empty trailer when you’re reversing. The reversing camera does help with this.

The seven-seat system is fantastic for large families, but making full use of the cargo area for storage requires the smaller sixth and seventh seats to be folded sideways against the rear-side windows, which can obstruct your view.

Verdict

Based purely on its merits as a weekend tow vehicle and weekday family workhorse, the Fortuner delivers a lot of bang for its mid-$40K price tag. Its imposing size and beefy looks may not be popular with the soccer-mom set, but as a reliable, go-anywhere 4WD that won’t mind a bit of rough stuff on the side, it delivers the goods.

We have a few more jobs for the Fortuner before we hand it back, including heading bush with a couple of dirtbikes.

PROS

  • Price
  • Ruggedness
  • Comfort

CONS

  •   Size

Colours Glacier White, Silver Sky, Graphite, Eclipse Black, Phantom Brown, Nebular Blue

$44,590 (+orc)

  toyota.com.au

1300 865 682

As appeared in AMCN Mag Vol 67 No 19