You might say that hooning around on a race track in a full sized four-wheel drive SUV is a bit childish. And, at first, it would appear so. But more connected readers will know that, all things being equal, this is our constant evaluation parameter – and with very good reason. No matter how much you may go off-road in your 4WD SUV, the fact of the matter is that more often than not you will be driving it on the road. And no place reveals the dynamic capabilities and road manners of a car better than a world-class race track.
Gunning the Fortuner on the BIC then was purely in the interest of revealing its true identity. Thankfully, we had the manual model this time around on test. As a result, NVH was much lower than the automatic model – and the performance better. However, there is still a fair bit of vibration and harshness from the 2.8-litre engine. Although, it has to be pointed out that the new motor is more free revving than the previous model’s motor. The six-speed gearbox allows for quick gear changes, and driving this beast in ‘Power’ mode reveals its punchy nature thanks to its healthy 420Nm torque output.
Now, we’ve driven this model off-road in the past and were fairly impressed with its capabilities. But out here on the track its limitations become evident. Throw it into a fast sweeping bend, and the Fortuner won’t be unnerved or imbalanced by the directional changes but you sense pretty quickly that it isn’t happy at all doing this. The suspension feels firm and well composed but the limitations of its ladder frame chassis quickly become evident and pretty soon the tyres start squealing for grip – and the body roll doesn’t help either.
On the road, of course, you aren’t going to be pushing the Fortuner to the limit – unless you’re using it as a heist getaway vehicle. When driven calmly, the Fortuner is actually quite civilised. But its ladder frame chassis – which helps it conquer any terrain – hampers its ride quality and it just doesn’t feel as comfortable on the road as the Ford Endeavour for instance. There’s far more competition in this segment than ever before, and the Fortuner may struggle to retain its position at the top. But, with the Toyota badge and reliability, you can – of course – still count on the Fortuner to drive you to the ends of the earth without so much as the smallest complaint.
Explore Toyota Fortuner technical specifications including dimensions, engines, gearbox, mileage, seating capacity, boot space, etc.
Find out all features available on the Toyota Fortuner – including safety features, interior equipment, creature comforts, trim versions, etc.