Driving Expressions: Toyota Fortuner 2.4 AT
Every year, shortly before the mad festive season rush commences (along with the dangers of being another fatality) I find it an ideal time to take a long weekend and head off into some place where vehicle and human traffic is so minimal, they could be non- existent.
In 2018, we headed up to the KZN coast to the protected wetland area – Rocktail Lodge – access to which can only be by 4×4. It involves many kilometres of dirt road driving and sandy expanses. These, in wet weather, can bog down a lesser vehicle.
One of its attractions was the freedom to drive to certain destinations in one’s own vehicle. In all honestly, I thought that there would be some beach driving – sadly not the case albeit that we did get to travel the beach at night in a Hilux 2.4 GD 6 game viewing vehicle. This ride took us in search of turtles. Very fortunately we found one that was on its way back to the ocean after depositing its eggs safely on the beach.
That said, we did get to drive some of the back roads in the park which demonstrated that the Fortuner was more than capable of dealing with the average off-road excursion. It did, in no way, even begin to test the vehicles true potential.
Later in the weekend the opportunity arose to drive to Lake Sibiya. This is an inland lake fed from an underground spring. Sadly, the lake, as with many other bodies of water is decreasing in size. This became evident as a result of us taking the Toyota Fortuner and following the resort’s Hilux to the lake and plotting the way on the Satnav. We followed the Hilux in pursuit of hippos on the edges of the lake and which, if the Nav was to be believed, we would have been underwater. When that was mapped it was clearly at a time when there was more water in the lake than at the time of visiting. In fact, the edge had receded some 1 to 2 kilometers.
Finishing the weekend resulted in the return to the main highway on a dirt road that was exposed to some rain. Travelling in high-range 4×4 mode demonstrates that Toyota have lost none of their ‘street cred’ as it handles the corrugations and wet mud with absolute ease.
As with the trip to the resort, which involved a few hundred kilometers of normal roads, the return trip was on relatively quiet roads, frequented with heavy trucks, sometimes traveling in convoy. This allowed for assessing its driving capabilities in conventional mode. While technically the Fortuner has adequate power, the reality of overtaking trucks traveling at their legal speed, is somewhat challenging. The vehicle would ‘run out of steam,’ sometimes at very inconvenient times.
From a personal perspective I would, if towing or carrying a full load, opt for the 2.8 model which has more torque and power. But, if one wanted a 7 seater with serious 4×4 ability and was prepared to make a few compromises on power, the Toyota Fortuner 2.4 is more than adequate.
Specifications of the Toyota Fortuner 2.4:
Engine: 2.4-litre, four-cylinder, turbo diesel
Power: 110kW at 3 400 r/min
Torque: 400Nm at 1 600 r/min
Fuel consumption (actual): 9.8 litres/100 km
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
4WD system: Part-time 4WD, with selection between 2H, 4H and 4Low
4WD traction aids: Traction control, hill assist control, rear differential lock
Driving aids: Vehicle stability control, trailer sway control, brake assist, ABS
Service plan: Five-years/90 000km
Service intervals: 10 000km
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