When Basic is Best. Words Dean Mellor
Toyota Fortuner GX ($42,590)
There was a time not so long ago that buyers paid a hefty premium to jump into a vehicle wearing a Toyota badge but, in an effort to grab a larger slice of market share, some Tojos are now significantly cheaper than their direct competitors, including the base-spec Fortuner GX, which undercuts its nearest rival (the $47,990 Holden Trailblazer LT) by a shade over $5k.
Based on the HiLux platform, the Fortuner is a basic yet robust bit of kit. It has a separate chassis, independent front suspension with MacPherson struts, a live-axle rear with coils, a six-speed manual gearbox (or optional six-speed auto) and a part-time 4x4 system. Its 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine makes a claimed 130kW of power at 3400rpm and 420Nm of torque from 1400-2600rpm, and decent low-range gearing aids slow-speed off-road driving, as does the standard rear diff lock and electronic traction control.
When originally launched, the Fortuner GX was equipped with 17-inch steel wheels, but an update in late-2017 saw these replaced with 17-inch alloys shod with 265/65R17 tyres. At this time the base-spec GX also scored rear parking sensors to go with its reversing camera. The standard equipment list is pretty basic, however, with the seven-seat Fortuner GX equipped with manual seat adjustment, durable cloth trim, manual front and rear air conditioning, a 7-inch display with Toyota Link and a cooler for the glovebox.
Standard safety equipment on the Fortuner GX includes seven airbags, ABS, TC, VSC
EBD, HSA (Hill Start Assist) and TSC (trailer sway control). The manual variant offers a class-standard 3000kg towing capacity.
The Fortuner has an 80-litre fuel tank which provides a reasonable touring range thanks to the economical nature of the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine, and the 4x4 aftermarket caters to Fortuner owners with a full range of accessories.
Sure, the Fortuner might not be the best of the ute-based 4x4 wagons on the market, but it certainly represents great value for money, especially in bare-bones GX spec.