Toyota Fortuner, the Epic treatment

Reuben Van Niekerk

The Toyota Fortuner remains SA’s bestselling SUV, with the combination of space, versatility, modern design and go-anywhere ability firmly etching it into the South African motoring landscape.

Built on the foundation of its Hilux stablemate, the seven-seater SUV has proven that its blend of style, off-road competency and people-carrying ability perfectly suits the South African lifestyle.

For 2020, Toyota has bestowed the revered Fortuner with a host of exterior additions and created the latest iteration, named the Fortuner Epic.

 

Two versions

Two variants of the Epic are on offer, both based on the 2.8-litre GD-6 derivatives, the standard Fortuner and the Fortuner Epic Black. As the name implies, the Epic Black utilises black accents to up the ante visually. The Epic package will be applied to all Fortuner 2.8 models built from March this year, thereby offering customers enhanced value at no extra cost.

The exterior and utility has been enhanced with the fitment of a branded nudge-bar and tow bar. Epic black models feature a bi-tone design with black roof, black roof rails, black sideview mirrors and unique, all-black 18-inch alloy wheels. These high-contrast elements are exclusively combined with Glacier White paintwork on the Epic Black to create a bespoke model that will certainly make an impression on both bush and boulevard clientele.

The black roof, white body combination really elevates the look of the Fortuner with the upper section appearing to be lower and sleeker and gives the vehicle a premium appearance it lacked before.

Epic variants can be had in Glacier White, Chromium Silver, Graphite Grey or Avant-Garde Bronze.

 

What’s new on the inside?

Inside, a touch of class has been added with metal scuff plates and an Epic-branded carpet set. The usual Fortuner luxuries apply, such as the leather interior and soft-touch dashboard trim. The interior layout remains unchanged, with elevated second and fold-up third row seating.

The usual array of 2.8 Fortuner specification items apply, including dual-zone climate control, smart entry and push start, touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, reverse camera, TFT multi-information display, blue Optitron instrumentation, cruise control, steering switches, power adjustable driver seat and power back door. Although the infotainment system is capable of reading your phone as a USB device, there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, it seems we will have to wait for the all-new model to experience those tech conveniences.

The interior space serves up myriad storage compartments, cup and bottle holders, which is perfect for road trips. Two in-dash storage compartments are provided, which includes a cooler box in the top binnacle.

All Fortuner models are equipped with ABS, TRC, VSC, BAS, EBD and hill start assist. Four-wheel drive models additionally feature Toyota’s A-TRAC off-road traction control logic and downhill assist control, to make navigating obstacles a breeze. On the fly selectable 2WD, 4WD and 4WD low range further add to the overlanding pedigree.

Under the bonnet, the 2.8 litre power plant remains unchanged with 130kW and 450Nm on tap and is coupled to a slick shifting six-speed automatic. The power plant provides adequate propulsion for a vehicle of this size and the use of the Eco button allowed me to achieve a fuel consumption figure of 10.0 litres/100km on a trip that consisted of highways, byways and dirt road driving.

 

Summary

The Toyota Fortuner remains a safe bet, reliability and resale value are unrivalled, which is exactly what one wants from a vehicle during these turbulent times. It is no wonder this model is forever on the podium in surveys relating to customer satisfaction and value retention. Whatever epic adventure you may choose, the Toyota Fortuner is ready for it.

 

Model range and Pricing

Fortuner 2.8 RB Epic 6AT                  R 660 000

Fortuner 2.8 Epic Black 6AT              R 670 100

Fortuner 2.8 4x4 Epic 6AT                 R 729 000

Fortuner 2.8 4x4 Epic Black 6AT       R 739 100