WRITE-UP: 2021 Toyota Fortuner

WRITE-UP: 2021 Toyota Fortuner

The Toyota Fortuner is a robust 4×4 wagon designed to accommodate seven passengers, making it an ideal choice for adventurous families. It shares its platform with the popular Toyota HiLux ute but offers more family-oriented features.

Late in 2020, the Fortuner range received updates to stay competitive in the South African market, facing rivals like the Ford Everest, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, and its sibling, the Toyota Prado.

Were these changes worth it at the time? This review addressed that question and also touched on some frequently asked questions about the Toyota Fortuner.

Toyota Fortuner 2021: GXL

  • Safety Rating
  • Engine Type: 2.8L Turbo Diesel
  • Fuel Type: Diesel
  • Fuel Efficiency: 7.6L/100km
  • Seating: 7 seats
  • Price from: R754,900

What We Love About the Toyota Fortuner

The Fortuner fills a niche for buyers who need more off-road capability than a Toyota Kluger but aren’t ready to splurge on a Prado. It caters to this niche admirably.

What We Dislike

Compared to some rivals like the Everest and Pajero Sport, the Fortuner doesn’t conceal its ute-based origins as effectively. Additionally, its pricing was quite close to that of the Prado, which can make the decision tougher for customers when comparing these used models against each otherThe rear seats could probably have been designed a bit better.

Standard Features in the Toyota Fortuner

The 2021 Fortuner range consists of three grades, all equipped with the same diesel-auto-4WD powertrain. Here’s what the base model includes:

  • An 8.0-inch touchscreen media system with physical buttons, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth, and DAB digital radio.
  • A 4.2-inch driver information screen with a digital speedometer.
  • An air-conditioned cooler box.
  • Steering wheel audio controls.
  • Front and rear air-conditioning controls and vents.
  • A six-speaker sound system.
  • Seven seats.
  • Reverse camera.
  • Front and rear park assist sensors.
  • Rear differential lock.
  • Adaptive cruise control and a suite of active safety tech.
  • 17-inch alloy wheels with a full-size steel spare wheel.
  • Cloth seat trim.
  • Carpet flooring.
  • LED headlights and daytime running lights.
  • Auto headlights.
  • Three 12-volt outlets (one front, one rear console, and one in the boot).
  • One USB port.

At the time of the vehicle’s launch you can add GPS navigation to the base model GX for an additional fee.

The next trim level is the GXL which sports added features like standard sat-nav, smart keyless entry, push-button start, climate control air-conditioning (single zone only), a wood-look “premium” steering wheel, paddle shifters, roof rails, LED fog lights, rear privacy glass, and chrome exterior door handles. The GXL could also be equipped with an optional pack  that included leather-accented seats and eight-way power-adjustable front seats.

Topping the line-up is the Crusade that came  with standard leather-accented seat trim, electric front seat adjustment, heated front seats, 18-inch alloy wheels with a full-size spare alloy wheel, an 11-speaker JBL sound system, a power tailgate, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and puddle lamps.

While the Fortuner offered various accessories, including bull bars, underbody protection, a snorkel, and different alloy wheel options, there was no panoramic sunroof available.

Safety Technology

The Fortuner offers competitive safety technology in its class, at the time, including auto emergency braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. However, it lacks blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

Off-Roading Capability

The Toyota Fortuner is a genuine 4×4, designed for off-road adventures. It featurs high and low-range 4×4 capabilities, a body-on-frame design, and respectable approach (29 degrees), ramp-over (23.5 degrees), and departure angles (25 degrees). Those updates also gave it a more approachable and attractive exterior design.

Ground Clearance and Wading Depth

The Fortuner offers a running clearance of 216mm and a wading depth of 700mm, which is decent for tackling tough terrain.

Towing Capacity

For those needing to tow, the Fortuner can handle a braked trailer load of 3,100kg or an unbraked trailer of 750kg.

Engine Specs

Under the hood, the Fortuner packs a 2.8-liter turbo-diesel engine producing 150kW of power at 3,400rpm and 500 Nm of torque between 1,600 and 2,800rpm. It comes exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission and is available only in 4WD.


Toyota offered a range of accessories for the Fortuner, from bull bars and underbody protection to alloy wheels, LED headlight covers, and interior options like cargo organisers and floor mats. Aftermarket accessories from various suppliers were also available.


The 2021 update brought an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to the Fortuner’s interior. All grades came with USB input, AM/FM radio, Bluetooth phone, and audio streaming, but there was no DVD or CD player. The GXL and Crusade models came equipped with an 11-speaker JBL stereo system with a subwoofer.

Seating Configuration

The Fortuner offers seven seats in a 2+3+2 layout. Leather seats were optional on the GXL and standard on the Crusade.


The Fortuner’s 2.8-liter turbo-diesel engine provided brisk acceleration, with 0-100 times of less than 10 seconds. It came exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission.


While no car was entirely free from issues, the Fortuner had a reputation for reliability. Some earlier models had concerns related to the diesel particulate filter (DPF) clogging, but this issue had been resolved.

Resale Value

The Toyota Fortuner retained its value well in the used car market, making it a sought-after option for buyers.


The Toyota Fortuner 2021 remained a strong contender in the used SUV South African market. With its robust off-road capability, comfortable interior, and competitive pricing, it was an appealing choice for those who needed a rugged SUV for both daily driving and adventurous trips. 

Source: Cars Guide

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