AHEAD OF ITS CLASS: Here’s why the Toyota Fortuner is simply the best SUV

BY GRAEME LUND - JULY 24, 2014

I am probably the most unemotional car buyer on the planet; I seldom watch TV and am uninspired by any clever advertising. Thus, when I test drive all vehicles, I rate them on a weighted checklist of facts that I perceive as important for my needs – and my need recently was for a new family SUV.

The Toyota Fortuner that had served our needs for the past five years had reached 150 000km and it was time for a replacement. So about four months ago, I began hunting for our next SUV by a process of elimination – or by test driving every offering in the Fortuner class.

While some of the vehicles were outstanding in this or that aspect, none of them had the solidity and dexterity of my old Fortuner, despite the fact that its time in our family had been tough.

We are a family of seven that enjoys the outdoors and travelling to new and interesting places. From the Baviaanskloof, with its torturous roads, to the Wild Coast, which in some places has no roads at all, the Fortuner had driven with ease.

Even fully-loaded, our 3.0 D4D powered up every hill on the N1, N2 and every other national road without the need to change down a gear. No rut, boulder, mud or pothole ever stopped us. Thanks to the Fortuner’s climate control and excellent ventilation, we were never uncomfortable in sub-zero or plus 44 degree temperatures that we experieneced.

Despite very harsh treatment by a hoard of active kids, a troop of baboons, frustrated monkeys and a kudu bull who once challenged us for road space, when I handed it over to its new owner, there was not one function that did not perform as it should and not one fitting was broken on the vehicle.

The Fortuner is the toughest, most robust vehicle that I have ever owned. It is no wonder that the Top Gear team used them to visit the North Pole!

After researching our latest SUV, with my checklist tallied and my emotions under control, it was no surprise that I chose a new (and improved) Toyota Fortuner 3.0 D4D.

With more luxurious features built into the same sturdy frame and driven by the unchanged but tried, tested and fantastic three liter diesel engine, I can see more years of fun and enjoyment ahead. Toyota have named the Fortuner perfectly