- Doors and Seats
- Engine Power
- Ancap Safety
Four-wheel-drives are hot property, and Toyota’s smallest 4×4 just got updated. We find out if it’s worth a look.
- Spacious through the second and third rows
- Welcome improvements for late 2021
- Lots of elements to suit 4×4 touring
- Starting to feel its age in some regards
- Six-month service intervals are a hindrance for most
- Engine was a little thirsty on our test
With the great Australian dream currently front and centre of our collective minds, options like the 2022 Toyota Fortuner Crusade have never been in stronger demand.
I’m not talking about home ownership either. I’m talking about the big road trip holiday. You know the one: chasing the sun across the continent visiting all of those places you’ve heard of.
While the majority of Australia’s population is currently battling through a restrictive lockdown, many are looking forward to getting out of their house – and beyond their own postcode – to enjoy something of a holiday.
International travel is still a pipe dream for now, however. Instead of sinking money into expensive things like flights, visas and accommodation, people are looking at SUVs and four-wheel-drives.
The powertrain, front suspension and four-wheel-drive system carry over directly from the ute, while other parts are massaged to suit the new format. Some bits, like the five-link coil rear suspension and most of the exterior parts, are different from those of the HiLux.
We’ve got the top of the pops for the Fortuner range with a Feverish Red Fortuner Crusade. Although our test car missed out on these upgrades, a rolling update to the Fortuner range brings a 360-degree camera system, blind-spot monitoring, dual-zone climate control and rear-cross traffic alert.
These upgrades don’t come free, unfortunately. Toyota has jacked the price of a 2022 Fortuner Crusade up by $1535 to $62,945.
There is some nice attention to detail with materials and finishes in the Fortuner. It’s still clearly HiLux-based with that work-like platform still yielding hard plastics around the place, but at least the Fortuner looks and feels a little different in some respects.
Gaudy wood trimming and maroon highlight are things of the past, with more conservative blacks and darker tones making up the colour palette.
The infotainment is a good system: buttons and dials around the infotainment display help make it easy to use on the move. There’s also Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, digital radio and native navigation as standard for the Crusade specification. The JBL sound system – another standard for the Crusade – does improve the quality of audio output a little in comparison to lesser standard systems.
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There’s only one 12V and one USB power outlet up front, but you’ve got twin gloveboxes for extra storage and four cupholders (including the pop-out ones under the air vents).
And for enthusiasts of an occasional choccy milk, Toyota has got you covered. The circular element in the slide-out cupholders can be slid out of the way, which makes for a square-shaped holder perfect for your flavoured milk carton.
Behind the manual handbrake, you’ll find Eco, Normal and Sport driving-mode buttons. This is a handy addition for the Fortuner and changes its driving temperament noticeably around town.
It’s handy for off-roading as well. Use Eco for better throttle control on slower, technical driving, and Sport for fast throttle response on sand or through thick mud where you need wheel speed and momentum.
Second-row space in the Fortuner is quite good, and adults can easily find themselves comfortable in here. The second row slides fore and aft, and the backrest also tilts. This is important for the third row, which I’ll get to soon.
Air vents and a single 12V power outlet are joined by a couple of handy additions: a 220V household power outlet (unique to Crusade specification) and rubber floor mats, from the genuine accessories range. Both will be appreciated by four-wheel drivers and families alike.
|2022 Toyota Fortuner Crusade|
|Boot size 7-5 seats||200-1080L|
Unlike most modern third rows, the Fortuner sticks with a somewhat old-school set-up that folds the seats up and against the side windows when not in use. It’s not as appealing as one that folds seamlessly into the floor. It eats into your useable space quite visually and also affects over-shoulder visibility.
However, it’s not all bad. This third row is more easily removed by those who want that flexibility – Toyota even includes tools and a blanking panel for this purpose – increasing your usable space for any payload. For something like that big weeks-long road trip, this holds a clear advantage over a third row that folds into the floor.
And when you do need to use it, the third row is surprisingly spacious. Thanks to that sliding second row and drop-down floor for a footwell, you’re able to fit six adults into the Fortuner with a modicum of comfort. I don’t think you can say that about others in the segment.
While our tester didn’t have the latest upgrades, the inclusion of things like blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert helps round out the Fortuner against its key rivals. Safety also includes autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control and front/rear parking sensors.
A run-of-the-mill multifunction display sits in front of the driver with the usual mix of information. No tyre pressure monitoring, but a digital speed readout is nice.
The active safety technology isn’t too onerous or reactive on the road, and allows you to use most of your lane before kicking in. However, because the steering system is hydraulically
There is some new competition on the block for the Toyota Fortuner with the MU-X. It’s a much improved car across the board now, but also isn’t the value-driven proposition that it once was either. Isuzu’s drive-away pricing structure, which makes the top-spec LS-T effectively cheaper than the mid-range LS-U, does muddy the waters.
Mitsubishi’s Pajero Sport continues to run that value gamut quite well. Now, the Fortuner sits right in the thick of it.
And that feels like a happier place for Toyota’s smallest four-wheel-drive wagon. It doesn’t have the clout to ask for top dollar, like when the Fortuner originally launched in Australia back in 2015. But now positioned right amongst the competitive set, it’s a solid option to consider.
And while other four-wheel drives and SUVs look to gain kerbside cred with larger-diameter wheels, the Fortuner stays somewhat pragmatic with an 18-inch alloy wheel on the top specification that better suits those looking to go off-road.
|At a glance||2022 Toyota Fortuner Crusade|
|Warranty||Five years/unlimited km|
|Service intervals||6 months/10,000km|
|Servicing costs||$1560 3yr, 3620 5yr|
|Fuel cons. (claimed)||7.6L/100km|
|Fuel cons. (on test)||9.3L/100km|
|Fuel tank size||76L|
The Fortuner rides mostly quite well around town. You can feel some low-speed, rough surfaces sometimes transmit through the cabin with an unsettled firmness, but bigger hits like speed bumps and potholes are handled impressively well.
You’re not going to get the same levels of refinement and driving prowess from the Fortuner, in comparison to a car-based large SUV like a Toyota Kluger or Kia Sorento. That’s the price one has to pay for things like a good towing capacity, decent payload, and off-road capability.
That being said, the Fortuner should prove to be plenty comfortable enough for most tastes.
While a claimed fuel consumption of 7.6 litres per 100 kilometres is impressive, we weren’t able to match that on our test. With a mostly even mix of town and highway driving, our average was more like 10.0L/100km (indicated).
The extra perkiness in the powertrain is nice and makes the Fortuner feel quite solid to drive. It’s not something that was direly needed, like in the LandCruiser Prado, but the extra poke is certainly welcome from a driving point of view.
And although the engine is a few years old now, it’s still a reasonably refined experience. It’s not hugely noisy, and only when you sink the boot in does it start to lift the decibels.
The six-speed auto gearbox is a predictable and dutiful companion. It makes the right decisions and allows the engine to work in the meaty part of the torque curve.
It’s funny how different hydraulic steering feels these days. Electric assistance used to be something of a novelty for four-wheel drives like this, but now it feels like the boot is on the other foot. The Fortuner’s hydraulic steering is a variable-flow system that increases assistance at low speeds and adds more weight at higher speeds.
It feels initially vague off-centre around town, with an old-school four-wheel-drive feel to it. Once you’re in the corner, there are no problems. And the steering feel is undoubtedly something one will get used to.
And because there is no electric steering yet, lane-keep assist operates by brakes nipping at the wheels to cause a slight change in direction. It’s a compromise and feels quite strange when you first encounter it.
While Toyotas have enjoyed a stellar reputation for four-wheel drives over the years, that sterling track record has been sullied by poor-performing diesel particulate filters during the tenure of this 2.8-litre engine.
However, we have no reason to suspect that Toyota hasn’t got it right this time around. We noticed this Fortuner held a high idle during start-up, likely so it achieves operating temperature faster. It also seems to cycle through the DPF regeneration process more often, which is indicated through the multifunction display.
Unfortunately, with lockdown restrictions we weren’t able to escape into the bush this time around to see how the Fortuner fares off-road. From previous experience, we can tell you it’s quite good. There is a locking rear differential and also a very effective traction-control system. Unfortunately, you can’t use both of these at the same time. However, like the HiLux, the Fortuner is impressive off-road.
|Key details||2022 Toyota Fortuner Crusade|
|Engine||2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel|
|Power||150kW @ 3400rpm|
|Torque||500Nm @ 1600-2800rpm|
|Drive type||Part-time four-wheel drive, low-range transfer case|
|Power to weight ratio||69.6kW/t|
|Tow rating||3100kg braked, 750kg unbraked|
While most other vehicles start to lose general appeal as they get older, this Fortuner seems to be ageing well in its section of the market. Important improvements and additions for 2021 help this cause, even if they do bring a bump in the asking price.
The flexibility of a sliding second row and a surprisingly spacious third row (which can be removed if you don’t want it) will suit some buyers nicely. And it sharpens the appeal for those who want something to accommodate the family during the week, while also being adapted into an adventure machine on that elusive holiday.
The Fortuner faces a stiff headwind in the form of Isuzu’s new MU-X, as well as the value-driven Mitsubishi Pajero Sport. And at the price of a Crusade, one could also consider a lower-specification LandCruiser Prado or Everest. However, it doesn’t change the fact that the Fortuner is well worth consideration.