As the traffic in major South African cities gets worse, automatic transmissions are gaining in popularity, even (or especially!) in big diesels, so now Toyota has added an 'entry-level' auto to its Fortuner line-up.
The new 2.5 D-4D Raised Body Auto, at R350 400, slots in just above the 2.5 D-4D manual, the most affordable Fortuner, with the same four-speed auto transmission as used in the other diesel engine in the range, offering smooth power transfer from low down the rev range.
It's powered by a newly-developed 2.5-litre turbodiesel with a variable nozzle turbocharger. Its turbine blades are infinitely adjustable, so the blade angle can be optimised depending on engine load.
At low revs, when exhaust gas pressure is weak, the blades close, forcing the exhaust gas to flow through a narrower aperture, automatically increasing the pressure that allows the compressor to work.
The blades are powered by an electric motor so the turbo comes in at very low revs to minimise turbo lag.
At high revs, the angle of the blades opens to avoid the kind of pressure that can damage a turbocharger.
The new turbo has substantially boosted (pun intended) power output - from 75kW and 260Nm in the previous 2.5-litre diesel to 106kW and 343Nm.
GOOD FOR THE HILUX TOO
Which has prompted Toyota to drop the new engine into the Hilux bakkie as well, where that extra torque will be most welcome, but since bakkies are subjected to different working conditions than family vehicles such as the Fortuner, it's available only with a five-speed manual gearbox, as the Raider 2.5 D-4D (Raised Body) Raider Double Cab, at R358 000.