One with the machine. The new BMW M4 Coupé.

The strength of the BMW M4 Coupé is evident in every detail.

We drive Toyota's thriftier Fortuner

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Redesigned front end lends a more modern appearance.

South Africa's most popular SUV had just been given its most significant upgrade to date and the big news is the new 2.5-litre entry-level 4x2 version that's a cool R70 000 cheaper than the next most affordable 3-litre derivative.

The new engine has not taken much of a knock in the output stakes, boasting the same 343Nm torque figure and power is only down from 120kW at 3400rpm to 106kW at 3400rpm. The 2.5-litre D-4D motor is equipped with an electrically actuated variable nozzle turbo, intercooler, a common rail direct diesel injection system and double overhead cam shafts.

But does it feel like a compromise in the real world? Not according to our launch correspondent, Denis Droppa of Star Motoring:

"It's no under-powered, under-specced derivative that'll make you wish you'd somehow found the extra money. I drove the new 2.5 D-4D 4x2 quite extensively on its media launch in Zambia last week and it proved to be a very capable engine in terms of both performance and refinement. It cruised effortlessly, accelerated without noticeable turbo lag, and was decidedly quiet.

"The fact that this maximum twist is available from as low as 1600rpm was very apparent in the engine's easygoing nature, which required minimal revving, and suggests that it'll make a decent tow vehicle too."

"The five-speed gearshift, the only transmission available in the 2.5 D-4D, shifts smoothly and adds to the vehicle's overall relaxed driving experience," Denis concluded.

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Besides the aforementioned diesel models, which will no doubt continue to be the most popular, Toyota still offers the option of its brawny 4-litre V6 petrol powerplant, which delivers 175kW at 5200rpm and 376Nm of twist at 3800rpm.

As before, the Fortuner is offered with a mix of rear-wheel drive and 4x4 models. The 4x2s still have some off-road capability though, being fitted with a lockable rear differential, while the 4x4s get a heavy duty transfer case and Torsen limited slip centre diff. Both diesel models are available with a five-speed manual gearbox, but only the 3.0 D-4D gets an automatic option (four-speed) while all versions of the 4.0 V6 are fitted with a five-speed autobox.

The new Fortuners also receive the same towing upgrade that was implemented on the new Hilux line-up, the result being that towing capacity ranges from 1715kg on the 2.5 D-4D to 2075kg on the 3.0 D-4D.

Of course, the Fortuner's upgrade is also skin deep and you'll see the biggest changes in the redesigned front end, which receives new headlights and a bolder trapezoidal-shaped grille with prominent chrome detailing. All models barring the 2.5 D-4D also get high-intensity discharge (HID) bulbs with auto levelling.

In profile, the Fortuner features new overfenders with rear-flowing character lines and the rear end is set apart by shapelier taillight units, featuring clear glass. Finally, all models are fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels and there are seven exterior colours on offer, including new ones like Silky Golf and Dark Steel Mica (the latter available from early next year).

Subtle design changes also abound inside the cabin, where you'll spot a new instrument cluster with chrome detailing and a redesigned centre console.

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On the spec front, the new 2.5 D-4D model gets all the basics like air conditioning with rear ventilation outlet, electric windows and mirrors, a CD/USB/Aux sound system linked to steering wheel controls and an on-board computer.

However, if you want luxuries like cruise control, leather trim, automatic climate control, automatic headlights, electrically-adjustable driver's seat and the new 15.5cm TFT touch screen for the audio system then you'll have to opt for one of the 3.0 D-4D or 4.0 V6 models.

On the safety front, all versions of the Fortuner are fitted with dual front airbags (with side and curtain bags on all but the 2.5 D-4D) as well as ABS brakes and vehicle stability control. All models are also sold with a five-year/90 000km service plan.

PRICING:

2.5 D-4D - R325 500

3.0 D-4D - R395 000

3.0 D-4D AT - R406 300

3.0 D-4D 4x4 - R439 800

3.0 D-4D 4x4 AT - R451 200

4.0 V6 AT - R422 300

4.0 V6 4x4 AT - R466 900


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Anonymous, wrote

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11:40am on 23 September 2011
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Jealousy is really ugly, the sales numbers will tell the truth. Well done Toyota, I like the idea of the 2.5 D4D as a non 4X4 family car.

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xsh, wrote

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07:11am on 22 September 2011
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The car is Japanese, but the price is Italian.

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Hangmann, wrote

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04:49pm on 21 September 2011
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I wonder if this has the Isuzu engine in it now that Toyota bought GM's shares?

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Anonymous, wrote

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03:45pm on 20 September 2011
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Looks Awesome!!! Wish I had one!

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Anonymous, wrote

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02:35pm on 20 September 2011
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I have seen this facelift in the flesh and its one of the best looking SUV's out there for a very good price. Great engines, excellent and practical features and brilliant re-sale. Toyota will easily make thier target of selling 1000+ units a month with this winner.

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Anonymous, wrote

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02:29pm on 20 September 2011
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The best 4x4 x far!

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Anonymous, wrote

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01:17pm on 20 September 2011
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I think they are capable spacious family cars with a bit more offroad capability that their competitors but have lost the plot in terms of design and features.... the designer needs a double tap to the head and his replacement should be a woman.

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Anonymous, wrote

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01:10pm on 20 September 2011
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Made in China? Sure looks like it. How can those in charge of an icon like the Hilux and Fortuner allow such a backward design step to be taken? From rugged to soft in one "facelift". Fix it Toyota!

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Clever Trevor, wrote

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01:01pm on 20 September 2011
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Fortuner passed sellby date-now Totota wants to come out with a "SPORTS" version-No MOTORPLAN like the KIA SORENTO which is a more modern vehicle and Cheeeeeeeeper.

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Anonymous, wrote

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11:25am on 20 September 2011
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Well done Toyota!, The new look is refreshing and modern. Those who don't like it probably have the old spec Fortuner and it's simply a case of sour grapes. :)

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PerK, wrote

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11:07am on 20 September 2011
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And the 3.0 D4d still has the rubbish 4-speed auto box from the 1980's.., new Fortuner ? You mean new tupperware...yawn...

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Anonymous, wrote

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11:00am on 20 September 2011
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These cars are among the most hijacked and stolen - purely cos Toyota dont update their security system. Maybe then i would consider buying one.

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RJ, wrote

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09:39am on 20 September 2011
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I can only say this to all of you out there. I have just bought the new D4D 4x4 manual fortuner, after having the 1st spec and the 2nd spec Fortuner. It gets better and better every time. The ride is awesome. My previous 2 fortuners were also D4D 4x4's. Go and ride it first before comparing it to a Kia or a Hyundai!

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PW, wrote

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07:36am on 20 September 2011
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toyota's get uglier by the day!!!

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Sirtillian, wrote

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07:36am on 20 September 2011
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I'm a current fortuner driver and would never buy this one - ITS BUTT UGLY!! The price is alos ridiculous, would far prefer a second hand Disco 3. Toyota you lost a returning customer with this one.

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Joe, wrote

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08:10pm on 19 September 2011
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For that kind of price I'll ralther have a 2nd hand Pajero sport.

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Anonymous, wrote

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07:49pm on 19 September 2011
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UGLY, UGLY, UGLY. What for interior is that. Recycled plastics?? Good luck if you drive a current Fortuner and need to change it for this one!!!

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Anonymous, wrote

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05:08pm on 19 September 2011
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A bakkie based vehicle pushing half a million rand. Insanity.

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ajhinafrica, wrote

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04:24pm on 19 September 2011
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a GWM looks better! this just looks cheap

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AsH, wrote

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04:10pm on 19 September 2011
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Toyota really needs to up their game, Kia and Hyundai are taking the market by storm with impressive, good looking and affordable cars. Toyota's vehicles lack all of the above.

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