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Toyota Fortuner 2.4 V 4WD (2017) review

The Toyota Fortuner now has a 4x4 system for the 2.4 variant. Is it worth saving 150k over the 2.8 version?

What’s new?

After being on the market for two years in its current generation, the Toyota Fortuner has been given a mild update this month. But the changes don’t come in the form of a facelift or an engine-change.

The highlight of the update is the availability of a 4x4 drive system for the 150hp/400Nm 2.4-litre diesel version; all four driven wheels were previously the reserve of the 177hp/450Nm 2.8-litre sibling.

When specced similarly in V trim, the new 2.4 is 150,000 baht cheaper, at 1.499 million baht, than the 2.8. This may instantly sound great if your accountant limits your go-anywhere mid-size SUV budget to “no more than 1.5 million baht”.

Oh and one more thing. Toyota has finally joined the modern automotive world by becoming the last maker of pickup-based SUVs in Thailand to make all-round disc brakes as standard across the Fortuner model range. Previously, the rear axle featured the drum type, which Toyota once proclaimed as “sufficient”.

Cabin is filled with kit; front seats have 8-way adjustments.

What’s cool?

Giving buyers a wider choice of models to choose from is always a good thing. So, if the price tag of 1.499 million baht and 150k saving it has over the 2.8 is of significance for you, the 2.4 is quite a decent choice.

Of course, it may lack the top-end punch of the 2.8, but the 2.4 performs adequately at real-world speeds. And when you consider the kinds of speeds you would be able to do in the rough, the 2.4 suffices.

Although the brand’s so-called Sigma 4 all-wheel-drive is nothing of a technological tour de force, it works just fine when switching from two- to four-wheel-drive. The low-range gears also offer the usual levels of urge needed for crawling in the jungle.

Thai buyers usually like their cars to come with the latest in tech. But the simple truth about having all-round disc brakes is that braking performance feels more superior when decelerating hard from high speeds.

The 150hp 2.4-litre diesel can feel blunt at high speeds.

What’s not?

It would have been nice if Toyota had offered cheaper grades for the Fortuner 2.4 4x4 other than the V trim because what we’re talking about here is a lower price point for off-road needs.

Glance around in the pickup-based SUV market (see sidebar) and note that this particularly Toyota still isn’t the cheapest around. Worse, it has the most inferior engine in terms of power, if that really concerns you. Drivers needing more oomph should always be more content with either the 2.8 or the rest of the 4x4 competition.

Rear axle sees disc brakes made standard across the range.

Buy or bye?

For clients really needing a go-anywhere Fortuner, it isn’t really necessary to go for the 2.8 because the 2.4 performs sufficiently especially when it’s time to off-road. And that’s not to mention its added engine refinement and marginally superior fuel economy (both because of a generally smaller displacement).

Many Thai car buyers believe that when you want the most in anything, it’s best to go for the best. And sure, 150,000 baht may not actually be that critical in a 1.5 million baht SUV. Most importantly, the 2.8 gives added punch for more driving confidence out of the city – an area where recreational pursuers are mostly likely to take their 4x4s before heading for the grit.

In the end, had the 2.4 been offered with a lower grade and price, we’d probably wouldn’t give the thumbs up to the 2.8.

Off-road ability is enhanced with four-wheel drive and low-range gears.

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