2018 Toyota Fortuner GXL Review

2018 Toyota Fortuner Road Test, Review

2018 Toyota Fortuner GXL

Ute based wagon variants have become very popular and yet another of these, the unfortunately named Toyota Fortuner is based on the Hilux chassis.

The Fortuner GXL comes with heavy modifications to make it more car like for family buyers with genuine 4WD credentials.


Externally, the Fortuner is actually quite a pleasant design, at least to me, with bold front end and grill, sweeping uplift side profile and integrated rear end.

The GXL features

  • projector-type headlamps,
  • LED tail lamps,
  • side steps,
  • alloy wheels,
  • fog lamps,
  • roof rails and
  • Privacy glass

The tailgate has a maximum height is 191cm – which enables 90 per cent of Australian men to stand under it and ensures the pull down  is still within reach of 90 per cent of Australian women.

2015 Toyota Fortuner GXL interiorInternal

Internally the Toyota Fortuner raises the bar a bit for a Hilux.

It exudes premium SUV ambiance with elegant and flowing lines, soft touch materials on high touch areas, especially the centre console.

This is flanked by vertical columns covered in soft-touch materials that also provide leg support for the driver and front passenger.

Front fabric seats are very comfortable and with height and reach adjustment for the thick rimmed steering wheel, it is easy to find a comfortable driving position even for taller drivers.

The GXL features a high-precision, full-colour 4.2-inch MID with information including trip meters, vehicle checks and data to support economical driving. Steering-wheel controls operate the MID menu.

There is seating for seven people over three rows with sports front seats that are flared at the shoulders and fitted with firm bolsters for maximum support.

Fortuner’s seven seats are arranged in a 2-3-2 configuration.

The 60/40 split-fold second-row seat has a one-touch slide and tumble feature, while the 50/50 third-row seats are fold-to-the-side style that severely limits available storage space (as seen below).

Cargo capacity ranges from 200 litres to 1,080 litres when packed to the top of the seat backs.

Storage space is generous with a number of cup and bottle holders, compartments, trays, pockets and consoles.

Toyota has adopted the clever slide out cup/bottle holder under the air vents.

An air-conditioned compartment above the glovebox can be used to cool or warm items with the capacity for two 600ml bottles.

Convenient shopping-bag hooks are fitted to the front seat-backs.


Features include seven-inch touch-screen display audio systems with six speakers, auxiliary/USB port, AM/FM radio and a CD player.

The screen also displays the reversing camera image and provides access to Toyota Link connected mobility.

Toyota Link can provide access to Pandora Internet radio and help find fuel, a destination, weather and other assistance.

Toyota continues to ignore the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connections.

Convenience features include Bluetooth connectivity, voice recognition, steering-wheel audio and telephone controls and power door locks, windows and mirrors.

The GXL has air-conditioning with separate air-flow controls for second-row passengers.

2015 Toyota Fortuner GXL rear seatsDrive and Engine

The 2018 Toyota Fortuner GXL is powered by a relatively high-torque 2.8-litre four-cylinder common-rail direct-injection turbo-diesel engine with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic transmissions.

Either transmission is good and works well with the engine.

The engine produces 130kW/450Nm for the automatic and 420Nm for the manual.

Braked towing capacity is 3,000kg for the manual and 2,800kg for the auto. Tow ball rating is 10% of either weight.

Fortuner is economical at around 8.6 L/100k for the auto version.

We have driven the GXL over forest trails, sand dunes, heavy 4WD tracks, fire roads, highways and freeways and throughout, it has impressed with its ease of driving, ride and handling, tractability and quietness.

Toyota have done an excellent job of designing a vehicle for Australian conditions.

The Fortuner has strong off-road ability – as you would expect using the base Hilux 4WD transmission.

This includes rear differential lock, Electronic transfer case dial, A-TRC (active traction control) and locally developed underbody protection.

All Fortuner models have an electronically controlled transfer case for ‘on-the-fly’ changes from 4×2 to 4×4 high, using Toyota’s unique disconnecting differential.

The GXL runs 17 inch alloy wheels with 265/65 R17 all terrain tyres.


Safety is a key feature with a five-star ANCAP safety rating. The GXL is equipped with:

  • Stability and active traction control
  • Seven airbags
  • Reversing camera
  • Trailer sway control
  • Downhill assist control
  • Hill-start assist control
  • Rake-and-reach adjustments for the steering column

It includes three top-tether anchors and two ISOFIX child-seat mounts.

A comprehensive range of Toyota Genuine Accessories is available including airbag-compatible bull bars and newly developed towbar and load distribution hitch.

Good Bits

  • Rear diff lock
  • Balanced ride and handling
  • 4WD ability

Not So Good Bits

  • Slightly low on power
  • Tow rating for Auto
  • Fold up 3rd row seats – Seriously???

2015 Toyota Fortuner GXL side and rearSummary

This is a great alternative to either a Prado or a Kluger for families.

In addition to its prodigious off-road ability, the Fortuner delivers a compliant and quiet ride, a spacious interior, convenient features and premium quality expected in a modern SUV.

Facts and Figures: 2018 Toyota Fortuner GXL

  • Engine: 2.8 litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder 130kW/450Nm
  • Transmission: Six-speed AT 4WD
  • Safety: Five stars
  • Origin: Thailand
  • Warranty: 3 yrs/100,000km
  • Price: From $54,422
2018 Toyota Fortuner GXL
  • Overall Rating

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