Fortuner and Nissan Patrol
date : 20th August 2006
The Toyota Fortuner is one big
chunk of a vehicle, and to do it justice it needs a big chunk
of an engine to get it moving.
Weíre happy to say Toyota has done us proud in this
department, as the four-litre petrol V6 is a great engine.
In fact the rear-wheel-drive Fortuner offers near hot-hatch
performance, particularly in acceleration where it breaks into
the eight-second bracket in the 0-100 sprint.
Production on the Fortuner has recently been dramatically
increased to 800 units a month to satisfy at least some of
At under R300 000, this is an imposing vehicle, way more
sophisticated than the Condor, and in concept this is Toyotaís
first real MPV available here. The Midas touch continues for
Bland or not, the full-leather trim is top-drawer in terms of
quality and equipment.
Interestingly, the driverís seat adjusts for height without
changing driving posture, which is useful for off-road and
Dual operation air-conditioning offers separate temperature
levels for front and rear passengers Ė including those in
the occasional "space-up" seats.
After the sophistication of the
Fortuner, the Nissan Patrolís back-to-basics approach may
come as a shock, and that includes its chug-a-lug diesel
This 4,2 litre in-line six-cylinder unit is of the naturally
aspirated variety, which means itís very slow by turbodiesel
The term "agricultural" applies not only to the
engine, but to the Patrol as a whole. But Nissanís research
showed a ground-swell of demand for an honest 4X4 work-horse.
The slight off-set of the rear axle makes it look as if the
load-bed is too long for the chassis, but we are assured thatís
the way it was meant to be.
Multiple rising-rate leaf springs at the rear look like theyíll
last until the next Big Bang.
In fact the Patrol is rather odd-looking, but rather pleasing
in its simplicity at the same time.
We were, however, disappointed that Nissan went for a
single-skin instead of a double-skin load bed.
And some of the detail finishing, such as the silicon sealer
application looks a bit rough-shod.
The cabin is austere by modern cushy standards, but itís
built to last, and it does offer leather seating to go with
the rubber matting.
The seats are, in fact, very comfortable, and the ride
over both rough and smooth surfaces is surprisingly smooth.
Yes, taking in the new Patrol is like taking a walk back in
time, when men were men and bakkies were built with a complete
absence of aesthetics in mind. Kind of refreshing, we thought.
That old diesel churns away like it was meant to last at least
half a million kilometers!
If we enjoyed the lack of
pretension in the Patrol, we liked the Fortuner for reasons
that are at once completely different and similar in essence.
The very concept of an SUV is frivolous and nobodyís
pretending this is a workhorse. But despite being a rear-drive
car posing as a 4X4, this is one competent vehicle in its own
The Nissan is fitted with low-range, and to lock the
transmission into 4X4 mode you need to hop out and turn the
rotary switches on the front axles. This is made for the rough
But a strange omission is that of a diff-lock, Nissan going
with a limited-slip diff instead. However, suspension-travel
and axle-articulation is good.
Apart from being rugged, those well-contoured seats hold you
in place nicely over rough-going, and they insulate driver and
passenger well from the bumps.
And, because of the refrigerator-white paint scheme, Hendrik
wasnít too phased by the dust and presence of thorn trees.
With metallic paint and all the trimmings, however, the Toyota
needs a more careful approach to off-roading.
But itís a recreational motorcar with lots of ground
clearance, rear-wheel-drive, and most importantly, a
Another plus for gentle off-roading is the lack of front and
rear overhangs, so you donít snag the Fortuner on sudden
The lack of low range on this 4X2 does mean less control when
low-speed is required. But the potent V6 engine partially
makes up for that.
Toyota Fortuna 4,0 V6 4X2
- Engine: V6 petrol,
3 956 cc
- Power: 175 kW @ 5
- Torque: 376 Nm @ 3
Five-speed manual, rear-wheel-drive
- 0-100 km/h: 8,6
- Top speed: 192 km/h
- Fuel consumption:
15,0 litres/100 km (estimated)
- Price: R297 575
Nissan Patrol 4X4
Six-cylinder diesel, 4 169 cc
- Power: 85 kW @ 4
- Torque: 264 Nm @ 2
Five-speed manual, four-wheel-drive
- 0-100 km/h:
- Top speed: 150 km/h
- Fuel consumption:
16,2, litres/100 km (estimated)
- Price: R285 500
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