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Toyota Fortuner and Nissan Patrol

Broadcast 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 that demand.

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 Toyota.

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 long-distance driving.

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 engine.

This 4,2 litre in-line six-cylinder unit is of the naturally aspirated variety, which means itís very slow by turbodiesel standards.

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 way.

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 stuff.

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 diff-lock.

Another plus for gentle off-roading is the lack of front and rear overhangs, so you donít snag the Fortuner on sudden elevation changes.

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 @ 5 200 rpm
  • Torque: 376 Nm @ 3 800 rpm
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, rear-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 8,6 seconds (claimed)
  • Top speed: 192 km/h (claimed)
  • Fuel consumption: 15,0 litres/100 km (estimated)
  • Price: R297 575

Nissan Patrol 4X4 pick-up

  • Engine: Six-cylinder diesel, 4 169 cc
  • Power: 85 kW @ 4 000 rpm
  • Torque: 264 Nm @ 2 000 rpm
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, four-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 19,7seconds (claimed)
  • Top speed: 150 km/h (claimed)
  • Fuel consumption: 16,2, litres/100 km (estimated)
  • Price: R285 500


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