16 June 2021

Toyota Fortuner 2021 Car Review

We first reviewed the Toyota Fortuna back in 2016 - a model targeted at those who were in love with the very capable Hilux, but required a bit more space.

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Toyota Fortuner Limited 2021
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Toyota Fortuner Limited 2021
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Toyota Fortuner Limited 2021
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Toyota Fortuner Limited 2021
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Toyota Fortuner Limited 2021
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Toyota Fortuner Limited 2021

Today’s Fortuner has been tweaked and refined to offer an even more enticing package for 2021.

There are two Fortuner options currently available in New Zealand:

  • Fortuner GXL from $56,990 (TDP)
  • Fortuner Limited from $59,990 (TDP) 

A fortunate face

Although the Fortuna is closely related to the Hilux, only the bonnet and front doors are carried over.

The Fortuner has a bold look that sets it apart from its sibling, with features including sharp and sculptured exterior lines, slim Automatic Bi-Beam LED Headlights and a wide trapezoidal black grille. At the rear, there’s also a smartly integrated spoiler along with some sporty 18-inch alloy wheels.

The Fortuner rides high with a dominating chrome beltline, which can be found on all current variants. This makes it look more modern and more muscular than the Hilux. Don’t be fooled though - underneath it holds most of the same abilities of its Hilux cousin.

For 2021, new colours have been added to Toyota’s pallet for some added sparkle. Now on offer is Emotional Red and Deep Sea Blue (which replaces Nebula Blue). Our review model was the Fortuner Limited finished in Emotional Red, which we thought really helped the car stand out on the road.

Next level interior

The interior is well put together, with heated electric black leather accented seats in the Limited model. The GLX model misses out on this added luxury, and instead gets fabric manually adjustable seats only.

Regardless of trim level, the Fortuner remains well-specced, with black synthetic leather trimmings along with faux black wood-like materials and silver ornamentation. As far as we can tell, Toyota has said farewell to the brown interior we experienced when we first reviewed this model.

All variants sport a handy 220V socket, which is perfect for charging the laptop on the worksite. There’s also a total of three 12V sockets, which is fortunate as there’s a noticeable lack of USBs in the otherwise expansive cabin – just one.

The power-operated hatch makes loading cargo a piece of cake and, space-wise, there’s a considerable amount of room in the rear with the third row of seats strapped to the side of the cargo area. With the seats in this position, there’s 1,059mm of length between the second row seats and the back door trim.

The Limited model features an 11-speaker JBL sound system which is visibly noticeable on the dashboard and provides very warm and crisp audio.

For 2021, the infotainment has been upgraded. The touchscreen now sits at eight inches, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now included as standard. The instrument cluster and Multi-Information Display have also been revised with new information displays, including the front wheel turning angle.

Driving Force

All models are powered by an advanced 2.8-litre diesel engine, which was originally launched in the award winning Land Cruiser Prado and the Hilux six years ago.

There are three drive modes: ‘Eco’, ‘Normal’ and ‘Power’, along with an easy-to-use 4WD selector with the options of high range 2WD and 4WD, or low range 4WD for when you need to alternate from the urban transporter to something more adventurous.

We spent most of our testing in ‘Normal’ as ‘Power’ was a bit too harsh for an urban family cruise, although we could still feel that truck ladder chassis at play. It still felt reasonably composed and not too jiggly compared to the Hilux.

The adaptive cruise control was great, but it’s designed to disengage at low speed and won’t bring you to a complete stop like some of the other systems we have experienced with the past Toyota range.

Under the hood, the turbodiesel engine has been tweaked to increase power by 20kW to 150kW compared to the 2016 Fortuner, while peak torque has been boosted to an impressive 500Nm. This power increase was achieved by modifications to the cylinder block, pistons, turbo design and cooling system.

Along with the engine improvements, a variable flow control (VFC) power steering device is now included to further reduce fuel consumption.

Combined fuel consumption for town and highway driving now sits at 7.6L/100km, and combined CO2 emissions are also down (from 228g/km to 201g/km).

Braked towing capacity for the 2021 Fortuner has also been improved, from 2,800kg to 3,100kg to match the latest Pajero Sport. This is all brilliant news for families, especially those with bigger boats and caravans.

The Toyota Fortuner received a 5-Star ANCAP rating during testing in 2019.


When originally launched, the Fortuner Limited model would have set you back an additional $19,000 on top of the base model. Today, it sits at a much more palatable price point than before, and the SUV remains a solid seven-seat option with impressive off-road ability along with enhanced economy and performance.

Due to Toyota using the Toyota Driveaway Price (TDP) pricing configuration, effectively including the ORCs in the RRP, the Fortuner is priced marginally cheaper than the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, which presents an interesting dilemma.

At a glance

Model tested

Toyota Fortuner Limited


2.8-litre turbo


From $56,990 (TDP) - $59,990 (TDP) as tested

ANCAP safety rating

5 Star


150kW, 500Nm


Six-speed auto

Fuel economy/CO2

7.6L/100km (Combined), 201g/km

Towing capacity

3,100kg (Braked), 750kg (Unbraked)



Seating capacity


Luggage capacity/payload


Safety systems

  • Pre-Collision System with Autonomous Emergency Braking, and Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection
  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
  • Lane Departure Alert with Yaw Assist function (Brake Control)
  • Road Sign Assist
  • Brake Assist
  • Downhill Assist Control
  • Drive-Start Control
  • Trailer Sway Control

Find out more on how the AA can help you when buying a new car:

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