Fame and Fortuner

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(Image: Supplied)
(Image: Supplied)

The ancient Kingdom of Mapungubwe was once located on our country’s northern border, at the confluence of the mighty Limpopo and Shashe rivers where Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa converge.

Today, the area is home to Mapungubwe National Park, but a thousand years ago this was the site of the subcontinent’s first indigenous kingdom. Established on fertile lands, blessed with gold and ivory, its strategic location enabled trade with India and China for almost 400 years – from 900 AD to 1300 AD.

On our way to ride the Tour de Tuli – an iconic 270 km cycling tour – we took some time to explore this Unesco World Heritage Site in the upgraded Toyota Fortuner. We drove the flagship 2.8 GD-6 VX Fortuner 4x4, which could comfortably swallow all our luggage and cycling kit after we latched the two seats in the third row. The cycling tour begins and ends in Mapungubwe and includes long stretches through Zimbabwe and Botswana.

toyota fortuner

(Image: Supplied)

To get to Mapungubwe, we had to do a tiresome six-hour, 520 km drive from Johannesburg. Luckily the going was made easy thanks to the 2.8-litre GD-6 engine, delivering 150 kW of power and 500 Nm of torque. The stretch of N1 between Joburg and Polokwane is notorious for its speed traps and traffic cameras, so we simply engaged the radar-equipped cruise control to stay within the speed limit. When the radar system detects a car slowing down in front of you, the Fortuner automatically reduces speed to maintain a safe following distance.

On the inside, things are just as comfortable: The spacious cabin with its leather upholstered seats has recently been upgraded to dual-zone climate control and an 11-speaker JBL Premium Audio system on the flagship model. Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality allows you to use all your smartphone apps like navigation and music via the 8-inch entertainment system.

toyota fortuner

(Image: Supplied)

With an 80-litre fuel tank and fuel consumption of just over 8 l/100 km, we could cover about 900 km on the open road before needing to refuel. When it came to the off-road jeep tracks in the national park, the Fortuner proved its 4x4 credentials during game drives. It’s easy to toggle between 2WD, 4WD and 4WD Lo, and the rear differential can be engaged with the press of a button when things get steep and rough.

Our VX model has been further enhanced with a Blind Spot Monitoring system and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, which is particularly useful when you have to reverse out of a parking spot and there are pedestrians or other cars crossing behind you.

A tough, reliable yet comfortable and stylish vehicle like the Toyota Fortuner certainly takes the stress out of a long road trip. No wonder it remains the top-selling vehicle in its segment.

Toyota Fortuner 2.8GD-6 4x4 VX 6AT
  • Engine 2 799 cc turbo-diesel
  • Power 150 kW @ 3 000 – 3 400 rpm
  • Torque 500 Nm @ 1 600 – 2 800 rpm
  • Transmission 6-speed automatic
  • Fuel consumption 7.9 l/100 km
  • Ground clearance 279 mm
  • Towing capacity (braked) 3 300 kg
  • Approach angle 29°
  • Departure angle 25°
  • Warranty 3 years/100 000 km
  • Service plan 9 services/90 000 km
  • Service intervals 10 000 km
  • Price R870 900
toyota fortuner

(Image: Supplied)

This post and content is sponsored, written and provided by Toyota.

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