How the Toyota Fortuner fares tackling the 4x4 Eco Trails in the Karoo National Park

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The Karoo National Park is surrounded by the impressive Nuweveldberge.
The Karoo National Park is surrounded by the impressive Nuweveldberge.
Nick Yell

In a recent article, I questioned the value propositions of the Toyota Prado versus the Fortuner. Even though the Prado boasts many more electronic driving aids and greater comfort levels (as well as permanent 4WD and a much greater range), I felt the price differential between the two might be too big in terms of actual driving benefits gained.

As a bit of a 4x4 track nut, one of the things that concerned me most about the Prado was its lack of standard ground clearance (215 mm), and while its back ride height can be raised electronically to 255mm, the Fortuner has an overall ground clearance of 279mm. This advantage, along with its marginally better approach angle, got me asking which of these two models would be better off-road, particularly on rocky and boulder-strewn tracks. 

Having successfully put the Prado through its paces on a range of rough 4x4 tracks (up to Grade 3), I decide it's now time to do the same in the latest Fortuner. With this in mind, I head off to the 90 000ha Karoo National Park, hoping that I can persuade a ranger to accompany me in another vehicle up, or down, the Grade 5 Pienaar's Pass, which was closed the last time I was there in mid-2017 and is now closed again after heavy rains in late 2020.

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