2020 Toyota Fortuner Crusade 4WD Review

2020 Toyota Fortuner Crusade 4WD Road Test Review

Toyota Fortuner Crusade

Toyota Fortuner Crusade is overshadowed by Prado and, to a lesser extent, larger Landcruiser but Toyota’s Hilux-based Fortuner 4×4 has developed into a credible alternative to its much more expensive stablemates.

I drove the top of the range Crusade model at $58,290 which is two grand short of a lower spec’ GXL Prado.

Fortuner Crusade has plenty of practical and luxury kit and shares pretty much the same engine with Prado apart from detail differences. It’s as tough as they come, will go virtually anywhere and tow anything… up to around 3.0 tonnes.

Like Hilux, Fortuner comes out of a Thai factory but any negativity attached to this is probably unfounded because the factory there has been cranking out Toyotas for decades.

Fortuner has been with us for 5 years now undergoing a couple of upgrades along the way including a big improvement in safety credentials last year that essentially brought camera/radar driven advanced driver assist technology.

It’s a seven seater and can be bought in 6-speed manual or six speed auto configuration. The test Crusade auto is rated at 450Nm of torque as opposed to manual Fortuner models with 420Nm. You can never have enough torque.

Though not all that attractive, Fortuner is chunky, high riding and practical.

It has plenty of capable competition from the likes of Pajero Sport, Pajero, Isuzu MUX, Ford Everest and other, less off road capable SUVs.

Toyota Fortuner Crusade


Fortuner looks slightly short in the wheelbase but it’s an optical illusion underlined by the amount of room inside. It’s the stepped rear doors that foreshorten Fortuner’s side aspect making it look dumpy from some angles, coupled with a high ride height and tall body.

That might be nit picking a tad but you probably wouldn’t buy a Fortuner on looks.

The front is in a current Toyota family styling idiom having much in common with Hilux including a chrome grille and long, high mounted, tapering headlights. The face features nicely integrated driving LEDs in the “bumper” and an upward sloping chin for extra approach angle clearance.

Rear styling is dominated by wide, thin tail lights connected by a chrome garnish with a shroud over the top of the tailgate.

Fairly standard 18-inch alloys, side rails and roof rails add to Fortuner’s robust looks.

Toyota Fortuner Crusade


Inside has been tidied up with more soft touch panels along with other upgrades to the audio, a 4.2-inch info’ screen in the instrument cluster, decent size 7-inch centre touch screen with ToyotaLink infotainment system and electrically adjustable driver seat. Both fronts are heated and the leather upholstery is supple and comfortable also available in an attractive light tan along with the obligatory dark grey.

The multi-function wheel has numerous buttons and controls for various functions at the driver’s fingertips along with paddle shift.

The dash is a conventional yet functional design dominated by a large centre stack containing many of Fortuner’s controls.

It has one touch seat folding and offers all occupants easy access into full size seats in three rows.

There’s even a load space at the back with all three rows in place.

The driver’s view is pretty much unimpeded in all directions and seat height is high.

The ambience inside Fortuner Crusade is luxury 4WD thanks to the soft feel surfaces and supple leather coupled with a generous amount of luxury features such as the road sign assist, 11 speaker audio and hard wired satnav.

Love the cool box under the centre arm rest.

Toyota Fortuner Crusade interior (Pre-production model shown.)


As this is the top of the range Fortuner there’s plenty to get excited about like;

  • Power tailgate
  • Climate control with multiple outlets
  • Heated front seats
  • One touch seat fold
  • Rear diff lock
  • Selectable 4WD
  • Keyless start/entry
  • LED headlights high and low beams
  • Roof rails and side steps
  • Leather

Toyota Fortuner Crusade

Drive and Engine

This is a strong engine similar to that in Prado with changes to the balancer and other details.

It’s a 2.8-litre turbo diesel with maintenance free chain camshaft drive to twin cams.

Output is 130kW and 450Nm in the 6-speed auto.

You can run it in rear wheel drive only or variations on 4WD selectable on the fly through a dial on the centre console.

Ride is controlled by double wishbone front suspension and multi-link at the rear with disc brakes all round.

The six speed auto is imperceptible most of the time delivering smooth shifts up and down the range.

Going off road is no problem in Fortuner as it’s almost unstoppable in this environment thanks to a body on chassis structure, high ground clearance, short overhangs front and rear and torquey engine driving through a conventional, selectable 4WD system.

All good.

It gives a smooth controlled ride on the road with not too much body roll and good noise insulation.

Performance is OK off the line, compromised a tad by Fortuner’s 2135kg bulk but once it’s underway, strong roll-on makes it a handy tool in general driving.

Tows like a beauty too especially the auto.

Toyota Fortuner Crusade


Fortuner scores a 5-star crash rating augmented this time around with the extra advanced driver assist technology.

It scored 5 stars back in 2015 at launch but really steps up this time around.

In addition to the primary safety kit, Fortuner’s current inventory includes technology that boosts safety and aids collision avoidance. Stuff like pre collision warning that picks up cars, pedestrians and cyclists, the road sign warning system is handy too as is trailer sway control and headlamp levelling system.

Still not a fan of active lane keeping as it takes too much control away from the driver though the number of idiots still using their phone when driving probably makes it a necessity.

Good Bits

  • Tank tough
  • Impressive off road credentials
  • Strong engine
  • Safe

Not So Good Bits

  • Fairly unattractive
  • Bit slow off the mark
  • Ride height could be an issue for some

Toyota Fortuner Crusade


Before driving the latest Fortuner I was ambivalent about it as something I might like to own.

Not now.

This is a good thing, cheaper than a Prado but offering a similar drive feel. Look past the styling and you have an excellent ‘round Australia chariot with fixed price servicing at $240 a pop, the best dealer network around and impressive reliability record…..

Facts and Figures: 2020 Toyota Fortuner Crusade

  • Engine: 2.8L four-cylinder turbo diesel producing 130kW/450Nm
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic
  • Warranty: 5 years/ unlimited km
  • Safety: Five stars
  • Origin: Thailand
  • Price: from $58,290 MLP*

*MLP Includes GST and LCT but excluding statutory charges, dealer costs and dealer delivery. See your dealer for RDAP. Does not include price of options. Some features mentioned in the article are options

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Toyota Fortuner Crusade

Toyota Fortuner Crusade

Before driving the latest Fortuner I was ambivalent about it as something I might like to own.

Not now.

This is a good thing, cheaper than a Prado but offering a similar drive feel. Look past the styling and you have an excellent ‘round Australia chariot with fixed price servicing at $240 a pop, the best dealer network around and impressive reliability record…..

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