Car Advice

Toyota Fortuner clarification: ground clearance is not 279mm, seats not user-removeable, towing in 4th gear

Toyota Australia clarifies questions regarding Toyota Fortuner: ground clearance, third row seats, towing… Here’s what you need to know.

WE’VE HAD CLARIFICATION from Toyota on a few points since our Fortuner review, so here’s an update with more information. Nothing changes from the original review, it’s more just a confirmation.

Ground clearance – It’s not 279mm, it’s 225mm

Toyota incorrectly quoted ground (running clearance) of 279mm which has been widely reported in the media. This cannot be right for a vehicle with a live axle running 265/65/17 tyres, so we measured it and were unsurprised to find it was 225mm (see main image). Toyota have since confirmed the correct figure is indeed 225mm. 

Inspection of the Fortuner revealed no portal axles either, just a well-protected underbody.

Third-row seats… Not meant to be user-removed

The third row rear seats are not designed to be user-removeable; there’s no easy clip on/off as you find with other fold-up seats. We did remove one anyway so we could fit more camping gear in the back, as many owners will, so it was a reasonable test even if it’s not what you’re really meant to do with test cars. 
 
To remove you need to pull off a couple of bits of trim and undo two 14mm bolts. Once removed there is no trim part to cover the gap.  Refitting is really, really difficult. We are seeing if there are any 5-seater Fortuners elsewhere in the world which would have the appropriate trim panels to fix the gap.
 
To refit seats you need to align the two big springs with the small one while lining up the two bolts either side..this is where you need a tame but strong otcopus.
No trim panel to hide this.
 
If car-based bush camping like this is what you’re going to do with your Fortuner then you’ll want as much space in the back as possible, so those seats are going to come out.
 
IMG_6216

Towing

The Fortuner owner’s manual states that 5th and 6th gear should not not be used for engine braking. Here’s exactly what it says:
 
Vehicles with manual transmission: to maintain braking efficiency and changing system performance when using engine braking, do not use 5th and 6th gear.
Vehicles with automatic transmission: to maintain braking efficiency and changing system performance when using engine braking, do not the transmission in D. Transmission shift range must be in 4 or lower, in S mode.
 
This is NOT the same as stating that only 4th gear should be used for towing, and is standard advice for hill descents with trailers, even without trailers.
 
There is always a lot of fear about using top gear for towing, but that’s less of an issue with modern automatics than it was in the past with older 3 speeds combined with overdrive. 
 
Also, the Fortuner manual says:
 
When towing a caravan trailer etc., use a distributing hitch.
When the total trailer weight is greater than the vehicle weight, use a sway control device.
 
Toyota have clarified there are no specific recommendations for using a load distribution (weight distribution) hitch (WDH) but suggest it be considered, which is standard advice for any towing vehicle designed to use a WDH.  The advice about sway control is standard too. Fortuner has Trailer Sway Control, as do most wagons and utes these days, and all that is explained in our Fortuner technical analysis.
 
More on this page about Fortuner towing and it is also covered in our Fortuner roadtest.
 
Fortuner LDH
 
Links
 
If more information comes to light on any of these topics or others we will update the relevant posts.
 
IMG_5979
 

10 Comments

  1. trackdaze
    January 9, 2016 at 9:26 am — Reply

    This misstated ground clearance is also quoted for the hilux

    • January 9, 2016 at 5:17 pm — Reply

      Correct it is, I’ve notified Toyota that needs updating too.

      • trackdaze
        January 10, 2016 at 9:15 am — Reply

        the brochures. I suspect though itll say “class leading” or some other guff.

        Tip with tape measure is the case will have a measurement imprinted on it for the width of the case. You can stand the tape on its side and then simply add this number to the measurement on the tape. Typically its a nice round number for the strugglers.

        Appreciate you may have done it this way for presrntation.

        • January 10, 2016 at 9:23 am — Reply

          Didn’t know that! Good tip. But yes I’d have still taken the shot that way.

    • trackdaze
      January 10, 2016 at 9:11 am — Reply

      Oops

  2. Andrew Riles
    January 9, 2016 at 11:18 am — Reply

    I knew it……there was no way Toyota could achieve 279mm under the diff, I just hadn’t got close enough to measure to be certain…. do u know if the diff is still the same old 8in design that Hiluxes have been using since they came off the ark :)??

    • January 9, 2016 at 12:04 pm — Reply

      Don’t know, but I expect so…why change a good thing 😉

  3. Mr.Truth
    January 9, 2016 at 12:24 pm — Reply

    Good work in taking BIG.T[tm.F/0] on, but what about the oil light going on??

    • January 9, 2016 at 5:17 pm — Reply

      I noted that in the review. Sometimes these things are specific to vehicles. If we get more reports we’ll ask Toyota to explain.

  4. Billy
    March 9, 2016 at 7:09 am — Reply

    Toyotas look like such cheap junk these days. That white Fortuner looks cheaper than a Chinese car.

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Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper