Launched in India way back in 2009, the Fortuner has been a massive success for Toyota in the Indian market. After a long successful inning Toyota finally came up with an all new version in November 2016 and took the game higher. Ford was enjoying the success of its new Endeavor when Toyota decided to spoil the party by playing its turn. To mark its entrance in the market, Toyota came up with a series of off-road events across the country to give its customers a taste of their new creation. They made it sure that everyone leaves the event rather impressed.
Living in Mumbai I was invited to the Film city, Goregaon where the professionals at ‘Offroad junkies’ had prepared an amazing off road track. The track had some really nasty and challenging bits which only a serious off roader 4×4 SUV could tackle. But here there were a few muddy Fortuners waiting to take the guests in to the water streams and steep slopes and all that a car could possibly come across. The off-road course included going down a steep slippery slope, climbing uphill with almost no traction whatsoever. There was a water stream which tested the cars wading depth, i.e. the depth of water that a car can drive through. Not to forget the side inclined which was the scariest of all but everything was under control and thanks to Fortuner’s capabilities everything was just so easy.
The Instructor first drove us through the course teaching, guiding and warning on how to deal with different circumstances and meanwhile putting up an amazing show of the Fortuner’s capabilities. Then came my turn to take up the wheel. Turn by turn, step by step, the instructor kept guiding throughout the course. I’ll be honest, i was not even little confident that i could drive through such challenging terrains that too on my first off-road attempt. Hats off to the amazing product that the Fortuner is, a beginner like me could take up the course like a Pro. The car went over all sorts of terrains, inclines, mud, loose surfaces with no fuss at all. And you might think a car so capable off-road will wobble and dance when driving it on the road, then you need to drive this car yourself and see how it defies that logic. It is quite stable and agile for its size and weight. The suspensions sure can deal with tough off-road situations but they can amazingly keep the car well sorted even when driving on the road. The brake issue in the previous version has also been addressed in this one, at least that is what i was told.
It comes with all kinds of off road gadgetry like a low range gearbox, hill descent control, hill assist control, stability control etc etc. Other features like 7 airbags, ABS, LED headlamps etc. In my opinion it lacks some luxury features and touches though. For instance, there is no auto-dim mirror, the clock on the dashboard feels like it came from a cheap hatchback or even a motorcycle. There is no Sunroof even as an option. These though are tiny things that you can live with. The car as a whole is bang on. Let me tell you more about it:
Powertrain: Toyota offers the Fortuner with a 2.7 L Petrol engine with a power of 166 BHP and 245 NM torque, also a 2.8 L diesel engine pumping out 177 BHP and up to 450 NM of torque. Diesel comes with an option of both transmissions, Automatic as well as a Manual. Petrol however gets only Auto. 2WD-4WD can be switched via a dial button in the car as when you need.
Looks: The Fortuner now looks more Japanese than ever. It has lost the butch tough looks and now looks more like a sophisticated muscular luxury SUV. It gets DRLs and LED headlamps and tail lamps which help it look hi-tech and modern. Like the previous generation model though even this car has a lot of snob value. You make a statement when you arrive in one. However the Japanese styling may not win much hearts as before.
Interiors & comfort : The dashboard and interior design is modern yet functional. It is way better than before. The car like a typical Toyota, scores high on interior comfort. Massive boot and 7 seat configuration. Nothing much to complain about inside the cabin other than the non-auto-dimming mirror and that cheap digital clock that ruins the premium feel and looks.
Driving experience: No matter where you drive the Fortuner, it drives well! I think that’s how i can describe the car in one short and sweet statement. It stays well balanced and feels confident to drive on the roads even at high speeds. Plus it comes with an added bonus of Toyota reliability.