The Fortuner from Toyota Kirloskar Motor has been around in India since 2009 and has sold over 75,000 units so far. Primarily seen as a status symbol in our country, it is the default choice of political bigwigs, affluent businessmen, prosperous agriculturists and real estate developers. At the same time, the SUV has proved its worth as a family car, daily runner, highway cruiser and a capable off-roader also. Its closest competitors have been the Ford Endeavour, Hyundai Santa Fe and Pajero Sport but the Fortuner constantly topped the charts year after year.
While it received subtle updates from time to time, the biggest change is this 2nd generation All New Fortuner which is not only larger in size but also far superior on engine performance, cabin comfort and drivability as compared to its predecessor and promises to steal the show from the competition once again.
### EXTERIOR ###
One glance and you realise this is a completely new model with larger dimensions and a sense of aggression, agility and masculinity in its design philosophy. The front is dominated by a thick chrome grille and sleek LED headlamps with the fog lamps sitting lower into the bumper. The sleekness of design is carried forward to the sides too. In profile the car appears longer (though the wheel-base is the same) and the kink in the window-line is a flamboyant touch. The 18 inch alloy wheels look tough and do justice to the size of the vehicle. The rear is also stylishly designed with a wraparound windscreen and trendy LED tail lamps. Toyota has been using chrome to good effect in all its new models and the Fortuner too gets a healthy dose of chrome all around.
+ Key Highlights
# Imposing stance
# Bi-Beam LED projector headlights & LED DRLs
# Auto Headlamps & Wipers
# LED tail lamps
# Satin finished Roof rails
# Blacked out side pillars
# Chrome plated door handles and window beltline
# Tough looking new alloys
# Wrap-around rear window with floating roof design
# Intelligent use of chrome all-around feels premium
# 18 inch alloy wheels
### INTERIOR ###
The cabin is a huge improvement over the outgoing model with respect to design and quality of materials used. As you climb into the all new Fortuner, you instantly begin to appreciate its sporty, luxurious and upmarket cabin. The multi-layered dashboard with up-to-date instrumentation and infotainment looks premium and modern. Just as chrome inserts and linings lend elegance to its exteriors, judicious use of leather on the dashboard, steering wheel and door panels offer the much desired richness inside the cabin.
The seats are now bigger with perfect side bolstering (for driver & co-driver) and right amount of cushioning to ensure that occupants stay comfortable even during long journeys. Headroom is generous, knee room is adequate and the foot-wells in both rows are deep enough to let you stretch your legs on long trips. However six-footers may find the headroom a little tight in the second row, while the third row is best suited for kids.
Instrumentation and Navigation is modern, Air-conditioning is powerful and all three rows get individual vents but Audio system feels average in comparison. The instrumentation panel sports new optitron meters which display plenty of useful information while the centrally mounted 7 inch infotainment unit is intuitive and easy to use. The split glove box with cooling function for the top one is a very useful touch. There are adequate storage spaces for sunglasses, mobile phones, wallet, water bottles and other knick-knacks. LED cabin lighting feels premium and puddle lamps are pretty useful too.
Everything inside the cabin feels in place and the ergonomics are faultless. There is nothing to complain about except for the absence of a sun-roof which is really desirable for a vehicle in this segment.
+ Key Highlights
# Cabin feels plush and neatly laid out
# Generous knee room, leg room and average head room
# Comfortable seats with good cushioning
# Judicious use of leather, metallic accents and faux wood
# Tilt & telescopic steering column
# All windows with auto Power Up/Down and Jam protection
# Cooled upper glove-box
# 8-way electrically adjustable driver seat
# Smart entry with push start/stop
# New optitron combimeter with illumination control
# Automatic climate control with dual AC
# Large 7 inch infotainment & navigation screen with capacitive switches
# Multi-function steering with audio, telephony & MID controls
# Reverse camera with sensors
# Power back door with memory function and Jam Protection
# Illuminated entry and follow-me-home headlights
# Excellent noise insulation
# Accessory socket in all rows
# Sequential shift and paddle shifters for automatic variants
# 200 L boot space with all 3 rows up
# Approximately 1000 L cargo space with 2nd and 3rd row folded
# Rear wiper & defogger with timer
### DRIVE & PERFORMANCE ###
Toyota Kirloskar Motor has launched the Fortuner in Diesel and Petrol engine options.
- Diesel engine: 2.8-liter four-cylinder 1GD-FTV with 16 valves producing 177 PS @ 3,400 rpm and 450 Nm of torque @ 1,600 – 2,400 rpm
- Petrol engine: 2.7-liter four-cylinder Dual VVT-i with 16 valves producing 166 PS @ 5,200 rpm and 245 Nm of torque @ 4,000 rpm
Both the motors are extremely refined and fuel efficient. Average fuel economy for the Diesel will be 14 kmpl for the manual and 13 kmpl for the automatic whereas the Petrol is expected to deliver close to 9 kmpl in both manual and automatic. The Diesel gets a 6 speed manual & automatic gearbox where the Petrol gets a 5 speed gearbox only.
The all new Fortuner comes equipped with an illuminated and smart entry feature where-in you simply approach the vehicle with the smart key in your pocket, swing open the door and climb into the cabin. The 8 way electrically adjustable driver seat along with adjustable steering helps you to settle down to a comfortable driving position. As you depress the clutch pedal and press the Power switch, the engine instantly comes to life and is ready to lunge forward. The view from the driver’s seat is commanding and a large glass area means that you can clearly observe what’s happening outside. Back-up camera and parking sensors make reversing easy.
As you gain momentum, you will appreciate the light clutch, fairly short gear throws and superb noise insulation. The hydraulic steering wheel is well weighted and feedback too is fairly acceptable for a vehicle of this size.
The new 2.8 litre turbo charged diesel engine is very refined, responsive and delivers excellent power whenever needed. Driving the Fortuner is an enjoyable experience and it proves to be a good city vehicle as well as a long distance highway cruiser. Like the Innova Crysta, the Fortuner comes with 2 driving modes – Eco & Power. The acceleration is linear in Eco mode and is best suited for tamed driving. Engage the vehicle in Power mode and the entire character of the Fortuner changes dramatically. There is a phenomenal surge in power and the vehicle seems to be in a hurry to munch up the miles. Cruise control makes driving blissful and Fortuner is at ease cruising at 3 digit speeds. Thanks to all 4 disc brakes, ABS with EBD and Brake assist the vehicle brakes confidently and does not throw up any unwanted surprises during hard or panic braking. While Straight-line stability is excellent at high speeds and it’s a joy driving the car on winding roads too, the vehicle tends to over steer around hairpin bends.
The suspension set-up feels stiffened up and the pitch and bounce control mechanism ensures that vertical body movement inside the cabin is under check. Body roll is also well suppressed considering the dimensions of the vehicle. All these positive changes in the ride and handling department are due to the new TNGA (Toyota New Generation Architechture) platform on which this vehicle has been engineered.
For off-roading purpose, Toyota has equipped the new Fortuner with 4wd Hi range and 4wd Low range as against the permanent AWD of its predecessor. While on paper this may seem inadequate in comparison to Endeavour’s dedicated terrain management system, in reality the Fortuner performs most off-roading tasks without any protest or hesitation. The Fortuner also gets Downhill Assist Control and Vehicle stability Control which is helpful in tricky and challenging situations.
On the safety front, Toyota has ensured that it does not fall short of the competition. Seven airbags, ABS with EBD, Brake assist, VSC, HAC, DAC, Speed auto-lock, ISOFIX anchors, etc form a part of the standard safety package.
+ Key Highlights
# Diesel & Petrol Engine options
# Automatic variants in both Diesel & Petrol
# 7 SRS Airbags
# All 4 Disc Brakes
# Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)
# Downhill Assist Control (DAC)
# Hill Assist Control (HAC)
# Cruise Control
# Front & rear ventilated brakes
# Pitch & bounce control
# Eco & Power mode
# 4wd with High & Low range
# Active traction control
# Speed auto-lock
# New TNGA Platform
### VERDICT ###
Toyota engineers have done an excellent job in tackling the imperfections of the outgoing model. There is a massive improvement in engine performance, driving dynamics, cabin comfort and ride quality. Overall the 2nd generation Fortuner seems to have taken inspiration from the more expensive and luxurious Lexus & Prado. Starting at Rs.25.92 lacs (Petrol, ex-showroom Delhi), the Fortuner isn’t cheap but Toyota was never a participant in the price war game in India. The immense fan following that Toyota enjoys is for its bullet proof reliability and stress free ownership. The Fortuner has always been an aspirational vehicle and potential customers won’t mind paying a premium for the Toyota badge that is worth its weight in gold in our country.