Toyota Fortuner Experiential Drive Camp proves the new SUV is a very capable off-roader.
Toyota has launched the new Generation Fortuner in the Indian market. The SUV looks a lot premium and ditches the butch styling. We drove the beast in Cochin but did not get to experience the 4×4 characteristics of the SUV.
The previous gen Fortuner was very successful SUV in terms of sales and was very popular too. However the SUV did not impress 4×4 enthusiasts when the vehicle was put to test in challenging terrains.
Well the New Gen Fortuner promises to bridge that gap and has a lot more in store this time which has put many to surprise and sticks to its tag line True SUV, True Style.
We were invited this time to test the Fortuner at the Mumbai Experiential Drive Camp which is designed to give a first-hand experience of the new Fortuner’s on-road and off-road prowess to its customers.
Little did we know what was in store and expected it to be just an demo of the vehicle capabilities. After driving past the main entrance of film city in Goregaon Mumbai, our curiosity began to increase.
We reached the destination and were welcomed by 4 Fortuner’s who seemed to have been painted with mud.
We did our registration at the counter and were taken to the briefing room, where a trainer quickly ran us through some slides explaining the technology in the vehicle and some precautionary measures to be taken during the drive.
We were then split into groups and each group was headed by a captain (4×4 expert). We sat in the 4×4 Diesel Automatic Transmission Fortuner and the basics were explained such as button, gear lever etc.
The Fortuner 4×4 Automatic is equipped with Electronic Drive Control with 3 modes –
H2 – which allow the vehicle to be driven in 4×2 mode giving torque to the rear wheels only.
H4 – Here the 4×4 mode is engaged and torque is supplied to all wheels which offer more traction
L4 – Four-Wheel Low (L4) option which is to be used when one needs the entire vehicle to push to difficult terrains requiring maximum power and traction such as climbing or descending steep hills, off-road driving, and hard pulling in sand or mud.
The experiential drive camp was divided into two – Drive camp location 1 and drive camp location 2.
The Captain took command of the steering wheel and we first taken in the confined area close to the hanger. We were driven on the first obstacle rumbler followed by chicken holes which the SUV comfortably surpassed and were up for the next challenge putting the ATC to the ultimate test. The Articulation/Axle twister tests the chassis design for stability and electronics help to the move the SUV with ease.
The mode was then changed to H4 from L4. The SUV was made to drive on specially designed ramps which were placed to test the Fortuner’s axle twisting capabilities, where one of the wheels is high in the air. This is where the ATC comes into play, by sending power to three wheels, helping the SUV overcome obstacles in tricky situations.
The Active traction controls delivers power sensing which wheel has maximum traction. The vehicle was brought to complete halt balancing it on just 2 wheels. After this challenge we were up for the next.
After this challenge we were then driven along a straight and slightly twisty roads at high speeds of 100-120 kmph to showcase the SUV’s high speed stability and manoeuvring capability. We then reached our next challenge – the Deep Ditch.
The Captain briefed us about the next activity and shifted to L4 and pressed the Downhill Assist Control (DAC). When you activate this feature one does not need to brake hard and the vehicle will brake on its on using a combination of engine braking and using the brakes actively. We went down a steep slope at 35 degree which has kind of loose earth, but not once did the SUV skid even though it weighs about 2735 kgs.
Our captain then stopped the vehicle just before a slush pit and slammed the accelerator and drove quickly in the slush pit to highlight vehicles capability.
We then moved up the hill and reached a steep incline. Captain than stopped the vehicle at 35 degree and moved his leg from the brake pedal. The Hill Assist Control came in to play holding the vehicle for upto 5 seconds and then we moved swiftly by simply pressing the accelerator pedal. The vehicle can hold itself even on the steeper inclines.
We then moved towards our next challenge and after going down another decline reached the pit where we would test the water wading ability of the vehicle.
The company claims Fortuner can wade in waters upto 700 mm and the vehicle moved easily without a drop of water entering the cabin. We then climbed a steep incline with ease and moved to test the vehicle’s roll stability.
We were made to experience Positive & Negative Side Incline which allowed one to almost touch the ground (we were not allowed to open the doors). The vehicle performed all the activities with easy thanks to the newly designed Indestructible Tough New Frame, Double Wishbone front suspension and 4-Link with Coil Spring at the rear. The diesel variants also come with Pitch & Bounce Control stabilisers which further aids the driving stability.
We ended the experiential drive at the hanger completely satisfied with the SUV’s capabilities making it a strong contender for 4×4 enthusiasts who shied away from this beast all these years.
At the Hanger the 4×4 manual and 4×4 Automatic were on display for prospective customers to book and test drive.