Toyota is the biggest carmaker in the world and Fortuner has been amongst the best selling car for the Japanese auto giant. The SUV has been a major hit in India ever since it was first launched in 2009 and even the mid-life update in 2011 received a great feedback from our SUV-crazy market. The new Fortuner has big boots to fill and let’s find out if it is able to do so convincingly.
How does it look?
The earlier Fortuner was one of the most distinctive cars present on our road. If you like your cars big and brawny, the Fortuner will definitely leave lasting impression in your mind. The new generation Fortuner is bigger than its predecessor and comes with more power, tech and safety. The earlier Fortuner was known for its big and macho design. However, the new Fortuner looks more chiseled, lean and is based on an all new TNGA platform. It gets proper LED treatment with LED DRL’s and sweptback headlamps which gives it a more Land Cruiser-ish look. Even on the inside, everything is new. The touchscreen infotainment system along with the MID driver display look sharp and crisp and offer all the data you’ll ever need. The quality of the materials feels upmarket and is a huge leap ahead from the previous generation model.
How does it perform?
Well, we tested both the petrol and the diesel variants of the Toyota Fortuner. The diesel variant is powered by an all new 2.8-litre diesel motor which is good enough for 177 bhp of power and a healthy 450NM of torque whereas the petrol variant gets the same unit as the Innova Crysta petrol which can produce 165 bhp of power and 245 of torque. Both the cars are available with manual and automatic transmission options but we got our hands on the automatic variants.
Let’s talk about the diesel variant first, as soon as you crank on the engine, you can still hear the typical Toyota diesel engine clatter. The initial response from the motor is good as you can harness all 450Nm of torque as low as 1700 rpm till 2400 rpm which basically ensures that you always have that chunky torque wave down low in the rev range. However, the conventional torque converter gearbox is a major letdown. It is quite slow and lazy to shift between gears and feels dated on a car that is otherwise so modern. There is almost a one second delay between gear shifts and even the addition of paddle shifters does not really help. The conventional torque converter does have its added advantages of low maintenance but just doesn’t harness all that power and torque effortlessly. Driving the car under 3000 rpm makes for a smoother drive and revving it above that just makes the engine vocal in an unpleasant way. It also comes with three driving modes- Power, Eco and Normal. Eco mode is best suited for city driving as it linear out’s the power output.
Talking about the petrol unit, the 2.7-litre unit feels more refined and rev happy. There is almost no engine sound at idle and the car feels very quiet even when you are pottering around at city speeds. The torque converter again does not feel smooth even with the petrol unit but certainly feels better than the diesel variant.
The ride quality has also improved and the Fortuner just glides over bumps and surface undulations. Doing long journeys will be a comfortable affair in this SUV and even the last row of seats are quite usable. The steering feels lighter than the outgoing model which is a good thing and making U-turns in city traffic no more feels like an upper body workout. However, the steering has a bit of a dead centre feel to it which doesn’t really aspire a lot of confidence when you are pushing the car hard.
Toyota has also gone big on Safety by bringing in 7 standard safety features like – 7 airbags, ABS, Active Traction Control (A-TRC), Isofix child restraint system. The automatic gearbox variants get the hill-hold function, while and on the 4X4 you also have the hill descent setting. The new Fortuner has also received a 5-star safety rating in the Global NCAP tests and top marks to Toyota for standardizing safety features across the range.
Should I buy one?
The toughest task for a carmaker is to update something which has been crunching good numbers and clearly justifies the saying, “ Why fix something that isn’t broken”. Well, after driving both the diesel and the petrol variant of the new Fortuner, I can finally say that Toyota has done a commendable job by improving all the shortcomings of the outgoing Fortuner. The new Fortuner is rich on safety and features, feels upmarket on the inside and drives decently well. However, all the added stuff does come with a premium. The top-spec 4×4 AT Diesel variant comes to around Rs 40 lakhs once you calculate all the taxes and insurance costs. To put things into perspective, the Fortuner was initially launched at around Rs 19 lakhs in 2009 but having said that, the new Fortuner still retains the capability to be a frontrunner.
|Engine Type/ Displacement||2.8 L Diesel/2.7 L Petrol|
|Power||177 BHP/165 BHP|
|Torque||450 Nm/245 Nm|
|Transmission (Gearbox)||6-speed MT or 6-speed AT/5-speed MT or 6-speed AT|