Toyota has played a big role in redefining the way modern SUV’s are designed and manufactured. With everything Japanese the emphasis will always be on manufacturing vehicles that are extremely efficient and easy to maintain. Having driven quite a few Toyota SUV’s when I was living in Canada I can vouch for their quality and efficiency.The Fortuner was launched in India in 2009. Toyota tasted great success with the Qualis and the Innova. When they launched their first SUV in the market expectations were high. And those were met. The Fortuner was an instant success and has remained one ever since.
Tall stance, imposing in looks it was easy to drive with ample features on offer. Built on the Hilux Pickup Truck Platform this SUV is sold in different markets world over under different names.
The latest version of the Fortuner extends upon that. My first experience with this model of the Fortuner was at the media drive in Cochin over 2 years back. Then one drove it over 200 kms from Cochin to a tea estate. It had impressed me immensely then, so was looking forward to spending time with it again. I have owned a Qualis in the past, for 3 years which gave me a first-hand experience of how good Toyota cars are.The first thing you notice how sleek this model of the Fortuner looks in comparison to its predecessor. It comes with two engine options 2.7 litre petrol and 2.8 litre diesel. Manual and automatic transmission are standard to both petrol and diesel variants. The one I drove was the 2.8 litre diesel automatic. You start the engine and immediately the grunt of the powerful 2.8 litre that makes 175 bhp and 45.8 kgm of torque can be felt.
The Fortuner is such an easy car to drive. Which is testimony to the way Toyota designs its cars. The engine is not high stressed and manoeuvring one’s way in bumper to bumper traffic is easy. But the highway is where the real joy of driving the Fortuner lies. The gearbox may feel a tad slow to respond but that’s because Toyota is known for its long gear ratios. There are paddle shifters on offer. The Fortuner comes with 2 driving modes. Eco and Power. Power, is the mode one would tend to use on empty stretches on the highway where the engine responds in a more urgent fashion. Eco mode is the one most will drive in the city for a more efficient and relaxed driving experience.I spent a lot of time driving on hilly terrain with lots of sharp bends during this review. The SUV negotiated those easily without any noticeable body roll you expect in cars that are tall and big. The terrain shifted from good to bad and one also encountered lots of off-road sections. The Fortuner handled all these different roads with ease. For the enthusiast who enjoys off-roading look no further. This is just the SUV for that. You get to experience all the features Toyota has packed for just this reason.The infotainment system comes with Bluetooth, apple car play and android auto connectivity. The upholstery is of good quality and finish. Seats are very comfortable with good lumbar and under thigh support. There is ample leg room in the second row. The third row is a little tight in terms of leg room, its ideal and comfortable for a person of average height.The Toyota Fortuner comes loaded with a plenty of safety features such as dual front SRS airbags (driver + passenger), anti-lock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) system, 15-inches front disc brakes, GOA (Global Outstanding Assessment) body, Vehicle stability control (VSC), shift lock system, immobilizer, back sonar, seatbelts (front – 3-point ELR x 2 with adjustable anchor, 2nd row – three-point ELR x 2 + 2-point NR x1 and 3rd row – 3-point ELR x2), multi reflector quad headlamps and high mounted LED tail lamps.The Fortuner sells the most numbers in its category. Having driven it over 300 kms the last few days I can understand the reasons for its popularity and appeal.
The SUV ticks all the right boxes in terms of drivability, comfort and luxury along with the fact that Toyota cars are built to last. Upgrading to the latest model is not a problem too. The Fortuner commands a great resale value and is easy to sell.
Toyota Fortuner prices for the2.8 2WD MT(Diesel) (Base Model) start at Rs.29,59,000/- ex showroom Mumbai and 2.7 2WD MT(Petrol) (Base Model) starts at Rs.27,58,000/- ex-showroom Mumbai.Prices for Automatic Transmission start at Rs.33,28,000 ex-showroom for the 2.8 4WD AT(Diesel) (Top Model) and Rs.29,17,000 for the2.7 2WD AT(Petrol) (Top Model).