Toyota Fortuner Expert Review

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Introduction

A quick look at Toyota's India connect will tell you that the brand has been built on sheer reliability. From the Qualis to the Innova, and finally, the Fortuner - products from the Japanese auto giant have packed in dependability by the bucketloads. The Fortuner was Toyota India's first four-wheel drive offering in the country. Over the past seven years, it has soldiered on tirelessly, outselling its rivals put together.

That said, it has become a bit too old-school now and is showing age. What better way to fix that than to bring in an all-new generation? The big Toyota is back in a premium avatar. What’s on offer? Let’s find out!

Pros
  • Punchy diesel engine gets 450Nm of torque, can be fun to drive too!
  • Petrol motor is refined - barely mutters a word when driving.
  • Well thought out variants. Both engines available with the choice of an automatic transmission, 4x4 on offer with the diesel motor.
  • Expansive feature list - LED projector headlamps, leather upholstery, touchscreen infotainment system, powered tailgate - the lot!
Cons
  • 2.7-litre petrol engine lacks outright grunt. Best suited to comfortable cruising.

Stand Out Features

  • Toyota’s Σ4 four-wheel drive system gets dedicated H2, H4 and L4 modes that can be switched on the fly.

    Toyota’s Σ4 four-wheel drive system gets dedicated H2, H4 and L4 modes that can be switched on the fly.

  • Toyota Fortuner gets 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters.

    Toyota Fortuner gets 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters.

  • Toyota Fortuner offers bi-beam LED projector headlamps

    Toyota Fortuner offers bi-beam LED projector headlamps

CarDekho Verdict

The new Fortuner has moved up the chain in terms of features, practicality and performance. What hasn’t changed, is the fact that it continues to feel built-to-last.

"It definitely makes a strong case for itself against rivals."

It definitely makes a strong case for itself against rivals that include the likes of the Ford Endeavour, and the Chevrolet Trailblazer.

Exterior

Put both generations of the Fortuner side by side, and you'd struggle to believe that the two actually belong to the same clan. Toyota's designers have given the big brute a (much-needed) makeover from head to toe, and there's not a single panel shared with the outgoing version.

It is still based on the ladder-frame construction derived from the HiLux pickup truck. So, it still looks massive and aggressive and will make you give way if you spotted it in the rear-view mirror. Compared to its predecessor, the new Fortuner is both longer and wider, which should translate into better room for the occupants.

Up front, the design is unmistakably Toyota. Newer designs from the Japanese automakers have donned sharper, and slightly aggressive tones and the new Fortuner is no different. Compared to the rather straight-forward design of the older iteration, this one looks evidently angrier. A massive Toyota logo takes centre stage on a three slat chrome grille, while the large bumper takes up most of the real estate at the front. The headlamps are sleeker now, and feature a LED projector headlamp setup along with LED daytime running lamps. The airdam mimics the grille and gets a dose of chrome along with the foglamp housing.

The chrome treatment continues over to the side, where a neat strip underlines the window line that has a kink near the C-pillar. We think it looks cool and adds some zing to an otherwise straightforward silhouette. The brawn of the Fortuner is amply evident when you view it side on. The flared wheel arches with massive 18-inch wheels (4WD only) add that touch of much needed muscle to the profile. The 2WD versions get a slightly subtler set of 17-inch alloys.  Little details such as the flush fitting roof-rails, black cladding and the macho-looking side step cement the Fortuner’s SUV appeal.

There’s a clear of sense of continuity to the design, as the chrome trim wraps around the D-pillar to flow over into the hatch. Viewed from the rear, the height becomes apparent thanks to the high-set rear windscreen as well as the wraparound LED taillamps. We like how the spoiler complements the overall theme, and doesn’t look out of place. The spare-wheel is neatly tucked away under the rear bumper, that houses a set of reverse parking sensors and some reflectors as well. And, in case you wanted to know what SUV you are tailing, there’s the big ‘F O R T U N E R’ embossing on the chrome strip.

Dimension wise, the Fortuner isn’t as long as its arch rival - the Ford Endeavour. However, it is almost equally wide and tall. Notably, the Ford has a much longer wheelbase.

The outright butch looks have been swapped for a more urban feel, which we think is a step in the right direction. Yes, the design has become a lot more aggressive now, which is a good thing considering how much we love angry looking SUVs!

Exterior Comparison

Toyota Fortuner Ford Endeavour Chevrolet Trailblazer Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
Length (mm) 4795 4892 4878 4695
Width (mm) 1855 1860 2132 1815
Height (mm) 1835 1837 1851 1840
Ground Clearance (mm) 220 225 253 215
Wheel Base (mm) 2745m 2850 2845 2800
Kerb Weight (kg) - 1879 2068 2040

Boot Space Comparison

Toyota Fortuner Ford Endeavour Chevrolet Trailblazer Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
Volume - - 205-litres 500-litres
 

Interior

Step inside the new Fortuner, and you will be enveloped by a sense of deja vu. If you have been inside the Innova Crysta, the cabin will seem like a very familiar place. While the design is entirely different, the layout of the dash, the placement of switches et all are very nearly identical to the MPV.

Toyota have clearly kicked things up a notch in terms of interior quality. The utilitarian look of the old cabin is done away with - courtesy a generous helping of soft-touch plastics, leather and other premium-feeling materials - that makes it feel worth the hefty price tag. The all-black theme gives it a sporty edge along with brushed silver and gloss black accents. Speaking of which, the gloss black appliques on the air-con controls are absolute fingerprint magnets, we wish Toyota had used an alternate finish here - considering one will be using the switches quite frequently.  

That aside, the design is quite refreshing, with the angular dash housing a meaty (and nearly upright) centre console, that is tilted towards the driver. The centre stack is home to the 7-inch touchscreen infotainment screen, that also gets navigation and acts as the display for the parking camera. Unlike the outgoing Fortuner wherein the audio system and the AC controls looked and felt like an aftermarket add-on, the newer arrangement is cohesive, and much pleasing to both look at and operate. Right under the controls for the dual-zone climate control, sits a 12V socket, a USB port, the switches for traction control and hill descent control, and the rotary knob for the four-wheel drive system.

It doesn’t take long getting used to the high perch, and the logical layout of the cabin means that everything is right where you want it, and is easily accessible. The driver’s seat itself can electrically adjusted for reach, recline, lumbar and height. The steering can be adjusted for reach and rake as well, which makes it fairly simple to settle into a nice position. The front seats are the bucket variety, which means you get a healthy amount of lateral support as they hold you in place nicely. Cubby holes have been laid out logically too, and there’s plenty of stowage available with the twin gloveboxes, central armrest storage and the large door bins put together.

Creature comforts have been well taken care off too. The Fortuner features a meaty leather-wrapped steering wheel, dark brown leather upholstery, a small LCD for the multi-information display, auto-up and down for all four power windows and rear air-con. Just like the Innova Crysta, the Fortuner feels like a lounge on wheels. The difference being, where the former is rear-occupant centric, the latter feels like it’s made for the driver.

That’s not to say that the rear bench isn’t a good place to be in. Climb into the second row, and you are greeted by the sheer sense of space. Room is barely a concern, and just like the Ford Endeavour, it wouldn’t have any qualms with three healthy people sitting abreast in the second row. There isn’t a captain seat version just as yet, but the bench can be reclined for some added comfort. There’s ample travel too that can be used to liberate a few precious millimeters of legroom.

Getting into the third row is an easy affair, as the second rows tumble with a single touch. The third row - much like most others in its class - can accommodate adults, but only just. With the knees pointing up towards the roof, and a slightly upright backrest angle, longer journeys are bound to get taxing after a point of time. That said, kids or young adults should have absolutely no problems being seated here.

The Fortuner’s cabin is a healthy blend of practicality and features that gets peppered with premium materials. It isn’t faultless, and does miss out on features such as active noise cancellation and electrically folding third row (that the Ford Endeavour gets) - but these are hardly deal breakers.

Performance

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The Toyota Fortuner is available with a choice of two engines. And surprise, surprise - one of them runs on petrol! The outgoing generation featured 2.5-litre and a 3.0-litre diesel motors, both of which have been binned in lieu of a 2.7-litre petrol motor and a 2.8-litre diesel.

Petrol

This motor made its India debut recently, under the hood of the Innova Crysta. The four-cylinder unit makes a respectable 166PS of power, and 245Nm of torque. The 2.7-litre engine can be had with a 5-speed manual transmission, or a 6-speed automatic.

The first takeaway from the big motor, is its refinement. Thumb the start-stop button and it comes to life quietly before settling into a smooth idle. NVH levels are well in control, and there’s very little engine noise to be heard both inside and outside the cabin. While the engine feels more than adequate for a relaxed cruise or sprints around the city, highway performance is just about average at best. The reason behind this is that most of the power is stored away in the top rungs of the rev range. You will have to work the engine a fair bit to extract any sort of performance out of it. It is only when you wring the motor hard, does it get vocal and feel out of its element. Shifts from the automatic are smooth, devoid of lag or shift shocks. However, it does feel slightly lethargic to react under kickdown, because of which we recommend you use the steering-mounted paddle shifters.

Diesel

Diesel duties are carried out by a lone 2.8-litre, four-cylinder engine. While it might be down on displacement compared to the old 3.0-litre motor, it packs in even more power, and is rated at 177PS. The manual variants get 420Nm of torque, whereas the automatic makes 450Nm.

The diesel is evidently the more ‘fun’ engine among the two. Turbo lag is nearly non existent, and there’s oodles of torque right from the get go. It picks up pace effortlessly and feels extremely poised carrying triple digit speeds. The extra cog in the gearbox helps as well, and we think the Fortuner is a great touring machine.

Performance Comparison (Diesel)

Toyota Fortuner Ford Endeavour Chevrolet Trailblazer Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
Power 174.5bhp@3400 197.2bhp@3000rpm 197.2bhp@3600rpm 178bhp@4000rpm
Torque (Nm) 450Nm@1600-2400rpm 470Nm@1750-2500rpm 500Nm@2000rpm 400Nm@2000-2500rpm
Engine Displacement (cc) 2755 3198 2776 2477
Transmission Automatic Automatic Automatic Manual
Top Speed (kmph) - - 190 Kmph 190 Kmph
0-100 Acceleration (sec) - - 13.2 Seconds 14.5 Seconds
Kerb Weight (kg) - 1879kg 2068kg 2040kg
Fuel Efficiency (ARAI) 12.9kmpl 10.91kmpl 11.45kmpl 13.5kmpl
Power Weight Ratio 2040kg 104.94944119212346 bhp/ton 95.35783365570599 bhp/ton 87.25490196078431 bhp/ton
 

Safety

Toyota hasn’t skimped out one bit on safety. Irrespective of engine or transmission options, the Fortuner gets 7 airbags, and antilock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD). Additionally, the second row features ISOFIX mounts for the child seats, and all seven occupants get their own 3-point seatbelt. The automatic variants also feature Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Hill Assist Control. The 4WD variants get all the safety nannies as well as Downhill Assist Control.

Safety Comparison

Toyota Fortuner Ford Endeavour Chevrolet Trailblazer Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
Airbags righticonClose righticonClose righticonClose righticonClose
ABS righticonClose righticonClose righticonClose righticonClose
EBD righticonClose righticonClose righticonClose righticonClose

Variants

The Toyota Fortuner is available in a total of six variants, encompassing two engine options, two transmission options and two drive types.

Petrol: 4x2 (MT), 4x2 (AT)

Diesel: 4x2 (MT), 4x2 (AT), 4x4 (MT), 4x4 (AT)

Toyota Fortuner similar cars to compare & consider  
*Ex-showroom price

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