Toyota Fortuner fans rejoice! The brand new version of the brawny SUV has finally reached our shores and if initial impressions are anything to go by, then it is safe to say that Toyota has managed to improve on the old car in every aspect. The Fortuner has a cult following and for a good reason. Its butch looks, rugged ladder frame, go anywhere capability and bulletproof reliability made it an instant hit. But now, seven years down the line the Fortuner was showing its age and fresh competition in form of the impressive new Ford Endeavour meant, sales figures for the Toyota SUV had started to decline. Now though, its replacement is here. Meet the new for 2016 Toyota Fortuner. And, if looks are anything to go by, it was certainly worth the wait.
Where the old SUV was all about tough looks, the new Fortuner looks more sophisticated and modern. The new Fortuner?s high bonnet gives it an intimidating presence. The large chrome grille looks macho and the terrific-looking all-LED headlights with daytime running lights give it great visual drama. The flared wheel arches and large 18-inch wheels dominate the profile. At the rear the design is more generic and the thick chrome strip joining the tastefully designed LED tail lamps gives it a Lexus like appearance.
The new Fortuner shares its underpinnings with the Innova Crysta, which is a heavily modified version of the original ladder-frame chassis. To make the new ladder-frame extremely rigid, Toyota has added more cross-members and additional welding points. On the flip side this has made the chassis much heavier than before and despite the weight saving through using high tensile steel for the body, the 2016 Fortuner still weighs nearly 200kg more than the old car.Toyota has completely revamped the design philosophy for the new Fortuner?s interior. The new cabin feels spacious, open and crisply styled. The dashboard is well detailed and the swooping dash top adds a sense of sophistication. Sitting miles above the road, you will feel like the master and commander of all happenings around you. As in any Toyota, the front seats are comfortable, there?s good space and the sense of security you get is quite something.
Despite the modern design, the cabin?s functionality hasn?t taken a hit and everything from the touchscreen to the aircon controls are tilted upwards for ease of use. The blue backlit instrument cluster is easy to read and the digital centre screen hosts a comprehensive trip computer. The insides are well built and fitted, though the textures and surfaces shout ?durability? louder than ?luxury?. Although the leather wrapped bits like the upper glove box and instrumentation hood feel nice, the lack of soft touch plastics is a big let-down.
The touchscreen, which is easy to use, looks old-school courtesy pixelated display, ageing graphics and blue feather touch buttons surrounding the screen. Also on a car this expensive, you don?t even get Apple CarPlay or Android Auto (which is available on many cars under Rs 10 lakh). The system does host loads of functions like satellite navigation, eco display (which shows how efficiently you are driving), and Bluetooth telephony and music system controls.
In the broad sense, anything with seven seats, body-on-ladder construction, and a near Rs 30 lakh price should be considered as competition to the new Fortuner. However, given how far this new Toyota has moved the goal post in this class of SUVs, we can comfortably discount the likes of the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport. The real competitor to the 2016 Fortuner is the new Ford Endeavour. And, given the proximity in pricing, stature, road presence and in fact driving appeal, the new Fortuner might not be able to steamroll to the top as easily.
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