• Toyota Fortuner 4×4 review

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    Toyota Fortuner is one of the most well-established SUV brands in India. Toyota sells between 1,500-2,000 Fortuners every month, a figure that can put many affordable hatchbacks to shame, including Toyota’s very own Etios Liva!

    First launched in 2009, the first-gen Fortuner became immediately successful for its imposing design, and later on, for its bulletproof reliability. In 2016, the thoroughly redesigned second-gen model was launched in India. We now find out if the Fortuner possesses enough finesse to back up its robust sales.

    Design & Build

    While the previous Toyota Fortuner boasted an old-school, butch design with squared edges, the new one adds a healthy dose of slickness to the same butch formula. The elongated head & tail lamps and sharp bumpers give the second-gen Fortuner a more contemporary appearance without compromising on its imposing footprint.

    Inside is where the second-gen Fortuner has raised the bar by several notches. The cabin is no longer utilitarian like its predecessor and the new design gives that all-important premium vibe.

    Is it the best cabin in the Rs 30 lakh price bracket? Definitely not, the D+ segment saloons would blow the Fortuner out of the water in this regard. But, the Fortuner’s cabin is well put together and has soft surfaces at all the right spots.

    Ladder frame Toyotas are renowned worldwide for their indestructible build quality, and the Fortuner is no different. Obviously, that sophisticated, tank-like German build is missing here, but the Fortuner is made for a completely different audience altogether. It feels solid, and more importantly, it reassures that it will take on every abuse that our Indian roads throw at it without breaking a sweat.

    Space & Comfort

    The Fortuner is marketed as a seven-seater, but as you’d expect, it’s best used for carrying up to five people if outright comfort is what you’re expecting. Sure, the third row seats do recline, but to make them usable for an average sized adult, the second row passengers have to slide their seats forward. So, the third row is best kept for short trips.

    The seats themselves are quite comfortable on the Fortuner. There is ample legroom in the second row, even with the front seats pushed all the way back. However, like most truck-based SUVs, ride quality is imperfect. No doubt, it’s much better than the old Fortuner, but roads imperfections still seep in, particularly in the second row.

    Performance & Handling

    The second-generation Toyota Fortuner is powered by a 2.8-litre, 4-cylinder, turbo diesel engine that makes 175 bhp of power and 420/ 450 Nm (manual/ automatic) of torque. Our test car is the 4×4 manual variant.

    The new 2.8-litre engine is a rather refined unit. It isn’t very audible on the inside and passes on only minimal amount vibrations inside the cabin. The only time its diesel groan gets uncomfortably loud is when you rev it hard.

    Then, the engine comes with three drive modes – Normal, Eco and Power. When not engaged in Eco or Power, the Fortuner automatically runs in normal mode. Acceleration and throttle response is reasonably good in this mode for most people. Those seeking to extract more kilometres from every drop of diesel can put the SUV in the Eco mode, which dulls the throttle response quite a bit, but honestly, it isn’t that big of an issue in Indian driving conditions.

    However, the Power model works very well for those seeking that extra rush of adrenaline. This mode makes the throttle response crisper and in-gear acceleration increases notably. While the Fortuner won’t win any sprints against similarly priced saloons, it is a fairly quick SUV nonetheless, especially when the Power mode is engaged.

    Being a high-riding vehicle, you cannot expect the Toyota Fortuner to glide through corners. While making quick direction changes, the high centre of gravity results in a decent amount of body roll, and then, you also feel that vehicle’s weight.

    However, the Fortuner never felt nervous while changing directions on hilly roads during out tests. When driven sensibly, it’s a very stable and confidence inspiring vehicle to drive. The steering on the SUV is hydraulically assisted, thereby assuring that it’s not overlight and devoid of any feel. But hey, do not expect high precision levels from the steering either.

    Off-roading

    The second-gen Toyota Fortuner 4×4 is equipped with three modes – H2 (normal rear-wheel drive), H4 (four-wheel drive) and L4 (low range four-wheel drive). It also gets electronic aids such as traction control and hill assist (both up and down) to enhance its off-roading capabilities. Then of course, the icing on the cake is it’s 225 mm of ground clearance (unladen), which isn’t just beneficial off tarmac, but a boon on Indian roads as well.

    The high ground clearance coupled with ample amount of torque means that the Fortuner 4×4 is a very capable machine off-road. Then, the lectronic aids do their best to avoid most mishaps if the driver goofs up. However, the incredibly stupid thing here is that the Fortuner 4×4 is equipped with regular road tyres, whereas the 4×2 variants come with all-terrain rubber! Yup, go figure…

    Verdict

    So no surprises then, the Toyota Fortuner is indeed a very accomplished SUV. It looks great, drives well, is reasonably spacious and is built to last. There are caveats, of course. The ride quality is imperfect and you can find more luxurious interiors for a similar price.

    But, these drawbacks can be overlooked when you realise that the Fortuner is known to figuratively run forever, and being a Toyota, it’s incredibly light on the wallet when it comes to maintenance. No wonder then why Indians do not give a second thought before spending around Rs 30 lakh on this SUV!

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  • Audi SQ2 breaks cover

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    • Ahead of its scheduled debut at the 2018 Paris Motor Show, the Audi SQ2 performance compact SUV has been digitally revealed. Only a single front image of the vehicle has been released as yet.
    • Mechanically, the SQ2 is closely related to other performance-oriented products within the Volkswagen Group. Powering it is a turbocharged 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine that develops 296 bhp and 400 Nm and makes the SUV go from 0-100 km/h in 4.8 seconds.
    • Then, a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox feeds power to the SQ2’s all four wheels through Audi’s Quattro all-wheel drive system. The multi-plate clutch on the SQ2 can transfer up to 100 per cent torque to the rear within milliseconds if the front tyres lose traction.
    • The standard S sports suspension lowers SQ2 by 20 mm versus the standard Q2. Audi also claims to have put an improved steering wheel with a greater steering angle that helps improve agility when manoeuvring.
    • Aesthetically, the SQ2 has all the S series elements – blacked out parts, bigger air intakes, larger wheels, Alcantara treatment on the inside, sports seats, etc.
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  • Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain launched at Rs 75 lakh

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    • For the first time in India, Mercedes-Benz has launched a non-saloon E-Class in the form of the E-Class All-Terrain.
    • Based on the Euro-spec E-Class wagon, the All-Terrain model adds rugged body molding, more ground clearance, and Merc’s 4Matic AWD system to the former to create what’s essentially a souped-up wagon with SUV-like capabilities.
    • The Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain is powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine that makes 191 bhp of power and 400 Nm of peak torque. This motor comes mated to a 9-speed torque converter automatic gearbox.
    • The interior of the E-Class All-Terrain remains largely similar to the standard E-Class saloon. However, being a wagon, the All-Terrain has a bigger 640 litre boot, which can be further expanded to 1,820 litres by folding its rear seats.
    • The Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain is launched in only a single-spec E 200d diesel variant which is priced at Rs 75 lakh (ex-showroom). The only other vehicle of its kind is the Volvo V90 Cross Country, which is a whole Rs 10 lakh.

     

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  • Amazon leads smart speaker segment in India

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    • According to a new report by International Data Corporation (IDC), Amazon’s Echo series of smart speakers lead the smart speaker segment in India with a market share of 59 per cent.
    • The same report also claims that the smart speaker category in India grew by 43 per cent in the second quarter of 2018.
    • IDC claims that Amazon and Google are helping establish the smart speaker segment in India by providing special offers on online platforms. Also, these two companies are investing a lot on marketing these products to create mass awareness.
    • Navkendar Singh, Associate Research Director, IDC India, said, “Although the initial usage of smart speakers are currently limited to few use cases as the smart homes market is at a very nascent stage in India, we are seeing signs of it growing beyond entertainment”.
    • Very recently, Amazon launched three next-generation Echo smart speakers in India with prices ranging from Rs 4,499-14,999. All Echo devices have Amazon’s AI-based smart assistant called Alexa integrated into them. 

     

    Source

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  • 2019 Yamaha R3 unveiled in patent leaks

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    • The current Yamaha YZF-R3 is nearing the end of its lifecycle, and its successor is said to be in its final stages of development.
    • Now, new patent leaks from Australia and Turkey have revealed the 2019 R3’s design entirely. This design will also likely be adopted by the 2019 R25, which is nothing but an R3 with a slightly smaller engine.
    • The present R3 is the only bike to not have the new R Series design. This will change next year as the patents show that the 2019 model will have dual full LED headlights with an air-intake in the centre, just like the current R1, R6 and R15.
    • Patent leaks also reveal the presence of the upside-down telescopic forks, R1-inspired fuel tank, and a brand new tail section.
    • The 2019 Yamaha R3 is reported to be powered by the very same 321 cc, inline 2-cylinder, fuel-injected engine from the current model. However, due to different tuning, power and torque figures might vary.

     

    Leak Source

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  • Ferrari Portofino launched at Rs 3.50 crore

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    • Ferrari has finally launched its brand new ‘entry-level’ offering, the Portofino, in India starting at Rs 3.50 crore (ex-showroom).
    • The Portofino replaces the California T in Ferrari’s lineup. Just like its predecessor, the Portofino is a hard-top convertible GT supercar with a 2+2 seating arrangement. Visually, it’s a stunning machine.
    • Powering the Ferrari Portofino is the award-winning 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 engine that’s good for producing 592 horsepower and 760 Nm of twist force. The engine comes mated to a 7-speed dual clutch gearbox. The Portofino can sprint from 0-100 km/h in just 3.5 seconds.
    • The Portofino sits atop a new aluminium chassis that’s claimed to be 35 per cent stiffer than the one on California T. Also, the former is 80 kg lighter than the latter.
    • The cabin of the Ferrari Portofino is draped in Alcantara and leather. In typical Ferrari fashion, its driver controls are attached to the steering wheel. Ferrari has also added a new wind deflector on the car that reduces airflow inside the cabin by 30 per cent when the roof is down.

     

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  • Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro revealed with display notch, dual selfie cameras

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    • Xiaomi has revealed the Redmi Note 6 Pro, the phone which will succeed the very popular Note 5 Pro from earlier this year.
    • Going with the notch trend, the Note 6 Pro gets a 6.26-inch FHD+ display with a notch that houses its dual 20MP + 2MP front cameras with AI scene recognition.
    • The rear camera setup consists of a 12MP main sensor coupled with a 5MP depth sensor. While the resolution remains the same as the Redmi Note 5 Pro, the Note 6 Pro’s main camera has larger 1.4µm pixels and a brighter f/1.9 aperture.
    • What hasn’t changed from its predecessor is the Snapdragon 636 SoC and the big 4,000mAh battery. The Redmi Note 6 Pro has been initially revealed with only 4GB of RAM, but a 6GB RAM version is sure to come very soon.
    • The Xiaomi Redmi Note 6 Pro will surely India-bound, but we cannot confirm a launch date just yet. When launched, it will cost more or less the same as its predecessor.
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  • Isuzu MU-X facelift India reveal on October 16

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    • Isuzu India is reported to reveal the facelifted MU-X in India on October 16, 2018. It is said to go on sale a month later.
    • The MU-X facelift will carry subtle design changes such as projector headlamps, LED daytime running lights, LED tail lamps, revised bumpers and new alloys.
    • The interiors of the Isuzu MU-X facelift will carry a refreshed dashboard design. Then, the cabin will sport a new dual tone colour theme, soft touch surfaces, more equipment and an updated infotainment system.
    • Mechanically, the SUV will continue with the current version’s 3.0-litre diesel engine that pumps out 174 bhp of power and 380 Nm of peak torque. This motor is mated to only a 5-speed automatic gearbox.
    • The Isuzu MU-X, while being the most affordable SUV in its segment, hasn’t been setting sales charts on fire. The update might bring in some much-needed sales numbers for Isuzu.
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  • Realme C1 launched in India

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    • Alongside the Realme 2 Pro, the entry-level Realme C1 has also been unveiled, which at Rs 6,999, is targeted at Xiaomi’s Redmi 6 series.
    • With a 6.2-inch HD+ display, the Realme C1 sports a notch at the top and a prominent chin below the display.
    • Powered by Qualcomm octa-core Snapdragon 450 SoC clocked at 1.8GHz, Realme C1 is backed by 4,320mAh battery.
    • In terms of photography, the phone has a 13MP + 2MP dual rear camera setup. It also has a 5MP camera with AI Face Unlock support at the front.
    • Like any other Realme devices, the Realme C1 hasn’t changed its OS though – it’s Android Oreo 8.1 along with ColorOS 5.2 skin.
    • As far as storage is concerned, the Realme C1 offers 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage. It also has a dedicated microSD card slot with support for up to 256GB cards.
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  • Realme 2 Pro launched at Rs 13,990

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    • The much-anticipated Realme 2 Pro has finally arrived in India. It will be sold through flash sales exclusively on Flipkart, staring October 11, 2018.
    • The Realme 2 Pro has been launched in three variants – 4GB RAM/ 64GB ROM for Rs 13,990, 6GB RAM/ 64GB ROM for 15,990 and 8GB RAM/ 128GB ROM for Rs 17,990. Notably, this device is now the most affordable smartphone in India with 8GB of RAM.
    • The phone sports a waterdrop notch which is reminiscent of parent company Oppo’s F9 Pro and even the upcoming OnePlus 6T. It sits above a 6.3-inch IPS LCD display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio.
    • In terms of optics, the latest flagship device from Realme has a 16MP f/1.7 primary camera with a secondary 2MP depth sensor. Up front is another 16MP sensor with AI-based bokeh effect.
    • Powering the Realme 2 Pro is a Snapdragon 660 chipset that’s paired with the Adreno 512 GPU. Battery capacity stands at 3,500mAh, but there’s no fast charging.
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