Toyota Fortuner 4×4 review
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.
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…
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!