Last decade, the full-size SUV segment was very popular, there were a multitude of options in the segment and every manufacturer who had presence in this space was enjoying decent sales. And then Toyota decided to launch the Fortuner, overnight sales of all other SUVs came tumbling down as Toyota sold more Fortuners than all other options in the segment combined. That’s how popular the Fortuner has been, averaging around 1000 unit sales a month which is a big feat considering the price of the vehicle. After 7 years of being on sale, Toyota has now launched the second generation Fortuner in India and it seems to have won half its battle with the design itself, or has it?
EXTERIORS AND STYLE ;
The exterior has been designed so that the Fortuner can do both the school run and go off-roading with ease. It has a modern SUV deisgn but it still retains the butch old school ruggedness that is visible in the SUV’s tall stance.
At the front, the SUV gets new bumpers and horizontal headlights. Chrome strips connect the headlamps to the front bumper. The redesigned grille gets two chrome slats between the headlamps. The fog lights also get chrome surround. There is no air intake on the hood that is present in the current Fortuner. The side profile makes sure that the SUV still has its tall and rugged stance. The belt line rises sharply after the rear window and then slopes gently towards the rear of the car. This gives the car a sleek look. The car gets new alloy wheels. The rear is rather simple in design. The Fortuner gets horizontal tail lamps with a thick chrome strip connecting them. The chrome strip has the word ‘Fortuner’ embedded in it.
The next generation Fortuner comes with roof rails, fog lamps, and keyless entry. The top end variant will also get LED headlamps with LED daytime running lights and LED tail lights, a power back door and a rear spoiler.
INTERIORS AND COMFORT ;
Inside the cabin, the tall and big exterior feel is retained. The driver seats are power adjustable. All seats in the Fortuner are comfortable except for the second row which could have been better with some more under thigh support. The headroom and legroom for all rows are generous, even the last row seats have decent space around them though the last row would be ideal for kids.No matter how tall and large you are, there is ample space for all passengers in the Fortuner. Another advantage of the seating in Fortuner is all seat at the same level and way above the ground which makes it feel very confident on long journeys and bad patches of roads.
This one also gets a new steering wheel which looks premium with leather cladding and pseudo wooden finished vinyls. The new steering wheel is better to handle but then the area on which it loses it the quality of buttons on the steering wheel which feel cheap and also are not properly illuminated in dark.It has a simple instrumental cluster showing the basic information as well as a small screen on top of the music system which given information about the distance to empty, gear engaged, temperature and also the trip distance covered. The dashboard of the Fortuner may not be extravagant but then it serves the purpose and has clean lines over it. The combination of beige and black along with the glossy plastic around the music system look decent. It is very surprising after seeing the dashboard design in Innova and Fortuner which look so decent that why don’t the Etios siblings, which have the weirdest looking dashboard have something like this.
The short and taut Auto transmission stick too has good quality finish and is very smooth to engage across all modes. The automatic variant should also have had paddle shifters to make the drive more exciting but sadly this one just has a simple sift and forget 4 speed stick.There are AC vents for all rows of passengers and the AC motor is very reliable and strong in cooling the cabin uniformly. One big turn off is the music system offered in the Toyota Fortuner, whose performance is way below expectations and does not do any justice to the overall image of this vehicle.With so much of area all over, the storage options in the Fortuner too are very grand. Cup and glass holders can be seen across all the rows and door pockets. A large and useful utility box just underneath the front row armrest is apt for storing miscellaneous articles. The armrest however is not adjustable unlike the one in Mahindra XUV500, which is of greater comfort on long journeys
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;
The 2.7-litre petrol of the Toyota Fortuner 2017 has amazing refinement. The engine has decent power. The torque is linear and is a good engine for cruising. This engine is offered with a five-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmission options. It only has a 4×2 variant. This engine is peppy and is a comfortable highway cruiser. One doesn’t needs to pick the diesel unless there is a lot of driving on the cards. The petrol engine will do the job well and it is a lot more affordable also.
The 2.8-litre diesel engine of the Toyota Fortuner 2017 will be the major seller. What is special is its performance. When the turbo kicks at about 1700rpm, there is more than sufficient torque to overtake. One major upgrade is the engine refinement. The cabin insulation and even engine noise has been reduced drastically. The engine feels peppy and has more than sufficient power. This comes with six-speed manual and automatic transmission options. There are 4×2 and 4×4 variants on offer too. The manual version has iMT option too. This helps to match the engine revs improving the smoothness during shifts. All the Fortuners even have two modes, Power and Eco. The iMT being the third on the diesel manual.
The electronic package consists of a vehicle stability system for traction control, brake assist, hill assist, downhill assist, 7-airbags, whiplash control seats are among the host of safety feature options available on the new Fortuner. There are bi-xenon projector lights with auto-levelling function as well as puddle lamps on offer.
The Toyota Fortuner is one big burly SUV which reinstates what SUVs should be like. It is big, wide, heavy and macho and that is what manufacturers should think about while making SUVs. It has enough grunt to tackle any terrain and coupled with the 4×4 system, the car is almost unstoppable. We simply love this menacing bully of a car, and it has bowled us over with its charm.