Toyota Fortuner in India, the beast


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Toyota Kirloskar Motors are known in India for their docile approach for their launches in India. This was very evident by the launch of the recent Toyota Fortuner. A vehicle which was coming for long onto the Indian soil however could only make it here on 24 August 2010. Now, even the Toyota Prius took a long time to come and was recently launched in 2010. There are many other best sellers for Toyota in their international line up however they are still wary about bringing in all this to India. Wonder what is stopping them? This answers can only be given by the Toyota top management. Well, I am not here to lambast the Toyota management however would like to concentrate more on the company’s achievement. Even though it is a dated vehicle, the very fact that it sells well over a 1000 units per month is testimony of its personality. Now, it may be too late for a test drive of this brutal beast but then as is our motto, we always give you a review of everything that is thrown our way. So, finally, I get a call from the Toyota regional office in Thane and they have agreed to our request for a test drive of the Toyota Fortuner. I have driven the Toyota Fortuner in Singapore before however driving the Toyota Fortuner in India made me realize the difference. Well, here comes the full story.

Toyota Fortuner Looks

Now, if there was anything upwards of the Mahindra Scorpio which could scare the day lights of any other fellow road user, it was the Ford Endeavor. Not any more, all those corporate honchos and politicians nowadays have the Toyota Fortuner as their choice of wheels. It is however those flared wheel arches combined with a raised demeanor that helps in this dominating looks. The typical honeycomb grille with the Toyota logo on top and a chrome strip on top of the bonnet flanked by the buzzy head lamps give it a distinct character. The air dam is partly covered by a black skid plate. The fog lamps are placed just below the head lamps. That bonnet scoop on top looks awesome and adds some detail to the SUV’s typical lines.

The side profile shows 17” sporty alloy wheels with sporty roof rails and also black sporty side steps. The wheel arches and the combination of the wheels don’t go together since it looks undertyred. However any bigger profile tyres would somehow ruin the party, this is what I felt. I have actually never seen any Toyota Fortuner SUV with anything other than those stock tyres so it seems that they work fine. The door handles are chrome layered.

The rear end looks compact with a small windscreen and a single wiper to clean it. It has an upwards type opening tailgate with the stop lamp been mounted atop the roof. The tail lamps are of the clear lens variety and they also feature the turn indicators in them. There is also a small spoiler which adds to the huge feeling quotient. The spare tyre is located under the rear bumper. There is a single tail pipe and it’s disappointing to say the least. Toyota Kirloskar Motors could have very well done to give it a big silencer unit or even a twin unit.

Toyota Fortuner Interiors

Well, even I had to climb inside this car. Coming from a 6ft plus guy, you can expect that from me. Hmmm. Something looks familiar here. What is it? Ah! The interiors are way too similar to something which I have been in earlier, the Toyota MUV, the Toyota Innova. Now, I amn’t sure if this means that the Toyota Innova borrowed the interiors from the Toyota Fortuner or vice-versa. Anyways, familiarity breeds contempt and I think that I have this feeling of contempt from the SUV’s interiors. The dual tone dashboard with its grey and biege alongwith some wooden inserts feels solid built. There is a tilt adjustable steering wheel with audio mounted controls, climate control for all the occupants, optitron meter dials for a more clear and precise way of transmitting information, front as well as rear armrest and a new audio unit with call as well Bluetooth functions.

There is a single MP3 player which has 6 speaker outlets. I found the quality to be strictly okay. As it is, Toyota isn’t a specialist in the audio systems and the Toyota Fortuner in India is no different. There is also a multi information display which gives variety of information like the outside temperature, average fuel efficiency, tyre pressure monitor and also other information. The seats are sort of comfortable with the front ones been adjustable for height and lumbar. Unfortunately they lack in thigh support and after a long time, you eventually feel that you are getting tired. The rear seat customers get their own aircon controls. The rear bench has a bit more of underthigh support which helps in sorting out the mile munching capabilities of this SUV. The rearmost seats are fit only for children and this shows with its lack of leg room and head room. The cargo space with the 3rd row of seats in place is 345 liters whereas with the third row down, it goes upto 678 liters and with the second row also down, it increases to 1243 liters.

Toyota Fortuner Handling and ride quality

The Toyota Fortuner in India has been built with a body on ladder frame and is a true blue SUV much like its siblings in the form of the Toyota Landcruiser, Prado and many others. It has a high ground clearance of 221 mm aided by the use of 265/65-R17 tyres. This gives it a go anywhere ability. This however produces body roll and makes the SUV top heavy. Considering that in mind, it still goes around bends without a winch and changing direction is easy. The steering wheel is a bit heavy and takes some time getting used to. It is however not as direct as one would expect but still did my bidding well. Parking would be a major chore in the city with its gigantic proportions however thank god that Toyota Kirloskar Motors have given parking sensors in this vehicle.

I found the ride to be a bit on the firmer side due to the stiffly sprung suspension. It isn’t bad in the city speeds however seems a bit obtrusive on the highways. It is a little spine juddering and after sometime, I thought of going easy on the car. With a full complement of passengers, the ride quality does improve slightly. For the off-roading junkies, there is ultra low mode and high mode as well. This coupled with the 4 wheel drive ensures that you aren’t stuck in a muddy situation. I got to test its abilities a bit because of the rough road I had to encounter during the test drive. Never once did the vehicle let me down.

Toyota Fortuner Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

The Toyota Fortuner in India comes with only a diesel engine. It is a 2982cc CRDI engine equipped with a variable geometry turbocharger and makes 163 Bhp of peak power and about 343 Nm of torque. It is mated with a 5 speed manual transmission. The gearbox is slightly vague with long throws. There is no dearth of power anywhere in the rev range but still the engine is a bit lazy and it was a hard task spooling it up for the fear of stalling the engine. But it had enough grunt to go around town slotted in 3rd or sometimes even 4th gear at speeds of only 30 kmph.

The car races from 0-100 kmph in 11.4 seconds whereas the top speed I attained was 173 kmph. The engine is very refined at low speeds whereas it is only near its top end, that it feels a bit strained. US Toyota vehicles faced a problem of recall due to sudden acceleration however nothing of that sort for the Indian Toyota vehicles. The specimen I got was a 30,000 kms old one however the motor still felt as fresh as new.

The braking for this heavy vehicle is tended by big ventilated disc brakes at the front and solid discs at the rear. It gets ABS for assistance and also EBD. The brake feel is a little out of place and could do with more feedback. Nevertheless it brings the vehicle to a halt without any drama or fuss. Safety is handled by twin air bags for front passengers, side intrusion beams with the GOA body and also seat belts for all the passengers.

Fuel efficiency is a bit of a dampener for a diesel vehicle. The Toyota Fortuner in India returns 8.3 kmpl in the city whereas on the highway, the figure goes upto 12.6 kmpl. With a fuel tank capacity of 70 liters, this translates to about 660 kms before needing a refuel.

Verdict

The Toyota Fortuner in India may have been launched late however it has already whipped up a storm. Toyota Kirloskar Motors had to stop the bookings for quite some time because they couldn’t cope up with the supply/demand policy. Actually every second SUV now that I see on the roads is a Toyota Fortuner with a fancy number plate and dark glass. This makes me wonder how much wealth the Indian public has got. By the way, for a vehicle like the Toyota Fortuner, I am sure, people would be bringing out their life savings for buying it. That said, it has its inherent flaws as well. It isn’t small by any standards. It has got a parking problem, less of comfort in the interiors, similar interiors to the Toyota Innova and a less efficient diesel engine. It has its own strengths as well and the biggest of them is the road presence that it commands plus its looks, Toyota badge, go anywhere ability and the desirability factor. It commands a starting price of Rs 19,64,320 going upto Rs.23,45,170 for the top variant {ex-show room, Mumbai}. This price is due to it been a CBU and it is rumored that Toyota Kirloskar Motors would be building this vehicle in India soon and the prices may reduce. There would be an automatic option offered later on depending on public demand.

Technical Specifications Of Toyota Fortuner in India

Engine Type: D-4D Diesel, 4 Cylinders In-line with variable geometry Intercooler Turbocharger
Engine Displacement(cc): 2982
Maximum Power: 163 Bhp @ 3600 rpm
Maximum Torque: 343 Nm @ 1400-3400 rpm
Valves Per Cylinder: 4
Valve Configuration: DOHC
Fuel Supply System: Common-Rail type
Transmission Type: 5 Speed Manual
Drive Type: 4WD
Front Suspension: Link with Lateral Rod
Rear Suspension: Double Wishbone4
Steering details: Tilt Steering Column with Hydraulic Power assist
Turning Radius: 5.9 meters
Front Brake Type: Ventilated Disc
Rear Brake Type: Solid disc
Top Speed: 176 Kmph
Acceleration (0-100 kmph): 11.4 Seconds
Mileage-City (kmpl): 8.3
Mileage-Highway (kmpl): 12.6
Fuel Tank Capacity (litres): 80
Tyre Size: 265/65 R17
Tyre Type: Tubeless Radial Tyre
Seating Capacity: 7
No of Doors: 5

4 Replies to “Toyota Fortuner in India, the beast”

  1. I think you oversaid it.. not because it dosen’t delivers but because this is such a cute SUV how can it b a beast.
    Seriously..
    The front grille of this car though it’s not such a big issue but is so different from the other of it’s competitors and the the best part is it dosen’t look like one…

    “Not any more, all those corporate honchos and politicians nowadays have the Toyota Fortuner as their choice of wheels” – I like the way you said it…

    But honestly I am a liitel dissapointed by the interior of the car…
    I mean the look at the finish, looks like the cheap plastic… the grey coulour typically found in the regional GAADI’s of India like the TOOFAAN… lol
    This cra dosen’t lives up to my expectation but that is only in regard to its interiors from outside this car is all star…

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