India has been mad about SUVs for quite some time now, and you’d be taken aback at just how many of these SUVs happen to be Toyota Fortuners. This Japanese SUV is hugely popular in our market despite the premium it demands in terms of the price, and over the years, it has proved to be somewhat of status symbol among buyers here in India. But the reason behind this of course, is its bullet proof reliability, rugged build and its running and maintenance costs that are rather easy on the pocket. And since the Fortuner has aged over time, Toyota Cars have given it a major makeover for 2021. We investigate as to what makes the new model so much better.
The new look
The most prominent change on the new Toyota Fortuner lies at the front; it includes a heavily reshaped front bumper, sleeker-looking LED headlamps with LED DRLs and a bigger mesh-pattern grille. The side profile is untouched, but it gets new 18-inch alloy wheels. At the rear too, you get sleeker LED tail lamps. Otherwise, the rest of the SUV retains it girth and road presence. No flared wheel arches or anything; just a massive SUV sitting on massive wheels, giving it a towering look and lest we forget to mention, the liberal use of chrome.
How about the cabin?
Coming to the interior, much of the new Toyota Fortuner remains identical to the one it replaces, except for the bigger 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Features also include connected car tech. Once you’re inside the Fortuner, the first thing that you realise is just how wide this thing is; the cabin is roomy and all-round visibility is fantastic. The large seats up-front are comforting, are well bolstered and offer good thigh and back support. Move to the second row, and legroom is aplenty, with room for up to three passengers. The occupant seated in the middle has a seatbelt that be used if pulled from the roof, and thank fully, you don’t sit low. The ones who love being driven around, will revel in the comfort at the back.
The third row is reasonably spacious, and these plus-two seats are perfect for teenagers and children, and getting access to this place isn’t tough. There is also a rear air-con system with roof-mounted blowers and a few other storage spaces. Luggage room is available too, but is limited with all three rows up.
Up ahead in the cabin, the central console along with its leather-lined chrome-finished sides look great and the new touchscreen only ups the game further. The instrument cluster is neatly laid out and legible. The steering is solid in terms of feel, but there are some low-rent plastic panels as well. The fake wood should make way for actual wood, but the interior is practical, for it comes with lots of stowage areas and convenient features like a start-stop button and keyless go. A list of features include an 11-speaker JBL audio system, 8-way power-adjustable and ventilated driver and co-driver’s seats and front parking sensors.
The Toyota Fortuner facelift comes powered by the same engines: a 2.8-litre diesel engine that produces 201bhp and 420Nm of torque, mated to a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed torque converter gearbox, while the 2.7-litre petrol engine produces 163bhp and 245Nm of torque, paired either to a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed automatic. The petrol model continues to be offered only with two-wheel-drive, while the diesel model gets a four-wheel-drive system.
We drove the diesel of the two. At idle, the engine does sound every bit a diesel, but things smoothen out as you start piling on the revs. Turbo lag isn’t so much and torque kicks in at the right time, making it a breeze to drive in the city. The ride and handling continues to keep the driver happy, the chassis is stiff and suspension seem to do a good job as well, soaking in road imperfections with ease. The Fortuner simply gobbles them up with ease and remains stable at high speeds, and thanks to its 225mm of ground clearance, nothing comes in its way. You can carry speed into corners without fear, with the brakes providing plenty of confidence. Also, grab the latest info on the upcoming cars, only at autoX.
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