Road Test: Toyota Fortuner

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The leather feels good to the touch but we still feel that beige is a colour that gets easily dirty and difficult to clean. However beige has been the flavour for the last few years with everything going browns and beige. Some areas on the dashboard and the armrests have fake wood inserts. Even though the interiors are built with tough, durable and hard-wearing plastic (that will no doubt stand the test of time and elements) some of the fit on the panels could be much better. The grab handles on the A-pillars are useful to hang on to while getting in or out of the car. There is a lot of space in the car – the front two rows have immense amounts of legroom and headroom. The second row isn’t very comfortable, as the passengers get shaken about quite a bit over bad patches of road. It splits 60:40 for greater load-carrying ability. The third row is a little short on knee and head room, but is fine for short trips – even adults won’t complain when seated in the third row, thanks to the adjustable backrest and large rear quarter glasses that remind us of the Mercedes M-Class when viewed in isolation. Flipping the second-row seat to access the third row is ridiculously easy and effortless. Climbing in and getting to the third row is easy as well, but getting out is a little tricky, since the car is so high off the ground and the width of the side step isn’t enough for an occupant to put his or her entire foot on it. The leather-clad seats lack under-thigh support. The driver will quickly get comfortable with adjustments for height available in addition to the usual – although they are all manual – but the steering wheel doesn’t telescope. We also found that the wheel rake doesn’t allow the wheel to go as high as we would have liked when we raised the seat height. A dead pedal is a useful addition.

The white dials and orange needles are easy to read and we love the way they light up. They can also be adjusted for brightness. When the third row is folded away, the boot space is enormous, and when the third row is in place, it isn’t very big but it will fit a small bag or two. The doors have usefully big pockets and cupholders in addition to the fold-out ones in the dashboard. The center console consists of a multi-function display that gives the occupants information about various functions like instantaneous and average fuel consumption, tank range, elapsed trip time, ambient temperature, average speed and has a compass as well. This display needs to be larger – the current one is oh-so-1980s. The audio system is a six-CD changer and seems to be from the same family that is present in the Innova. It is a simple-looking unit that can play mp3 and wma formats, but has no provision for an auxiliary input, USB drive or SD card. Rear passengers will also rue the fact that it doesn’t have a remote. It can play loud, with punchy bass and clear highs, but lacks quality sound. The front components help the system sound just about okay on the front but the rear speakers leave a lot to be desired. We’d have also liked it to be more intuitive to use – we kept fumbling through the sub-menus for the entire day that we had the car.

The climate control system chills the large interior in a very short time despite the large cabin and glass area. Even third-row passengers have more than adequate cooling at their disposal, with a very nice touch being the cupholder in the das h that positions the drink right in front of the vent to keep it cool. There’s also a small storage space for the third row that is fed cold A/C air to keep the drinks of the third row occupants cool. There is a separate switch at the bottom of the centre console that turns the cooling for the third row on or off. The air-con controls are easy to use. A switch for the rear parking sensors, a very useful 20V power outlet and a cigarette lighter round off the functions of the centre console. The big mirrors are electrically adjustable and foldable although we wish they came standard with integrated turn indicators, which are currently an option as an original Toyota accessory. All windows are powered with the driver’s window getting an auto up/down and the rear screen has a wash/wipe and defogger. We’d have liked the parking sensors to switch on automatically when reverse was selected, rather than having to switch it on manually.

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