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Living with the Toyota Fortuner

Introduction

How do you keep people coming for more and more of what you offer? Marry some of your past with your present at every stage and widen the pool of the faithful. That’s certainly worked in favour of the Toyota Fortuner.

It has been around for a bit and has been cultivated into modern India’s image of the ruling class. This will no doubt find its place in our car history alongside legends like the Mahindra Scorpio and the Maruti Suzuki Omni. But how has it managed to do that? Especially when you consider the number of cars on offer today and how finicky the Indian car buyer has become about what exactly they want from their car. Well, that’s what’s we are here to find out.

How practical is it?

Very. Here are some of the facts.
There are one-litre capacity cup holders for all three rows as well as in the centre console, a deep glove under the front armrest as well as pop-out cup holders for the second row in the armrest.

The second row and third-row seats fold down in multiple combinations for varied storage solutions. Moreover, with both rows folded down, it is quite possible to transport large objects or if you are a little more adventurous in life, set up a medium-sized caroms table for four people in the back. It’s a tall car and so you get space, both horizontally and vertically.

The SUV is good for six people for short journeys and realistically the third row is an optional extra, voiding the need for a second vehicle. The third row even gets some extra headroom thanks to the scooped out roof.  All-in-all, it doesn’t get all the same little practical extras like its sibling, the Innova, but then again there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of space anywhere either.

What’s the fuel efficiency like?

The Toyota Fortuner is offered with two engines and two gearbox combinations. The 2.7 4X2 MT has an efficiency of 10.01kmpl while the 2.7 4X2 AT returns a marginally better 10.26kmpl. The diesel list is larger thanks to the presence of AWD. The 2.8 4X2 AT returns 12.9kmpl while the 2.8 4X4 MT has an efficiency of 14.24kmpl. The top-spec 2.8 4X4 AT has an F.E of 12.9kmpl. 

What’s on the feature list?

At Rs 40.01 lakhs (On-road Delhi) you would expect quite a bit of kit and well, the Fortuner does not disappoint. This top-of-the-line 4X4 diesel AT version that we drove gets all the usual bells and whistles and then some more.

There’s climate control with roof-mounted vents for the second row, touchscreen infotainment system with navigation and a 7.0-inch display. Besides that, there's also button start, ambient lighting, cooled glove box, power driver’s seat and an accessory socket for all three rows. The whole cabin has been trimmed out in a nice and rather delicious-looking chocolate brown which surprisingly does well to add to the premium feel of the car.

But there’s more. When the going gets rough, there’s no need to worry as Toyota offers a full off-road kit for you to traverse on the path less taken/not taken at all. We have pushed the Fortuner through a whole host of off-road tests during our 2017 CarWale Off-Road Day and you can read about that here.   

Toyota hasn’t slacked off on the safety front either as you get seven airbags, three-point seatbelts for all three rows, stability control, hill ascent and descent control and ABS with EBD. 

How does it perform on the daily commute?

The Fortuner is a large car and there can be no doubt about that no matter how hard you try. It makes for an interesting case as, on the one hand, you are so big that your pace is dictated by the vehicles around you but on the other hand, the Fortuner has cultivated such an image that road users tend to move out of its way quite quickly. Think of this then as the rhino among a seemingly endless train of smaller animals. However, its large size is also an issue when parking, as unless you parallel park, some bit of the car will always stick out on to the road.    

 

On the go, on the tarmac, the Fortuner with its ladder on frame platform and high ground clearance are not particularly refined and its UV origins are quite evident. But this is also an advantage as the Fortuner will eat everything in its path for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You don’t have to worry about bumps, imperfections and most potholes as the Fortuner will smother them out without letting you drop your pace. In fact, during the testing and photography of this story, I wilfully put the Fortuner through whatever “obstacles” I could find on the road (sorry Toyota) just to see how far I could go. 

As much as its size and height are a drawback, they are also one of the car’s advantages. Since you sit well above everything and with all four edges easily visible, finding your space in the traffic is a breeze.

How is it for a weekend with the gang?

A highway trip is all about covering the miles and the Fortuner covered that well. The 2.8-litre diesel engine, with a bit of teasing, can be convinced to stay within the torque band which kicks in as low as 1500 and with a healthy 450Nm, you can be doing three digits all day long without losing breath. 

As we mentioned earlier (also somewhat visible in this photo) there is ample space for four people to travel long distances with additional space for two more, if the occupants are kids or adults willing to adjust with the rather constrained legroom. The price of having all three rows up is a major reduction in the amount of boot space available.

In terms of driving experience, the Fortuner is not the most refined vehicle but it will get the job done without making you fret too much. The handling is what you would expect from a vehicle of this size. It rolls in the corners and the steering, for the most part, is quite dead and it just about gets the job done. To add to the experience, you get paddle shifters as well as a colour TFT display between the gauges that give you all kinds of extra info like distance to empty and driving style. The car has an eco-mode that judges your driving style and gives you a score for the same.

What’s the deal with the warranty?

The Toyota Fortuner is offered with a 3 years/ one lakh km warranty.

Conclusion

The Toyota Fortuner has been around for a decade and is pretty much unparalleled in terms of competition. With a comprehensive set of features, powerful engines and backing of Toyota in terms of service- there’s not much that seems to stand in its path. There is also the fact that it is a popular choice among those that need to make a bold statement everywhere they go and this has no doubt added to its legend.

The Toyota Fortuner range (at the time of writing this story) goes from Rs 32 lakhs for the “entry-level” 2.7 petrol 4X2 MT to Rs 40.01 lakhs for the 2.8 petrol 4X4 diesel AT that we have reviewed (all prices on-road Delhi). It takes on the likes of the Ford Endeavour, Honda CR-V, Skoda Kodiaq as well as the Volkswagen Tiguan.  

Photos: Kaustubh Gandhi

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Toyota Fortuner Price in India

CityOn-Road Prices
Bangalore₹ 35.15 Lakhs onwards
New Delhi₹ 32.29 Lakhs onwards
Hyderabad₹ 33.5 Lakhs onwards
Kolkata₹ 30.94 Lakhs onwards
Mumbai₹ 33.43 Lakhs onwards
Chennai₹ 33.77 Lakhs onwards
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