The Toyota Fortuner is one of the most popular vehicles in the market today and not without reason. It boasts legendary reliability, is extremely capable and now with the new model, it has managed to ditch the old car’s somewhat rudimentary roots as well. It gets a new engine, a massively reworked chassis and a bucket load of electronic aids. So yes, it seems Toyota has made a good car better. In the real world, the Fortuner is the ultimate politician’s car, hauling VIP’s from one place to another, but out here it’s just raw nature v/s the car. Will it be able to handle the barrage of off-road tests that we have lined up for it? Time to get the Fortuner’s boots dirty and find out…
Putting the power down under hard acceleration on the tarmac with fat rubber and electronics coming into play is easy peasy, but the whole situation is turned on its head when you try to do the same on slush. Now the Fortuner is a pretty powerful vehicle with 175bhp and 450Nm of torque on tap, so this should ideally make it even more difficult to put the power down in slippery conditions. But like we mentioned before, the car has a few tricks up its sleeve. The biggest party trick for the Fortuner in these conditions is its 6-speed automatic transmission.
Gunning the throttle in 4 low, the Fortuner’s linear power delivery helped, but the conditions were extremely mushy. The traction control is turned off in 4 low so there’s plenty of wheel spin off the line. The Fortuner’s heavy kerb weight and road-biased tyres worked against it here and it finally hit 30kmph in 7.83s and taking 33.32m to achieve the same. Now when you compare these figures to the on-road figures, the Fortuner took 1.8s and 8.77m to do the same. The stark difference in figures show how slippery conditions change the whole equation.
Just like acceleration, braking gets extremely tricky in wet and mushy conditions. While on the road, ABS comes in real handy by not locking up the wheels in order to provide more control, in the slush an over intrusive ABS would mean even longer stopping distances and time. In dry conditions and on the tarmac, the Fortuner covered 3.58m to come to a stop from 30kmph.
In the wet, slushy surface, we thought the Fortuner would struggle thanks to its bulk and road-going tyres. But the Fortuner managed to perform quite well. In 4 low, the Fortuner would intermittently lock and release its wheels, thus enabling it to come to a halt from 30kph in 15.83m. However what’s interesting is that in the slush, the stopping distance increased by almost 4 and half times compared to the distance on tarmac.
Snaking one’s way across the cones during a slalom run is immensely fun. But it requires tremendous skill and control to not knock those cones off especially during a wet mushy slalom. The Fortuner’s 6-speed torque converter gearbox along with its low ratio really helped it shine here. Modulating the throttle was easier since the shifting duties were handled by the gearbox. The Fortuner completed the slalom in a brilliant 43.5s. To be frank, we did not expect the Fortuner to do as well since it had quite a heavy steering and has a considerable girth, but it proved us all wrong.
If you are a fan of the manga series ‘Initial D’, you would notice the similarity to our beaker test. Our tester had to sit with a beaker full of water while the car went over a rough section. The car that would spill the least amount of water would win. One would expect the car with the softest suspension to nail the test and the Fortuner with its exceptional ground clearance along with long travel suspension that gets pitch and bounce control was expected to do well.
But unfortunately it didn’t. It rocked and rolled spilling the maximum amount of water among them all — 90ml to be exact. The Fortuner was always roly-poly when it came to ride quality and that nature was amplified in the really rough sections.
Off-Road Hill Climb
This was probably one of our most difficult tests. The hill climb was already a difficult task with almost 35 degrees of incline. If the steep incline wasn’t enough, the whole path was a sea of mud with rocks scattered in between. What made it even more difficult was the rain which just refused to stop during the hill climb session.
With a 175bhp we knew the Fortuner has the muscle to power through, but the important question was whether it will be able to put the power down. The Fortuner rocked and rolled over the rocks and spun its wheels to glory to find whatever kind of grip from those standard tyres, but in the end made it to the top which was a phenomenal achievement.
The Fortuner in the real world is a luxury SUV that undertakes a majority of commute duties in the city along with the occasional trip to the farmhouse. Compared to this, subjecting it to our off-road tests was pretty much like Clark Kent handling Superman’s duty without actually changing into red-blue suit. But then that describes the Fortuner to the tee. It’s as comfortable attending red carpet events as it is getting its boots dirty. And talking about boots, we think the Fortuner would have performed even better had it come with mud-terrain tyres. But then, there’s always another time!
Click here to read Carwale Off-Road Day 2017 introduction
Click here to read about the Spotter's View at the CarWale Off-Road Day 2017
Location courtesy: 19 Degree North
An adventure sports outfit located at Aamby Valley City near Lonavla that offers activities like riding ATVs, paintball shooting, Zorbing, and Jungle Safari among others.