The Fortuner has always been at the forefront of the SUV craze in India ever since it was launched. But now, with a few modifications and more power, it’s all set to seriously challenge the competition.
Global automobile sales today are dominated by SUVs. And in India, it seems that compact SUVs are taking over the entire SUV market. However, the Toyota Fortuner still is – and will be for some time to come – the most popular and sought-after premium SUV in the country. With a facelift, a new top-end variant, and a more powerful diesel engine, the Fortuner intends to cement its position in the SUV space as the reigning king despite all the competition. So, we got our hands on the top-end diesel automatic variant to see if the new Fortuner has the substance to actually realise its intentions.
Despite the fact that the Fortuner has only received a few minor updates, it still looks and feels as imposing as ever. And even in the new facelift avatar, there is hardly any difference in its road presence. The biggest changes to the exterior include a new front fascia and bumper, as well as new LED headlights. At the rear, the only change is a new taillight design. Plus, the addition of new dual-tone alloy wheels is a nice touch.
Inside, almost everything is exactly the same as before. In typical Toyota fashion, the cabin is modern yet simple, and the ergonomics are spot on. The only addition to the dashboard is a brand-new bigger 8-inch touchscreen, which also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Fortuner still comes with a JBL sound system, a 360°-view camera, and ventilated front seats.
The engine options also remain the same, which includes a 2.7-litre petrol and a 2.8-litre diesel unit. However, the diesel engine now generates more power and the one we tested was the 4x4 AT variant.
As mentioned, the diesel engine has received a significant bump in power – it now produces 201bhp. The AT variants now produce more torque, which is rated at 500Nm. This diesel engine has always been well-built, powerful and reliable, and with the power bump, which you can most certainly feel while driving the car, things have become a lot more interesting.
Now, there are three driving modes to choose from. In Eco or Normal mode, you won’t really taste the full effects of the increased power. However, put the car in Sport mode and you can feel the added power rushing through its every part like a bolt of lightning summoned by the god of thunder. Okay, the last part might not actually be true, but you get the idea.
The engine is, by no means, the smoothest, but it sure makes this heavy 2.7-tonne vehicle accelerate rather quickly. Driving on the highway is now a lot more enjoyable, as you have more power at your disposal for better overtaking manoeuvres.
The overall driving dynamics are still the same, which means that it’s still not the easiest car to live with as an everyday vehicle. The steering is still heavy, the suspension is slightly on the stiff side, and there is a lot of body-roll around corners. The good thing, though, is that it still inspires great confidence in you on rough roads. Also, you can bully your way through traffic in this massive and intimidating SUV. Also, the fact that it has proper 4x4 capability, with a locking differential, further adds to the Fortuner’s reputation for outstanding toughness and terrain-conquering abilities.
The new Fortuner retains all of its amazing abilities and features. It also continues to be one of the most imposing and strongest-looking vehicles in its segment. With a slight design tweak, it looks a bit more relevant. Also, the diesel version now offers enough power to blast away the competition.
Even though the Fortuner is not the most comfortable or refined car to live with, its reputation of being an incredibly reliable, tough and sturdy vehicle will always make it highly desirable in the Indian market. Even with the marginal price hike, the Toyota Fortuner still has enough going for it to make sure that it holds on to the throne of the premium SUV space.
The Fortuner’s strong and muscular design is what catches everyone’s attention when you are driving down the road. It’s an imposing vehicle on the road, and even off it.
- Toyota Fortuner 4x4 AT
Engine: 2,755cc / 4-Cylinder / DOHC / Turbocharged
Transmission: 6-Speed AT / Four-Wheel Drive
Power: 201bhp @ 3,000 – 3,400rpm
Torque: 500Nm @ 1,600 – 2,800rpm
Price: ₹37.43 lakh (Ex-Showroom)
X-Factor: A tough and reliable SUV that demands respect wherever it goes.
• Engine performance