Toyota Fortuner Review: Big, Bad and Muscular
Sports Utility Vehicles have always had a special position compared to cars. This may be because of their looks, size or road presence. They are often regarded as status symbols. SUVs are no longer vehicles which are solely bought for tough all terrain purpose.
But what makes it the most sought after SUV in India is what we find out in our review of the 2012 Toyota Fortuner 4x2 AT variant.
Before this review, I had never driven or travelled inside a Toyota Fortuner. I had an image of this SUV as a bulky, scary and a huge vehicle. It used to be scary in traffic signals when this monstrous thing stood beside my humble tiny Tata Nano with the scare of being run over by it.
The 2012 Toyota Fortuner now incorporates the all new Toyota front face which is seen on the latest generation Camry and Innova too. The new face has made the Fortuner a smarter looking SUV unlike the earlier version.
On the front profile, the intake scoop has got a tag bigger. The new clear finished headlights are in line with the chunky chrome radiator grille. They wrap around from the grille to the side panel. Even the lower jaw has been redesigned with smart fog lamp design. The hidden and subtle profile on the front face now makes the Fortuner a well proportioned design.
Even though only the face has got majority of changes, it has left an impact throughout the design which looks good sans the bulky character. The new Fortuner also gets the 17inch 12 spoke alloy wheels which blend in neatly.
Like the face, the rear profile has been reworked too. The rear tail door now features the name etched on a chrome line between the tail lamps which is similar to the other SUVs of Toyota. The tail lamps design has been changed too from the simple horizontal lines to twin circles. Even the bumper has been reworked to match with the new design.
Overall, the Fortuner has lost its bulky character and looks like a new age refined SUV. It also boasts of some lines and curves inspired from the Land Cruiser but in a subtle way.
Inside the cabin, the tall and big exterior feel is retained. The driver seats are power adjustable. All seats in the Fortuner are comfortable except for the second row which could have been better with some more under thigh support. The headroom and legroom for all rows are generous, even the last row seats have decent space around them though the last row would be ideal for kids.
No matter how tall and large you are, there is ample space for all passengers in the Fortuner. Another advantage of the seating in Fortuner is all seat at the same level and way above the ground which makes it feel very confident on long journeys and bad patches of roads.
This one also gets a new steering wheel which looks premium with leather cladding and pseudo wooden finished vinyls. The new steering wheel is better to handle but then the area on which it loses it the quality of buttons on the steering wheel which feel cheap and also are not properly illuminated in dark.
It has a simple instrumental cluster showing the basic information as well as a small screen on top of the music system which given information about the distance to empty, gear engaged, temperature and also the trip distance covered. The dashboard of the Fortuner may not be extravagant but then it serves the purpose and has clean lines over it. The combination of beige and black along with the glossy plastic around the music system look decent. It is very surprising after seeing the dashboard design in Innova and Fortuner which look so decent that why don’t the Etios siblings, which have the weirdest looking dashboard have something like this.
The short and taut Auto transmission stick too has good quality finish and is very smooth to engage across all modes. The automatic variant should also have had paddle shifters to make the drive more exciting but sadly this one just has a simple sift and forget 4 speed stick.
There are AC vents for all rows of passengers and the AC motor is very reliable and strong in cooling the cabin uniformly. One big turn off is the music system offered in the Toyota Fortuner, whose performance is way below expectations and does not do any justice to the overall image of this vehicle.
With so much of area all over, the storage options in the Fortuner too are very grand. Cup and glass holders can be seen across all the rows and door pockets. A large and useful utility box just underneath the front row armrest is apt for storing miscellaneous articles. The armrest however is not adjustable unlike the one in Mahindra XUV500, which is of greater comfort on long journeys.
The 2012 Toyota Fortuner 4x2 AT has a 2982cc 4 cylinder D-4D turbocharged diesel engine which produces a power of 171 PS at 3600 rpm and a torque of 343 Nm at a range of 1400 to 3400 rpm. The 2WD gets a 4 speed automatic transmission gearbox.
With something on wheels which looks as huge as this, the Fortuner looks massive. It looks as if it can have an hatchback for breakfast and can feast on sedans. The lion hearted 3.0L engine gives the Fortuner all the pep and encouragement it needs.
It may look like a lazy SUV which takes its own time to react but then Fortuner is not like that at all. In fact, the Toyota Fortuner impressed us superbly with its performance and handling. Its an outright fun car to drive around. Dimensionally it just looks tough to maneuver but then once seated on the driver’s throne things are far more simple and comfortable.
It has a tall seating position. Some may complain about the front visibility as the Fortuner has a tall and long bonnet. But then the air scoop on the bonnet makes it look really robust and distinct. It offers slightly choppy ride but then at high speeds the vehicle is extremely stable. There is no body roll whatsoever even while turning at high speeds on ghat sections, the Fortuner behaved like a tamed lion.
It offers a very enthusiastic throttle and can readily take on any surface thrown to it and happily so. The small disappointment is the lack of tip tronic or paddle shifters which would have made it a totally awesome performance package. I missed them but then still I am not complaining at all as the suspensions which have been retained from the earlier model give you the encouragement to throw it any way you wish.
The superb handling and soft suspension make it an ideal fun car to be driven on sand dunes or on otherwise difficult terrains.Even the braking which was an issue in early generations of this model has been improved. Driving the Fortuner in cities too is fun as the low end torque comes in handy and the roaring 3.0L behaves in a tamed way at lower rpms channelizing the turbo appropriately.
The Toyota Fortuner deliver a bets fuel mileage of 10.2 kmpl and a worst of 7kmpl. Overall, it left us more than impressed with its performance but even then is it the best offering in the market is what we see in conclusion of the 2012 Toyota Fortuner review.
|Engine Displacement/No. of cylinders||2982/4|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||343/3400|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||80L|
|Ground Clearance mm||221|
|Turning circle radius||5.9M|
|Kerb Weight||1885 Kg|
|Features||4X2 Manual||4x2 AT|
|Ex-Showroom Price Mumbai (Rs.)||21,66,537||22,50,994|
|Dual Auto AC||Yes||Yes|
|Steering mounted controls||Yes||Yes|
|2 DIN 6 CD Audio||Yes||Yes|
|Back Sonar(Beep type)||Yes||Yes|
|ORVM with Electric adjust||Yes||Yes|
|Projector type Head lamps||Yes||Yes|
|Rear wiper and de fogger||Yes||Yes|
|Leather wrapped Steering wheel||Yes||Yes|
|Leather wrapped gear knob||Yes||Yes|
|Driver seat height adjustment||Yes||Yes|
|Leather seats and Trim||Yes||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||4X2 AT||4X2 AT|
|Ex-Showroom price Mumbai (Rs.)||22,50,994||19,55,741|
|Engine Displacement/ No. of Cylinders||2982/4||2953/4|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||343/3400||380/2500|
|Transmission||4 AT||5 AT|
|Tyres||265/65 R17||245/70 R16|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||80L||71L|
|Turning circle radius in M||5.9M||-|
|Kerb Weight||1885 Kg||2014 Kg|
It is undoubted that the new Fortuner has lot of pleasant addition and changes. The new land cruiser inspired design and an automatic transmission is what the vehicle needed especially as the competition is getting fierce.
The specific areas where we would like the Fortuner to improve are a better horn which would suit the dimensions of the car, a proper music system with great performing speakers, better quality of buttons on the steering wheel and lastly a sunroof on the top end variant.
With the recent launch of the Mahindra backed Ssangyong Rexton and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, the Fortuner has already started feeling the heat as the competition with its features, feel and performance is trying to dethrone the erstwhile leader.
The Toyota Fortuner however is not an easy player to accept defeat soon as it comes from a brand which is synonymous with reliability and durability in addition to dense service network. It would be interesting to see on whether the Ssangyong Rexton and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport hold on to its recent success as the Fortuner has surfaced all sorts of tides in the Indian SUV segment and braved out from it.