The Fortuner is the entry-level SUV in Toyota India’s range – that is purely on pricing; however in size, this is one of the largest passenger vehicles available in India today. Based on the Toyota Hilux platform, the Fortuner is a medium sized seven-seater utility vehicle on sale in the developing markets in Asia and South America.
The Fortuner was launched in India in 2009 to compete in the premium SUV segment with the Ford Endeavour, Chevrolet Captiva and Mitsubishi Pajero. Toyota assembles the SUV in India at its plant in Bidadi, Karnataka and that gives them a significant cost advantage.
This is an old school SUV and it looks like one. The overall design is boxy, with very high ground clearance and tall riding stance. The Fortuner has a standard Toyota family face with lot of chrome for the Indian market, the headlamp console has a projector unit that not only looks nice but also provides ample visibility during night. The bonnet has an air scoop and that makes the car look even more aggressive. The enormousness of the Fortuner is visible when you look at it from the side; this is still not as big as the Endeavour in length but feels like it has more substance. The rear of the car gets even more chrome and also clear lens tail lamps. We are not sure if the lamps look nice, they look more after market than OEM product.
After the facelift and upgrade at the 2012 Indian Auto Expo, the Fortuner is available in three variants – 4×2 manual, 4×2 automatic and 4×4 manual. All of these are powered by 3.0-litre diesel engine developing 169bhp and massive 343Nm of torque. Both the manual and automatic transmissions are five-speed that power either the rear wheels or all wheels. Despite the power rating the Fortuner is not very quick off-the-line and that is because if weighs close to two tons. This weight also affects the efficiency of the vehicle which is claimed to be around 12.55kpl for the 4×2 MT and is even lower for the other two variants. Water wadding, boulders and other such obstacles are not a big issue for Fortuner with more than decent ground clearance, but without all-wheel-drive slush can be an issue due to its weight.
The Fortuner gets all the features that are standard to the segment – it has AC with climate control, leather seats, steering mounted audio control, electrically adjustable and retractable ORVMs, headlamp washers, 2-DIN music system with touch-screen display and rear parking sensors with camera. It also has ample space for all three rows, just that there is no thigh support for the last row and hence is very uncomfortable for adults. The Fortuner gets basic safety features like ABS-EBD, ESP and two airbags for the front passengers.
The Fortuner is the highest selling SUV in its segment and it is so for a reason. It is big, spacious and reasonable affordable compared to vehicles in its segment. But the things that give Fortuner the advantage over others are Toyota’s reliability and also service quality and commitment