Let’s face it – if you’re after an SUV that has presence, presence and, er, presence, there’s not much out there that matches up to the Fortuner. An instant hit even before it was launched, the big Toyota racked up sizzling sales figures and led to a cease-and-desist as far as bookings were concerned, simply because the company couldn’t keep up with demand. The Fortuner continues to sell apace, and now there’s a new model for your kind consideration. Read on for the details!
How is it new, then?
In brief, it’s lighter. How? They’ve jettisoned the 4x4 unit, so the new Fortuner 4x2 is 90 kg (MT) and 85 kg (AT) lighter than the 4x4.
What does that translate to?
The Fortuner is now livelier to drive, since it carries less bulk. It surges forward under acceleration much better, making it easier to drive too. Handling, although not of a sportscar standard, sees an improvement as well, since it carries less weight through corners – body roll is still in evidence.
Has the ride quality changed?
Not discernibly, no. Although the suspension is dealing with less weight, the ride is still relatively plush – it does tend towards the springier side of things, though.
So they’ve spruced up the engine, right?
Er, no – the same 3-litre D-4D does duty under the hood, putting out 169 bhp@3600 rpm and 35 kgm@1400-3400 rpm). You get a choice of a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission, both with their individual strengths. The MT is more fun to drive, with smooth gearshifts, whereas the AT is sluggish but a boon in city conditions, where this car will spend most of its life.
It looks different – what’s changed?
The Fortuner looks more contemporary now, for a start – the styling changes have made it look less like the brick wall that it used to. You get clear lens head and tail lamps, a bigger scoop on the bonnet, indicators on the ORVMs, head lamp washers, a spoiler with an integrated brake light, a slightly different grille, chrome door handles and whatnot. All in, the SUV looks better and more classy now, which is a good thing – and the all important presence is still there.
Any different on the inside?
Yes, it is. The cabin has also been spruced up to look classier – keyless entry, leather seats, leather on the steering wheel and gearshift knob (in the AT), steering-mounted audio and multi information display controls, chrome handles, a nice DVD-based, touchscreen entertainment system with Bluetooth, refreshed dials, a reversing camera and an overall air of comfort. Leg and head room remain the same, which is to say that there’s enough to keep all occupants happy.
I want one – now! But should I get the 4x4 instead?
The 4x2 is really all the SUV that you will ever need, unless you’re the sort that likes to bash about in the rough. It does almost everything the 4x4 can do, it’s lighter and it’ll certainly be cheaper, once prices are announced at the Auto Expo in January.
Hey, I heard that they announced a new Innova at the same time – is that right?
Well, yes and no. Yes because Toyota did show us an Innova, no because it’s not really ‘all new’ – the engine is the same and it hasn’t lost any weight either. It’s been given some exterior and interior treatment; however, not all of it works. On the outside, you get new head and tail lamps, both clear lens, but unlike the Fortuner, the Innova doesn’t look quite as fresh. The cabin gets almost the same features as the SUV – leather, DVD entertainment with Bluetooth, reversing camera, keyless entry et al. Thus, even though its looks are debatable, the Innova just gave you many more reasons to buy it, because one fact hasn’t changed – it’s still the best damn MUV in the country, bar none.