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2016 Toyota Fortuner - Bold and dutiful

Snapshot: Does the new Fortuner live up to all the hype? Or should you shop for a big SUV somewhere else?

If there was ever an award for the most eagerly awaited cars of the year, the Fortuner will win it hands down. There are millions of pictures of the car online and you’ve probably already seen millions of pictures of the new Fortuner over the last 12 months or so. Just like the Toyota Innova Crysta, the Fortuner moves upmarket now both in terms of styling as well as cabin experience but more on that later.

Exteriors

The new Fortuner looks stunning. The best pictures on the internet don’t do it justice. You will simply go wow when you see this car in metal at a Toyota dealership. The big grille upfront with the shapely lamps as well as the sculpted bumper looks menacing. The side profile with the big chunky 18-inch wheels looks well balanced. The rear design looks neatly put together, but that said, it’s not as dramatic as the face. Overall, this car looks plusher, modern and more stylish than the outgoing car.   


Interiors

As soon as you step inside the cabin you will notice that the Fortuner now feels a lot more premium and upmarket than before. The beige cabin has been replaced with dark brown colour. There are plenty of soft touch plastics across the cabin including the top of the dashboard as well as door pads. There is leather on the centre console as well. That infotainment unit is shared with the Innova. The dials looks similar too and use Optitron system, which means they are lit up all the time in a sombre shade of white.

The front seats offer good comfort. The second row can slides forward as well as backwards and the seat inclination can be adjusted too. The seats themselves offer good space and even for taller people headroom isn’t an issue. Though there is a huge hump in the floor panel, three abreast won’t be an issue.

The last row is surprisingly good on space as well and people around 5’8-feet shouldn’t have an issue even on long journeys here.




Engine, performance and gearbox

You get a choice of two engine options. There’s a 2.8-litre diesel with 174bhp as well as a 2.7-litre petrol with 165bhp. Toyota has introduced the petrol motor as insurance against a future ban on diesel cars in any state.

Performance wise, the petrol engine can be best described as underwhelming. The engine needs to be revved hard to get the best from it and even then the top-end feels a bit blunt.

The diesel with its strong wave of torque is the one to go for. It has plenty of poke. The engine refinement is good and it becomes only loud when you rev it hard. There’s a bit of turbo lag, below 2000rpm, which is typical of any diesel engine but once past that mark there’s a strong surge of torque to push you into your seats.

Bothe engines come with a six speed manual and auto gearbox. The automatics are surprisingly good. The shifts are quick and efficient as well with minimal lag. You also get paddle shifters behind the steering wheel to shift gears manually.



Ride and handling

The ride comfort at slow city speeds is good, with the Fortuner’s massive wheels pummelling most bad surfaces. It’s only the big crevices that filter into the cabin. The ride quality improves as speeds rise and the Fortuner manages to offer a very cushiony ride as speeds increase.

The handling is decent. But you can’t get away from the fact that the Fortuner is a big and bulky SUV. It doesn’t have the same poise as its main rival the Ford Endeavour does when it comes to agility or overall dynamics.


Summary

The Fortuner comes across as a well-rounded package which offers a huge list of features, a comfortable cabin as well as a punchy diesel engine. It really is the poster boy for a classy premium SUV and you can buy one with your eyes shut.    

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