2012 Toyota Fortuner 4×2: Review
It’s been over 2 years since Toyota launched their SUV Fortuner in India and it has changed the entire scenario in the SUV market and 20lakh + segment. Even after such a long time, it is the bestselling car in its segment with selling over an average 900+ units a month, which is more than all the SUVs of that segment combined.
Increasing competition and the Thai Fortuner getting a facelift in July 2011 automatically implied that it’s high time for the Indian Fortuner to get necessary upgrades. Plus there is an increasing demand for automatic transmission among the customers who tend to spend over 15lakh rupees. The fact is that in that price you cannot even get a high end European car with manual transmission. The 2012 Toyota Fortuner was launched at the Auto Expo previous month and is offered in three variants. So the AT option expands the customer base of the new Fortuner to a whole new level.
Interior Design, Space, Practicality and Features
The new Fortuner is an absolute looker and a stunner. It has a series of design enhancements and loads of new features to spice things up. It is now offered in two new colors apart from the usual – a neat dark blue and a different shade of gold.
The exteriors have received a whole bunch of transformations. The front end has received a Land Cruiser look and makes the car look more mature. The grill in the front looks more aggressive and the car looks meatier. The air dam has been changed and now it looks wider. The ground clearance is a massive 221mm, highly suited for our Indian roads. It has clear – lens type tail lamps, which look a bit out of place on a car like Fortuner. It also has self leveling projector headlights which are quite powerful. The amazing feature here is the Headlight Washer, which has dedicated switch of its own along with the windscreen wash function. This is very useful over long highway trips. The hood scope is now also larger and does justice to the muscularity of the car. The wheel arc design has some subtle changes too. It now has a 12 spoke wheel instead of the 6 spoke earlier. This I feel is to give more sportier look to the car, although I would prefer the 6 spoke wheel.
The interiors have undergone a massive change as well. The car is spacious like its predecessor and has ample of space for every row. The glass area is generous and the head room is also very good. The middle row seats have an adjustable back recline and slide back and forth as well. The driving position and ergonomics are good. The driver seat is 6 way electronically adjustable and is extremely comfortable.
The new steering will now comes with a faux wood finish on the upper rim. It is also equipped with various controls for the audio systems and Bluetooth connected phones.
Vehicle Stability Control is available on the 4×4 MT. It comes into action whenever it detects under steering or over steering. It reduces engine power and applies brakes automatically to individual tire that is losing control.
The instrument cluster is now backlit with a blue light and looks very good. It now comes with a touch screen double – DIN head unit with a DVD player, USB + AUX inputs and Bluetooth connectivity. It also has rear camera display. The USB and AUX ports are just located below the 12 V power socket. One important feature here is that now it also has gearshift position indicator.
The interiors have a classy black faux wood finish. It looks classier than the brown finish in its predecessor. The cabin lights are now push – to – activate types. It gives a nice elegant feel and also the tacky buttons have now disappeared.
The new Fortuner’s 3.0 liter turbo-diesel engine is a piece of work. It is powerful, has loads of torque and negligible turbo lag. It’s a 2982cc engine which makes 169 BHP at 3600rpm and 343Nm of torque between 1400 – 3400rpm. The Fortuner AT doesn’t get a high tech dual-clutch transmission; rather, it is a conventional Automatic with torque converter.
Driving the Fortuner AT is a complete rejuvenating experience. No initial lag is experienced and the shift quality is smooth. The gearbox upshifts early (~2000rpm) and makes it a relaxed drive even at high speeds. The engine noise is well controlled in the inside because of the early upshifts. The downshift time is also decent.
The Fortuner AT has an “L” mode that basically locks the SUV in 1st gear. It is extremely useful while going up or down on a steep hill or moving through very rough terrain. There is also a Shift Lock override button on the top left of the gearbox which bypasses the gear lock system whereby you cannot move out of Position P (Parking) unless you insert the key and press the brake pedal.
It is recommended to use engine braking as the Fortuner has mediocre braking. Toyota upgraded the front disc brakes in 2010. While the braking capability has improved from the time of our original test, they aren’t confidence-reassuring yet. The rear disc brakes are still missing in this new Fortuner. The engine braking helps greatly in maintaining the SUV’s composure
The new 2012 Fortuner is a car loaded with features. It gives a complete SUV experience. The new Land Rover inspired front look makes it absolutely stunning. This car is practically built for abuse. It is so reliable and durable that you can drive it pretty much in any condition and still it will not be harmed. The diesel engine is excellent and makes the car a driving pleasure. It comes with a number of variants to cater the needs of a vast customer base. Also it comes with excellent after sales service from Toyota. The few factors that dampen the spirits are that it comes with a mere 4 – speed Automatic variant. It also doesn’t offer automatic gearbox for the 4×4 gear. Ride quality is still a bit unsettled due to a stiff suspension and can get a bit bumpy on Indian roads. Also the luxury factor is missing from the car. One can totally relate the interiors to that of an Innova. The rear disc brakes are still missing after the facelift and give a tacky braking experience. By SUV standards, the Fortuner is a pretty good off roader too. It launched within a price range of 19.99 – 20.99lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi).