DRAMA BY THE LAKE
Hussain Sagar, a popular and historical tourist destination, witnessed a rather special event between April 28 and May 6, 2018. The People’s Plaza, located on the shores of this heart-shaped lake, was home to the latest edition of the Toyota Off-Road Camp. 855 enthusiastic participants waited patiently for their turn behind the wheel of the capable Toyota Fortuner. Their task? To push the Toyota Fortuner and their driving capabilities to the limit. With obstacles like an off-camber lean, rocky bed, deep ditch, articulation challenge, positive and negative side inclines, chicken holes, big mound, rumblers, mud articulation, water wading, slush pit and gravel pit, each participant faced a daunting task – but a partner like the Toyota Fortuner made each challenge a walk in the park.
Smooth and steady; the deep ditch is easy task for this SUV.
Each obstacle set-up in the course was designed to test the Toyota Fortuner’s ability to handle extreme situations. The off-camber lean looked and felt scary, but the Fortuner‘s rigid structure and great balance made it seem easy. Downhill Assist Control (DAC) which allows the Toyota Fortuner to make a controlled descent without applying brakes manually made the deep ditch very easy. The big mound showed-off the Fortuner’s impressive power, torque and grip during the ascent. The Hill-Assist Control (HAC) lets the car move forward in a controlled manner without the need to move quickly between the accelerator and the brake. The thrilling side incline showed how stable and safe the Fortuner is, even when tipped at an incredible angle. Chicken holes and rumblers allowed the Toyota Fortuner to show off its stability, ride quality and control over uneven surfaces. The articulation obstacle let the Fortuner use its impressive Sigma 4 system that features Active Traction Control (A-TRC) and offers Limited Slip Differential (LSD) performance along with a number of other advanced features. Water wading was a cinch thanks to the Fortuner’s impressive 700mm wading depth. The mud articulation, slush pit and gravel pit let the Toyota Fortuner’s traction control shine on surfaces where other cars would easily lose composure.
Extreme moves. The Fortuner tackles the mud articulation obstacle.
BUILDING ITS FORTUNE
Despite being around since 2009, the Toyota Fortuner as a brand, just like the SUV, seems indestructible. When it was launched, its rugged looks, Toyota’s legacy of reliability, powerful engine and impressive ground clearance helped it roll out of the showrooms in large numbers. Since then it has only gone from one strength to another. In a country that is crazy about SUVs, the Toyota Fortuner has remained the vehicle of choice for everyone looking for an upgrade.
Downhill Assist Control (DAC) makes this descent easy.
ACCELERATE INTO ADVENTURE
Five shiny, new Toyota Fortuners were on call for all the mucking during the Toyota Off-Road Camp. Subscribers of Autocar India, and potential and existing Toyota customers turned up with friends to experience the thrill of off-road driving and capabilities of the Toyota Fortuner firsthand. We spoke to a few of them and this is what they had to say.
The Fortuner flattens the chicken holes.
I run a road-trip company and was really looking forward to this off-road experience. The demo given was excellent and it helped me understand how to navigate through this track. I do a little bit of off-roading when I travel but I have not been part of an event like this. The uphill (big mound) and the slush were very enjoyable. There were no nervous moments but plenty of exciting ones. The Fortuner is a brilliant vehicle, so it handled the track very well. You can just sit in the car and roll. The Fortuner handled everything very well. It’s a brilliant vehicle. The 30-degree side incline is challenging but in the automatic Fortuner, it’s very easy. We used the hill-assist, the DAC, in first gear and that made the big mound easy. It was brilliant, the car was absolutely in control and you don’t press the accelerator or the brake, you just leave it to the vehicle to decide and it takes you down smoothly. From the first Fortuner to the new Fortuner, there is immense improvement. They have done phenomenally brilliant work on the handling and comfort level. I didn’t expect it to be so smooth. I love Toyota cars. They’re the best.
I’m a hardcore off-road driver. I participate in a lot of 4x4 events conducted in and around Hyderabad. I would give this experience a rating of five on five. I’m surprised. The guys here guided me well. The big mound was the best part. That was a little scary but the guide made it easy. I thought the water would come in at the water pit, but not a drop of water came in. It was excellent over the chicken holes and rumblers. I never expected such a performance. The Fortuner did very well. It’s quite tough. It takes the worst with ease. I thought it would manage but not so easily. I have recommended the Toyota brand to many people and am further impressed now and will definitely recommend it to many more people. The Fortuner is very rugged and luxurious at the same time.
I heard about the boot camp through a friend. The experience was very good. Everybody was very helpful and knew what they were doing; everything was very well-organised. I loved the big mound. It was a little scary but exciting. I also liked the first off-camber mud pit. It was scary but interesting. I think there were quite a few scary moments. But the Fortuner took good care of them. I felt very comfortable with the car. The water pit wasn’t scary. But the Fortuner taught me how to drive through deep water. I think the suspension was really good because I didn’t feel a thing. The drive was very smooth. It was really strong and the grip was good.
My experience was breathtaking. This is my first time off-roading. I really enjoyed the big mound. I don’t have words to describe it. While going up, hill-hold was the feature that helped and while coming back down Downhill Assist Control (DAC) was there. I had complete trust in the Fortuner. Toyota means reliability. In my family we’ve always owned Toyotas. Every time I see a Toyota, I feel it can out-live its owner.
Toyota as a brand has amazing resale value. Though once you own a Toyota, you wouldn’t want to sell it. What I really like about the Fortuner is that it looks really heavy and bulky; but when you drive it, it’s smoother than any other vehicle. You can take quick, short turns, you can take it up- and down-hill, and we did the water pit too; at no point did it feel like we were driving something big. It’s so amazing. I had a terrifically awesome experience.