It’s bigger, more luxurious and nicer to drive. But all this comes at a price. Will the new Fortuner continue its domination?
This time around, Toyota also has a 166hp petrol on offer, which is the same 2.7-litre unit that powers the Innova. As on that car, what you really enjoy here is the additional refinement. The extra dose of smoothness is really pleasing at low speeds, there's a good amount of power when you accelerate, and the fact that the motor makes its maximum power above 5,000 rpm, allows you to spin the engine fast as well. You do, however, miss the torque of the diesel when you need to execute a quick overtaking manoeuvre. There's also the fact that this motor isn't particularly zingy either.
One of the areas where the Fortuner has improved the most is handling. The new car rolls less, feels much more agile and is willing to change direction. The really impressive bit is that it feels lighter on its feet and is more willing to tuck into tight corners than even the Innova. This comes as a bit of a surprise because of the additional bulk. And what's nicer is that the steering (while not easy at parking speeds) is lighter than that on the Innova. So it's less of a chore to park and nicer to steer though traffic as well. Straight-line stability has improved too. It remains unfazed as speeds climb above 120kph – despite the 225mm ground clearance – and now long corners are easy to take at high speeds, with the Toyota settling down nicely. Also improved massively are the brakes, something that desperately needed upgrading. The discs up front deliver good bite and the pedal effort required now is much lower too.
Even the ride has been refined. While the lumpiness and the typically busy, always-on-the-move big SUV feel is still present over poor surfaces, the new Fortuner does feel more settled. There's a lot less up and down movement, the suspension is much more absorbent and the ride in general is flatter too. Where the Fortuner does its best work is on really bad sections, where it just seems to glide through larger holes and deeper ruts.
Fundamentally, the Fortuner is an off-roader and a fairly successful one at that, but here too Toyota has changed the system completely. Instead of full-time four-wheel drive, found on the earlier car, you now get 2WD, 4WD and 4WD low. Known as Sigma 4, the system is more efficient, and to further enhance grip Toyota has included a virtual limited slip differential that works through individual braking of the wheels.
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