The brand is Toyota. The product is Fortuner. Very well known names around the world and renowned for their bulletproof reliability. So, how did the 2016 update work on the Toyota Fortuner? We took the top spec Fortuner for a quick spin.
The most obvious and striking update on the new Fortuner is on the exterior. The Fortuner finally decides to shed its 10-year-old skin and is ready to take on its updated competitor list. The front end features new sleek headlamp units with integrated daytime running lights, all powered by LEDs. The design quickly reminds you of the new Toyota and Lexus range, with a definite upmarket feel compared to the previous model. A new slanting grille with horizontal slats and chrome highlights looks aggressive and stylish. The lower section of the front grille features a heavy rake which amplifies the off-road feel associated with the Fortuner. This design will help the new Fortuner to have steep angles of attack when you decide to have some off-road fun. Round fog lamps housed in triangular sections within the bumper add to the 'butch' looks of the new Toyota.
Viewed from the side, you get a touch of the old Fortuner on the upper half with a hint of the round-ish design lingo. Major design changes are seen on the lower half of the new Fortuner, with chunkier wheel arches and a heavy shoulder line. The lower window line features an upward swoop towards the rear and looks a bit confusing to the eyes due to the sheer number of different angles near the C-pillar. The rear end of the new Fortuner has also been restyled to match the overall design. The tail lamp cluster is now a full LED affair with obvious RAV4 and Lexus LX570 inspiration. The rear bumper now features angular design elements in lieu of the rounded section on its predecessor. Viewed from the rear, the new Toyota Fortuner looks higher but actually sits a bit lower compared to the old model. So, the new Fortuner feels refreshing on the outside. Let's see how the interiors fare.
Doors open to the familiar Fortuner seat layout, 2+3+2. The new car features smart keyless entry – a smart addition to the good-sized SUV. Our top spec version also came with dual tone fake leather upholstery splashed on the seats and through the cabin. Definitely adds brownie points to the premium feel of the new Fortuner. The dashboard features a new center console with fake leather accents on both sides. A seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system which controls the audio and connectivity features on the new car. Somehow, the touch response of the infotainment screen did not feel confidence-inspiring with occasional 'no-response' conditions when the screen couldn't understand what option I touched! Definitely a no-no for an updated Fortuner. The A/C vents located on top of the center console gel with the design.
The new Fortuner features an air-conditioning system with a high-efficiency compressor which decreases engine load and improves fuel efficiency. The front seats on the 2016 Fortuner have wider shoulder flares for added support and keep you intact while in action. For driving pleasure, the steering wheel has been given leather and flat gripping accents.
For passengers, the second row seats feature redesigned cushioning with enhanced back support, a 60:40 split and armrest with integrated cup holders. You also get your share of power outlets for your on-the-go devices. Even with the front seats in their rearmost position, there is decent legroom for the second row passengers. Third row still remains kid-exclusive and is best left in folded condition which gives you decent cargo space as well. Second row passengers get eight-inch video screens behind the front seats and I would say that it can feel a bit claustrophobic in bumper to bumper traffic. The driver gets a new 4.2-inch info screen between the speedo and rpm dials which shows vehicle info. A fair number of cubby holes and storage spaces have been offered for all of your knick-knacks. Our model featured a six-speaker audio system which worked well to fill the large interiors of the Fortuner with quality sound.
Our tester features a 4.0-liter V6 petrol engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The V6 puts out 235 horsepower and is capable of putting down its power through all the four wheels. You get an electronic selector dial to switch between two wheels, four wheel low and four wheel high modes whereas the previous model had a mechanical shifter. You can also choose between 'Eco' and 'Power' driving modes depending on your driving mood. In 'Eco' mode the V6 Fortuner suddenly feels like its four-cylinder sibling with the engine straining to pull the car along. 'Power' mode feels more V6-like and can keep you entertained. The new Fortuner features double wishbone suspension up front and a four link setup on the rear for the best passenger comfort. Added with the new front and rear sway bars, the new Fortuner handles much better on corners with much less body roll compared to the previous version. In 'Power' mode the car picks up speed real quick with smooth gear shifts and a feel-good steering response. Brakes perform well, combined with safety features like ABS and electronic brake-force distribution. The brake feedback has improved much over the previous gen Fortuner. One annoying feature I felt during my drive was the downward swooping front center armrest which caused my arm to slip down every time I braked a bit hard. It would have been much better without the downward swoop design. Off-road tests did not unsettle the Fortuner and the vehicle never felt tired. It just likes to keep going and going.
Overall, the new Toyota Fortuner is an excellent upgrade over its predecessor and does not disappoint. Being a Toyota you can expect excellent value for money and equipment quality for years to come. A good investment for hauling six passengers and certainly is a worthy update!
Pros: Practical family SUV, value for money, decent off-road drive, tough, built like the Hilux
Cons: Rough ride when unladen
Rivals: Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe, Mitsubishi Pajero, Ford Explorer
Engine: 4.0L V6, 235 hp @ 5,200 rpm, 343 Nm @ 3,800 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed auto, 4WD
Performance: 0-100 km/h: 10 sec, top speed: 187 km/h, fuel consumption: 13.5 L/100 km
Weight: 2,650 kg
One word: value-for-money