Amit Paranjape’s Blog

Toyota Fortuner – First Impressions

Posted in Cars by Amit Paranjape on January 5, 2010

Toyota Fortuner (Image Credit: Wikipedia)


This morning, I was at the Toyota Dealership for my car servicing. The prospect of a boring wait lay ahead. I picked up a brochure of the new Fortuner and casually enquired about the possibility of a Test-Drive, fully knowing that the SUV may not even be available at this location. Ever since the much anticipated launch in 2009, the Fortuner is in great demand and even the waiting lists have been closed down. Toyota is sitting pretty on a big backlog.      

To my surprise, the SUV was available and the dealer representative promptly arranged for a Test Drive. Note that Pune City Traffic is pretty bad for any Test Drive! Nevertheless, I was able to drive the SUV around for 20 min, and did manage to find a brief stretch of open road. Note, in a strict sense I won’t call this blog a true Test Drive Report. As the title suggests, these are first impressions.      

The first thing that strikes you about the Fortuner is the huge ground clearance. The Toyota representative quickly highlighted that it was 220 mm. This is ideal for rough off-road/rural road driving conditions. The 17 inch wheels are also a welcome feature.  The exterior shape looks a little bit like the Lexus RX 300 SUV (though the Fortuner is smaller), and is pretty nice. Unfortunately, the similarities between the Lexus SUV end quickly! From the inside, the Fortuner looks quite simple, with little hint of any luxury. In fact, the interiors are very close to that of the top-end Innova (that costs almost half…). The cabin space, consisting of 3 rows of seats, is at best comparable with that of the Innova. The features list of the Fortuner also runs very close: 2 Airbags, Climate Control being the primary highlights.      

However, the similarities between the Innova start fading away as you start the Fortuner. The 3.0L Turbocharged Diesel Engine is bigger and significantly more powerful. It delivers 126 KW (171 PS) of Power @ 3600 RPM, with a Max Torque of 343 Nm (1400 – 3400 rpm). The 5-Speed Manual Transmission drives the full-time 4WD system. It also has special gear for driving  in extreme high gradients (often referred to as the ‘Jump’ gear in the old Land Rovers and Jongas…).      

The Fortuner definitely has enough power at hand – However, a noticeable turbo-charger delay is felt when accelerating. Having recently test driven the 2.0 Liter Diesel Skoda Laura, I felt that the Fortuner delay was longer and more pronounced.      

One area where Toyota excels the most in my opinion is the suspension and the comfort of the ride. The Fortuner doesn’t disappoint here at all. The comfort for the driver and passenger is great, and will be a big plus on the rough roads in India.      

On the downside, I still think that Toyota Diesel Engines are not as smooth and refined as that of their German Counterparts. Agreed, fuel economy is a big factor, but a Petrol Fortuner would not be a bad idea at some point in the future. The Toyota Petrol Engines are truly great.      

Maybe it was the specific SUV that I was driving (The representative mentioned that this one had been out on long Test Drives for a few weeks…), but I felt that the braking could have been a bit better. Note, the Fortuner has front disc and rear drum brakes.      

Overall I thought that Fortuner is a good vehicle; simply not a great one. At the price point of Rs 20 – 22 Lakhs, I would have expected a bit more refinements and features on the interiors. Hope Toyota considers a Petrol Engine variant (or does some serious improvements to the Diesel Engine). Also at the +20 Lakhs price range, an Automatic Transmission Option should be made available.

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8 Responses

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  1. Prats said, on January 6, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Great review. Btw have u tried Chevvy Captiva? are fortuner’s interiors better?

  2. Nilesh Sane said, on January 6, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    The first thing that strikes me about the Fortuner is the size of its hood. I mean it comes almost at chest level.
    I haven’t driven the car, but have lapped up almost all the reviews and the comparo tests and looks like this is another competent car from Toyota. I really like its butch looks, though I am not so impressed from the Innova like interiors.
    You made a good point on the engines and I think the drivability of these engines is still not in the class of its German counter parts.
    The setup is probably on the softer side and the ladder chassis (similar to the Endeavour) makes one feel that he is driving a truck, which is a good thing considering that it is not a soft roader.
    Overall I liked the car, but somehow I am left with wanting more.

  3. Amit Paranjape said, on January 6, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Thanks Prateek. I haven’t tried out the Chevy Captiva. Need to check it out (and the new Chevy Cruze as well). Will write about it.

  4. VIJAY said, on February 17, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    hi all. i am owning a Fortuner SR5 2.4LTR automatic and my experience for last 3 years is this vehicle is good on road and off road also. But Toyota needs to look in to very detail of assembly point, where one gets wind cutting noise thru doors. Also the brake mechanism needs to check thoroughly. Space wise, its fantatstic(while using on 5 seater). Interior is very good and comfortable. i can rate this model 6/10.

  5. Amit Paranjape said, on February 17, 2010 at 10:55 pm

    Vijay, Thanks for your comments. Where are you based? Fortuner A/T is still not available in India…I think.

  6. Vijay Kini said, on February 18, 2010 at 9:19 am

    I am not sure but the model and the interior is very much same. Except for a air hood on the bonnet(front side). I am based in Muscat-Oman. Regards.

  7. Amit Ahuja said, on June 10, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    the car is damn good against it’s competitors. The exteriors are so much appealing that no one can resist looking at it…..
    till now only one model is available in india with all wheel drive only. there is no A/T version available

  8. Rajendra Mehta said, on October 3, 2011 at 11:30 am

    My one year old Fortuner making has become too noisy. any suggestions?

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