Toyota Fortuner is surely an SUV in India which is often believed to represent powerful personality and social status. The new gen Fortuner is just a step ahead of the last gen and it———s already quite popular amongst premium SUV buyers ranging from politicians to professionals and from youngsters to businessman. While most of the people prefer the automatic version of this SUV, we had our hands on the manual 4WD variant of this SUV which comes with a 2.8L diesel engine.
We wanted to find answers to certain FAQs while living with this SUV such as is it big enough to drive in daily traffic, is it necessary to opt for the auto gearbox and do you need an AWD variant? Well, we will answer all these questions in this article.
Yes, this SUV is huge in size and has huge road presence which will surely get you attention wherever you go. This SUV wears a perfect match of modern styling and macho appeal. The sharp body lines, curves, chrome accent altogether adds to its visual appeal. Surely its less butch looking than its older generation but the new looks are perfectly matched for the present and future buyers.
It is very easy to get in and out of this high SUV thanks to the side step which has been nicely integrated in the body and serves purpose as well. The seats are wide and comfortable for your day to day commute and for long journeys. You sit high on the driver seat and get a very clear view of the long bonnet and road ahead. However, the side windows and high rear pillar line reduces the overall visibility but its precise rear parking camera and sensors come to aid you while parking. The push button start brings the vehicle to life and you will instantly notice the gear lever vibrations which settle down later.
On the move although you will not get much to complain about the gearbox as it has short gear throws with well matched gear ratios. The abundance of torque which is available straight away from 1600rpm makes sure you are never left wanting for more. The manual variant has 420Nm of torque which is 30Nm less than the automatic variant but it hardly makes any impact on your drive because the wide range of torque makes you work less on that gearbox which is quite evident while on highways. Even in city traffic, it is not a big concern as it can easily crawl from 30km/hr to 100km/hr in third gear. Moreover, you will appreciate the light clutch in this SUV which further makes it easier to drive this SUV in daily traffic.
The Fortuner feels best out on highways with that additional 6th gear which makes it a perfect cruiser and most of the time you just have to engage the top gear and enjoy the high speed cruising. The only thing you will miss is the dead pedal which is sorely missed while you are driving more than an hour. Apart from this, the high speed stability is remarkable; you are always full of confidence with great control over the SUV. The hydraulic steering (lighter than Innova) keeps you connected most of the time and you can nose ahead of others easily because of its effortless cruising ability. To be honest the manual is actually more fun that the automatic here.
The ladder frame chassis is a significant improvement in this new Fortuner compared to previous gen as it feels more settled on broken patches and roads which remind us of its 4WD system which is now operated by a rotary knob in the centre console. The 4WD variant comes with bigger 18-inch wheels and gets enough grip on and off the road to perform something which you wish to do with an SUV like this. Steep inclines and declines are well controlled thanks to the hill hold and descent control in the Fortuner. Also the body roll is well contained while making sharp turns and you will feel more settled inside its cabin even while going off the road. As far as fuel efficiency is concerned, during our one week living with this SUV, we got a mileage of around 9-10km/ltr which is not bad for the performance its offers you on every terrain.
The safety pack includes 7 airbags, ABD with EBD and ESP long with the solid body structure which makes it an extremely safe vehicle for your daily and highway journeys. The interior built quality is impressive and so is the audio system and all other features you get in this SUV like electronically adjustable driver seat, automatic lights, wipers, climate control, all disc brakes, infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity and navigation system etc. However speaking of features, we miss few features such as front sensors and panoramic sunroof.
That aside, we have got all our answers that yes you can easily commute in manual variant, it has spacious interiors, 7 seating capacity and yes the most important a very powerful and responsive diesel engine and 4WD system. It is surely an advantage to have a 4WD SUV and of course the Fortuner name and the Toyota badge alone justifies the 28.5 lakh price. Yes the automatic is easier to drive but for off-roading and more fun we say look at the manual plus its cheaper too.
Words- Sunil Kumar