New Toyota Fortuner: 5 things to know

New Toyota Fortuner: 5 things to know

The Fortuner has been the king of its segment for some time now. True, it tends to lollop on regular roads, and its interiors are not very attractive, but in terms of rough road ability, brute appeal and general practicality, it is difficult to argue against it. However, its competition (read, the new Ford Endeavour and Chevrolet Trailblazer) are overshadowing it now. In that light, the second-generation Fortuner couldn’t have come at a better time. Here is a list of five essential facts to about the second-gen Fortuner.

1. It is tougher

The first-gen Fortuner was, by no standard, a weakling. The second-gen, however, adds to the big SUV’s air of indestructibility. Toyota has beefed up the new Fortuner’s ladder-frame chassis by reinforcing its side rails and suspension towers and fitting stouter cross members, resulting in a chassis whose stiffness is laudable. The SUV’s ability to take a hammering is further reinforced by the large diameter dampers it comes fitted with.

2. It looks more Lexus than Toyota

The second-gen Fortuner ditches the upright-SUV looks of its predecessor for something more rakish, flowing and edgy, bringing it more in line with upmarket cousins from Lexus than its utilitarian siblings from Toyota. Notable elements on the Fortuner are the new grille design, bracketed by thick V-shaped bands of chrome and the unique kink in the window line towards the rear.

3. The interiors are a major step up

The interiors of the first-gen Fortuner were a bit unappealing. However, the new Fortuner’s cabin, with its leather-wrapped, chrome-sporting dashboard, touchscreen infotainment system and modern instrument cluster looks up to date and stylish, while still affording practicality in terms of storage for knick-knacks. The seats are supportive and comfortable, and the additional width of the car translates into more space in the cabin. The plastics, however, do feel cheap in places.

4. The engines are new

Toyota will launch the new Fortuner with a new 177hp 2.8-litre diesel engine. Despite the unit being smaller than the current 3.0-litre, it produces more power, and is likely to be more efficient due to its smaller capacity. This will come mated to either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox. A 150hp 2.4-litre diesel engine variant will join at a later stage. The car will be available in rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive set-ups.

5. Improved ride

The stiffer chassis takes some load off the suspension to deliver suppleness and grip. As a result, Toyota has been able to fit the new Fortuner with slightly softer springs and more absorbent dampers, which will improve its ride.

With many of its strengths reinforced (literally, in the case of the chassis), the new Fortuner seems ready to assume its predecessor’s place on the throne. However, the competition, this time around, is tougher, raising the question: Will the new Fortuner assume the mantle of its predecessor, or will it cede it to keen rivals?

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