Review: 2021 Toyota Fortuner Facelift
- The new Fortuner gets a bunch of changes up front
- The diesel engine delivers more power and torque than before
- The SUV gets auto LSD and lockable differential for better off-roading
The Toyota Fortuner has been one of India's most loved big cars in the last decade. It first went on sale in the country in 2009 and it was in 2016 that the Japanese carmaker presented the SUV in a brand-new generation, surprising many with the design and the features it came with. More than 4 years later the Fortuner has finally got another upgrade. The facelift of the SUV has arrived on our shores and the changes are not just superficial but, in the heart, too.
The bigger grille is one of the many changes seen on the face of the new car.
The changes in design are not as drastic as it was in the new generation back in 2016. However, there's still a lot that is new specially on the front. The grille is new and has become bigger while the LED projector lamps now come with different looking DRL's and are sleeker than before. The fog lamps too have become smaller while the bumper has changed too, and you also get silver skid plates now which look much better. The SUV also gets a new sparkling black crystal shine colour. On the profile the big highlight is the new alloy wheel design that certainly appeals more than before. The four-wheel drive variants get 18-inch wheels while the two-wheel drive ones get one size lesser. At the rear, not much changes apart from the new LED taillights.
New LED tail lamps is the only significant change on the rear.
If you go in for the top-of-the-line Legender variant what's on offer is an even more aggressive grille, a taller bumper, new quad LED headlights, sequential turn indicators, a different alloy design and a dual tone roof. In a world full of sub-4 metre cars, the Fortuner has really big dimensions - It is 4,795 m long, 1,855 mm wide and 1,835 mm tall. And Its wheelbase is 2745 mm.
Tech & Interior
Fortuner now gets a new touch screen system along with connected car technology.
With this facelift Toyota is trying to keep up with the more feature rich cabins of rivals like the Ford Endeavour and the MG Gloster. Both the front seats are now ventilated and electrically adjustable and the good thing is that its standard across the range. The 8.0-inch Smart Playcast Touchscreen Audio is new and is compatible with Android Auto and Apple Carplay. Its quite responsive but the interface could've been better and the size bigger, looking at this massive cabin. The SUV also gets connected car technology for the first time which means you have access to features like geo-fencing, real-time tracking, last parked location, etc.
A premium 11 speaker JBL sound system is available only on the 4WD variants.
You now have 2 colour options when it comes to seats – Chamois and Black. There's a premium 11 speaker JBL sound system which strangely is available only with the 4WD variants while features like a wireless charger, ambient lighting and a dual tone black and maroon upholstery are being offered just with the Legender. So there's no one variant that offers all the bells and whistles. And you have a choice to make here.
Second row bench seat offers all the comfort you're looking for.
There's still no option of Captain seats on the second row but the bench seat is quite big and gives you the kind of comfort you're looking for. The thigh support is decent and there's a good sense of space overall. All the 3 headrests are adjustable, and you have a centre arm rest and roof mounted AC vents like before. But still no sunroof could be a bit of a downer for many and there's no USB charging point here but what you do get is a 12V charging socket.
There's ample boot space available with the last row folder.
The Diesel engine makes more power and torque than before.
The 2.8 litre 4-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine now makes more power and torque than before. You get a little over 200 brake horsepower and 420 Nm of peak torque on the 6-speed manual that kicks in fairly early at 1,400 rpm and stays till 3,400 rpm. It gets even better on the Automatic that I got to drive. Here you get a healthier 500 Nm from 1,600-2,800 rpm. And that is quite helpful for a car that weighs more than 2,600 kgs. Both Automatic and Manual transmissions and come with two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive options. The Legender, meanwhile, just gets diesel two-wheel drive automatic variant. This engine with the Auto gearbox also feels more refined when compared to the pre-facelift model. You can sense that the torque delivery feels a lot more linear and the gear changes too are quick and smooth.
Petrol variants on the Fortuner continue to be offered with just 2WD option.
The 2.7 litre 4 cylinder Petrol is being offered with both Manual and Automatic gearbox options but there's no 4WD option here. On this engine you get much lesser 164 brake horse power and 245 Nm at 4,000 rpm. So yes, there's a lot to choose from when it comes to drivetrain options. In all there are now 3 modes to choose from in the diesel – Eco, Normal and Sport. If you cannot do your overtaking moves in normal mode, the Sport will help you do it. The Eco mode is strictly for city traffic and don't expect anything but better efficiency here. The petrol gets two drive modes called Eco and Power like earlier.
Body on frame chassis along with the suspension set up work well for Indian road conditions.
This car has been built to take on the tough terrains, the uneven roads and that it does well. The body on frame chassis along with the suspension set up work well for our conditions. The body roll that you associate with the Fortuner is still there, more so while cornering at high speeds. It takes time to getting used to. Also, the new variable flow control steering, which is just offered with the diesel engine is a lot lighter and not as engaging as earlier.
Fortuner Diesel now comes with 3 drive modes - Eco, Normal & Sport.
Now with this facelift, Toyota has tried to make your drive in the Fortuner a little more reassuring specially off the road. So for better grip specially on slippery surfaces the SUV now gets Auto Limited Slip Differential or LSD that means you get maximum power without breaking traction. And that's not all a lockable differential is there too which will help you in getting out of extreme situations in a better way. The 4x4 variants get both high and low range along with downhill assist control. The SUV has an approach angle of 29 degrees and departure angle of 25 degrees. A small off-road patch helped me realise some of that potential, but it surely promises to do much more.
ISOFIX child seat mounts and 7 airbags are a part of long list of standard safety features.
The list of safety features is fairly long. Vehicle stability control, Hill assist control, rear parking camera, ABS with EBD, ISOFIX child seat mounts and 7 airbags are all standard. The SUV now also gets a front clearance sonar feature that will help you park better in tight spaces. The SUV has also scored a full five-star test rating in ASEAN NCAP crash tests.
The Fortuner now gets Auto LSD & lockable differential for better traction.
The Petrol variants are the most affordable of the lot starting at Rs. 29.98 lakh while the Diesel range starts at Rs. 32.48 lakh (all prices, ex-showroom). The 4WD models are priced from Rs. 35.14 lakh while the most expensive of the lot is the Legender at Rs. 37.58 lakh. In comparison the MG Gloster that comes with just a Diesel engine is priced between Rs. 29.98 lakh and 35.58 lakh. The Endeavour too is priced similarly between Rs. 29.99 lakh and Rs. 35.45 lakh and also gets just a diesel engine. Endeavour's 2WD variants start at Rs. 29.99 lakh while the 4WD is priced at Rs. 34.8 lakh but there's no manual there. The Mahindra Alturas G4 is priced between Rs. 28.73 lakh and Rs. 31.73 lakh. That means all these SUVs are cheaper than the Fortuner and also offer a slightly longer feature list.
The Fortuner is the most expensive diesel SUV in the segment.
But the Fortuner's road presence is hard to beat and that reflects in the fact that it has been the segment leader for long. This one feels a lot more than just a facelift and if the number of bookings the company has received for this new vehicle is anything to go by, that order isn't going to change anytime soon.