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Old 22nd May 2016, 15:25   #1
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Default Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched

This is my 2nd ownership thread here on TBHP and it aims to share my experiences and adventures with a pre-owned Dec 2009 Toyota Fortuner which I got home on April 3, 2016.

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-899.jpg

What I like about my Fortuner:
  • Looks & Presence on the road – I get eyeballs rolling wherever I go!
  • Simplistic & Functional Interiors – A nice change from Civic’s funky interiors
  • Aftermarket Suspension = Transformed ride quality. Ironman’s suspension upgrade is THE best mod here! No back breaking ride anymore! Higher load the better!
  • Engine – Simply wonderful. It’s a torque monster! Awesome Driveability ON/OFF-ROAD
  • Excellent 4x4 Capabilities – Toyota legendary 4x4 system with centre LSD. No front or rear lockable diffs though, not that I have needed those so far! lol.
  • A full size proper SUV for price of base-variant Hyundai Creta! Awesome VFM.
  • Toyota’s excellent A.S.S. – Already got 2 services done and I am impressed with Toyota.
  • Decent FE – Keeps hovering between 10.5/11.5. I am over the moon!
What I dislike:
  • Brakes: Pathetic engineering! Poor braking ability, doesn’t inspire confidence at high speeds!
  • A few Rattles: Seat channels rattle without any load on them! I simply hate this and Toyota can’t sort it out and keeps insisting for replacement!
  • Basic interiors: I simply can’t justify the price of brand new Fortuner, looking at interiors & ride quality! Same variant as mine costs almost 32L on road in Delhi!
  • Lack of VSC: Vehicle Stability Control is the only thing I miss in Classic Fortuner when compared to latest model!
  • Opaque decisiveness by Judiciary in Delhi NCR: With knee jerk reactions we have seen from our judiciary in recent past (Ban on 2000+ cc diesel vehicles registration, 10 years age limitations on current diesels etc.) means there is no clarity on how potential ownership of this car will turn out in long run of 8-10 years.

Last edited by Akshay1234 : 6th October 2016 at 16:16.
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Old 22nd May 2016, 15:35   #2
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Default Background

I am a sedan guy, period. Since 2011 when I moved to Delhi NCR for my job, I have been driving a Civic for my personal use and it has been one of the best cars I have owned till date. That revv-happy naturally aspirated engine, car’s hunkered down personality, precise and slick gearshifts, pleasure of redlining this car over open highways and closed circuits, right upto 7200 rpms. It was a pleasant dream really! Over course of time, I contemplated some upgrades, an Audi A4 3.2 FSI, BMW 330i or even E60 530d. However, for one reason or the other, it never happened. In past 5 years, a couple of things have changed. I am 28 years old now, with 5+ years of work experience in hand and doing decently for myself, with practical side of my mind kicking in once in a while. I had bought a 3 bedroom house last year and was feeling proud on myself. “What else do you need? For someone my age!” I used to ask myself. I have a job that I love, I drive cars I love! I have amazingly loving parents and siblings, a beautiful woman in my life and I live in my own home in Delhi NCR. Life is going well, I thought.

However, it all started in January 2016. I along with a couple of friends were having a discussion about a much needed break from work. A quick glance upon the calendar and realized that 23/24/25/26th January can be a great weekend getaway option if we take Monday off for 25th Jan. Long story short, plan was made and getaway place was discussed. For a 4 day round-trip, Shimla-Narkanda? Manali? Dalhausie? Massoorie? Finally, we picked up Mussoorie since it had been a long time we went to that place. A beautiful boutique hotel on the banks of a small river subsidiary in outskirts of hills, in between Dehradun & Mussoorie. But, there was only one fly in the ointment, we were 3 friends going and all of us had sedans. Filled with luggage into the mountains and over bad roads! Nah I said and borrowed a XUV FWD from a dear friend in Gurgaon. Memorable trip, we had loads of fun for 4 days!

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-dsc_0646.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-img_20160124_070756.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-img_20160124_1720071.jpg

That’s when I realized what I have been missing so far. My Civic was running trouble free and had been with me for over 5 years. I had even put close to one lakh kms on its odo since I bought it. However, low GC had been a big issue to tackle all this while. I usually travelled solo or with one passenger with me and Civic had no issues whatsoever! However, the moment rear seat filled with passengers OR I decided to take some luggage along, the car would sag down and would become a nightmare to drive on our roads filled with potholes and speed-breakers. This thought came in my mind, my next car had to have good ground clearance. The winds of change had already started blowing!

Fast forward to March 2016, 2 months passed and life kept moving ahead in its usual gear. Then, one fateful day I had my breaking point with my Civic. On my way to Jind from Gurgaon on NH 71, I missed a big pothole and BAMMMM! The Car hit its underbelly so hard I had to re-check the possible damage 3 times. Thankfully no damage to the car, however internal grudge against low GC returned and for the first time in my Civic ownership, I felt I needed a car with higher GC, immediately! I simply couldn’t take this anymore. So, the hunt begun…

I made arrangements for the funds and budget decided was 10 Lakhs. My requirements were pretty straight forward.
  • High GC, higher the better! I was so pissed off that day I hit the pothole in my Civic. Meant, I was looking at SUV segment.
  • Had to be 4x4 or AWD at the very least! For me, no 4x4 = no SUV! Also, meant I would be looking at pre-owned vehicles only.
  • Open to Petrol/Diesel.
  • Automatic Transmission would be welcome. Afterall, if I was losing on driving pleasure of a sleek sedan on open highways, I would have loved to be compensated by a more relaxed city-drive in my next car!
  • No preference on seating capacity. 5 OR 7, doesn’t matter. My family including me is having 4 members!
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Old 22nd May 2016, 15:39   #3
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Default Vehicle Shortlisting

With above criteria in mind, the search of that perfect SUV started. My local gang of BHPians was very helpful throughout. Cheers guys and thanks a lot for your help (.Anshuman, Roy_Libran, nkapoor777, Safari_Beast, Spadix, Phamilyman, Rachit_Dogra, Bloodred & others).

Pehla, Hamesha Pehla! (First, always First! Motto of Brigade of The Guards regiment of the Indian Army): Ford Endeavour - The very first one to be considered was the old gen Ford Endeavour. There were plenty available in market from 2011-2013 vintage. Met all my requirements in 3.0 Litre 4x4 AT option. Endeavour in its 2011-2013 avatar looks macho and I love it. I am a fan of boxy designs on SUVs and this model fit to the T. 3.0 Litre engine had enough grunt and low end torque, AT added to the convenience. Took a couple of vehicles for test drive and shortlisted a car for next round.

Toyota Fortuner: At this point of time, I was suggested to check upon Fortuners by almost everybody. I was not considering it because
  • Excellent Residual Value of Toyota in pre-owned market, I always thought it was out of my decided budget.
  • Even if I got one, it would have been a MT since 4x4 AT had just been launched past year only!
  • We do have an AT 4x2 Fortuner in my family and I am not a big fan of bumpy, back breaking ride quality!

However, I was told Fortuner MT had an excellent driveability due to negligible turbo lag and since I was considering Endeavour as an option, Classic Fortuners from 2009-2011 vintage would have been much ahead of the Blue Oval on many technological fronts and ride quality since Endeavour runs on leaf springs suspension in the rear. Fellow BHPian and Moderator .Anshuman had owned one in past and he sang all praise for it. With this advice in mind, I looked upon online & offline resources and starting paying more attention to Fortuner. However, good resale value of Toyota kept me haunting and forget 10, I was not able to find a good Fortuner under 12 Lakhs. The ones which were nicely maintained were being traded around 13/13.5 and anything around 12 had miserable interiors and odo tempered like crazy. Checked more than a dozen Fortuners and same story kept repeating.

Chevrolet Captiva: There were a couple of these available in AWD avatar and I took test drives to know more about Captiva. Even liked one particular car; 2012 model, HR26 registered, black color. However, was suggested against it by .Anshuman because of higher cost of maintenance and poor spare parts availability. I personally do not even understand the market approach of Chevrolet and relatively poor service network didn’t help either. Taken Out from competition.

XUV 5OO: Ah the Mahindra XUV 5OO! Remember this was the car which made me realize how I had stopped going to exciting places because of low GC of Civic! .Anshuman is using his XUV AWD to its full capabilities and pushed me to find one for myself as well. However, I have 3 XUVs in my distant family and close friend circle and I have driven XUVs for a fair deal of time & mileage. I like how Mahindra has been working on time-bound improvements in this model and first-hand experiences of servicing an XUV have been pleasant overall. However, I am not a big fan of tacky plastics used in the interior and although the XUV is loaded with features to the brim, I have my own suspicion on their long-term reliability. Despite all this, I did look upon pre-owned XUVs and even found one pristine condition car in my hometown itself. A Military Green Colored April 2014 XUV W8 with only 30k kms on the odo, HR31 Registered. Military Green they said, I was jumping like a toddler on a trampoline! That color on an XUV looks mesmerizing, to say the least. Genuine Mileage and asking price at 8.5L was really tempting too. Only one problem was that it was a FWD vehicle. Bummer!!! However, since the deal was so good, I still kept it in my shortlist (as a backup to fall back upon, just in case).

Mitsubishi Pajero & Pajero Sport: I love the old gen Pajero, just for its surreal ride quality! Had driven one in Rajasthan during a long trip there and was in love with it. Simple construction, reliable engine + gearbox and legendary 4x4 capabilities. However, the DI engine is decades old and gets out of steam very soon once you get into triple digit speeds on highways. Plus, it is a thief’s delight due to lack of engine immobilizer. There were plenty in market and I checked a couple of them. However, not a single vehicle was decently maintained and for long term usage, I find Mitsubishi lacking that zeal to support their customers. Same story with Pajero Sport, it’s the only model which is keeping Mitsubishi alive in Indian market and with their wafer-thin dealer network, I simply didn’t have that risk-taking ability with 8-10 years ownership timeline. Pajero Sport is an amazing vehicle though! Built like a tank and having a proper presence once on the road. I was offered a 2013 red Pajero Sport (locally within Haryana, HR24 registered), however asking was 16L despite its poor resale. I simply looked away from the vehicle. Would I have bought it for 12/13L? For sure!!! It was certainly a better choice than those Classic Fortuners with their tempered odo! But for 16L, no way.

Mitsubishi Montero: Although hard to find in market, there were a couple of options available in NCR. I shortlisted a few of them and took them for a spin. In a word, WHATTTACARRRR! Montero had the road presence of an elephant on road, it was awesome to drive off-road. Handling and ride quality was absolutely sublime too! Monocoque body, yet had all the off-road hardware. The one I shortlisted from the available options was a 2008 model in white 3.2 AT, driven 110k kms. Test drive went really smooth and I was really smitten by this car. The initial asking was 14L, however with one sitting over the table, I was able to bring the price down to 12L with some more scope of negotiations. Only one issue with the car, It had an Engine Check light on! Fellow BHPian Roy_Libran (in his own words) suggested me to “run away, else your home loan would possibly run its full length!” .Anshuman simply said, “All depends on you, how much headache you want in your life? When Montero will run trouble free, you will be all smiles. This car has an unmatched charisma and is one of the best SUV to be offered in India. However, when it will run into issues, it will be off-the-road for weeks (possibly months) and will make you pull out your hair, literally. And do not forget, it used to cost 44L brand new. So, spare parts at Mitsubishi will be eye-watering and they would be not available after-market since the model was big flop.” While my heart wanted to persuade this option by all means, practicality kicked in and I moved away from Montero. Sighhhh! What a lovely vehicle though, would have been my pick had I not picked up final selected vehicle.

Toyota LandCruiser Prado (Old gen): Why a Prado you say? Remember I said I didn’t give a hoot for FE and I am not a FE cautious guy by any means. I have spent more money on fuel in my Civic ownership years than its original cost! People asked whether low FE in petrol SUVs won’t be an issue? I replied I was okay with 7ish. Anything above 7 was gravy for me! There was a 2006 vintage LC Prado in silver color/black interior for sale locally. Took a test drive and that creamy V6 engine plastered a smile on my face every time I pressed the accelerator pedal on highway. Was maintained nicely too. However, the owner wasn’t willing to let this vehicle go away under 14L and it was already 10 years old, age wise. I couldn’t stretch to the asking price and backed off with heavy heart.


Another set of cars which were considered on paper and were rejected were Volvo XC90 and VW Touareg. I did have a look on these but never test drove them. They are awesome cars, both. However, the core problem for these was same as Montero. Both were from old vintage (Volvo from 2007 and VW from 2008) and long term reliability was supposedly a big question mark. Not to mention really high cost of spares and total ownership of Euro cars in India. I was looking for peace in my next car, not an always ongoing internal war of brain Vs heart about TCO.

Meanwhile I kept getting really good deals on Skoda Laura TSI, BMW E60 525 & 530d, last gen Honda Accord V6 with that beast of an engine producing lip smacking 270 BHP. Why did I even look at sedans? I told you naa, I am a sedan guy, period. However, practical quotient kept a good check on me and I looked away from all these deals.

Days kept passing like this!
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Old 22nd May 2016, 15:51   #4
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Default Decision Time

While I kept buzzing on our local WhatsApp group of friends about upgrading my car, one fine day, fellow BHPian Roy_Libran shared a Fortuner’s pic and asked “Ace, will you be interested in buying this? The owner is a friend and selling.”

My first reaction after looking at the pic was like:

Then the conversation went like below.

Me: Sure Roy, details please.

.Anshuman: I will be very interested in this. :P

Roy: Dec 2009, First Owner, 135k kms driven, very well kept, add-on accessories include Ironman suspension with 2” lift kit, Ironman Bumper & Winch, Proper working Snorkel and other goodies. Asking 12.5L.

.Anshuman: Good deal!

Me: 135 thousand kms, you said Roy!

Roy: Yes. And it has its fair share of battle scars during off-roading. So, exterior is lesser than perfect. However, mechanically the car is as good as it is possible to have.

.Anshuman: This truck can go more than 4-5 times of this mileage if well taken care of, Ace. The mileage is hardly a criteria for a well maintained Fortuner!

Meanwhile,

nkapoor777: Ace, Montero is a Montero!

Safari_Beast: Please buy a Laura TSI. Nothing beats the pleasure of a sedan + you can mod it too! Laura has very good GC too! *shares a pic of .Anshuman’s Laura in Ladakh*

Spadix: If interested in Laura TSI, a friend of mine is selling. Want details?>

Me: Guys, no sedan please. I firmly want a SUV.

Me: Roy, When can I get to see the vehicle?

Roy: I will call the owner and will revert. He is a defunct BHPian BTW.

Roy_Libran arranged a meeting and I, .Anshuman and nkapoor777 went to have a look at the car. It was already 6:30 PM and dark outside, not the best time for a test drive in Delhi.

The first look of the car and nkapoor777 exclaims, “it is looking Butch, man!”

I smiled for a moment.

The owner, BHPian rhandle, was busy on phone and we started looking at the car. I asked .Anshuman to have a look deeper than bare skin. He looked upon the condition of the shocks, fitment of bumper and snorkel, any visible damage to the underbody and exteriors of the car. Meanwhile, Roy shared his experience of this vehicle since he has had good opportunities to drive this truck on/off-road. Roy asks us to take it for a spin. I passed the key to .Anshuman since he would have been the best judge among us, being an ex-owner of Fortuner. He obliged and we took a short test drive. God, it was a work in itself to get into this beast. It stood so tall from the ground. .Anshuman confirmed the car drove like a dream and didn’t have any obvious maintenance related issues. He asked me to have a feel of the car from the driver seat. I came onto pilot seat and drove it for the first time. My first reaction was, what a light clutch! Roy tells me, it was replaced during last service only! I drove the car around for a km or two and came out all smiling. I already knew this was the best Fortuner I had seen/test drove since I started my research.

Meanwhile, rhandle got free from phone and asks me about the test drive. So, the conversation goes like this…

rhandle: How did you find the vehicle?

Me: Pretty good, however it was a really short drive. But for what its worth, I liked the vehicle drive-wise.

rhandle: Relax, this is not a formality. Take a proper test drive. Do you want to see what this machine is capable of?

Me: Looking at .Anshuman & nkapoor777, “What do you think, guys?”

A nod of yes comes in from all. rhandle smiled and said, “Hop in. We are going into Yamuna’s riverbed.”

Me: At this time! It is 9:30 PM already.

rhandle: Don’t worry. We will not be doing anything really stupid. We don’t have any backup 4x4 vehicle with us anyway.

So, we went into a 4x4 playground available to us at that particular moment and rhandle took the car around above a few uphills and downhills with 5 of us sitting inside. The ease with which Fortuner did all that impressed me to the core. Then came the real deal. rhandle looked upon an obstacle which was a good 35-40 feet steep incline at approx. 40 degrees angle and asked me if I wanted to see the car go on the top! He said, “This is one obstacle in our playground where a lot of Jeeps, Gypsy & Thars struggle. Reason: The sand underneath is too shallow and it is steeper towards the top. A split second break in momentum can fail you.”

Me: But Fortuner is really heavy. All those vehicles are light weight, even then they struggle?

rhandle: But you are missing a crucial thing. Fortuner has loads of grunt at its disposal. In right gear & in right hands, this vehicle will outdo any comparative off-roader.

Meanwhile, Roy walked the track and acted as spotter. With 4 of us in the car, belted down to our seats and relaxing in AC, rhandle turns the car around, put the car in low range, 3rd gear, built enough momentum and boom! We are on top of the hillock! All of us looking at each other in awe! Waited on the top for a minute and came down in 1st gear Low range without any inputs on ABC.

Afterwards, we chatted for a while and decided not to venture into anything stupid since it was already 10:30 PM and we didn’t have any support vehicle with us. I was impressed with vehicle, for sure. Once done with test-drive, we went to see fellow moderator tsk1979 since .Anshuman had some personal work. Upon hearing our adventure, tsk suggested a very well kept mint condition Grand Vitara 2.4 to me, which was in possession of a contact of fellow BHPian, Sudev. I knew Vitara 2.4 was very rare to find and Sudev would have been perfect guy to ask about Vitara since he is a chalti-firti Wikipedia on this vehicle. That night once we got home; I, .Anshuman and nkapoor777 sat down and discussed the available options to length. We all agreed rhandle’s Toyota was one of the top choices so far. However, nkapoor777 left Sudev’s phone number with me as well in case I was interested in Vitara and wanted to check it out. However, I had made my choice already in my mind.

It had to be the Fortuner!

Next morning, made a phone call to rhandle and told him I was interested in buying his Fortuner. We had a good chat and agreed upon a price (with final push on rhandle from Roy_Libran to make the deal sweeter for me , thanks a lot mate!). He was very open about his vehicle and specifically asked me to double-check the service history from Toyota. The final price we agreed upon was slightly above my pre-set budget, however I thought it was worth paying extra for what I was getting.

5 days later, on April 3, 2016, I made the payment and picked up my perfect SUV!

Ladies & Gentlemen, I present my pre-worshipped Toyota Fortuner in black! Named Atlantis!

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-974.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-975.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-976.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-977.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-986.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-984.jpg

That's my lovely mom doing the customary pooja at home!
Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-665.jpg

Last edited by Ace F355 : 22nd May 2016 at 16:56.
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Old 22nd May 2016, 16:26   #5
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Default re: Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT

I wanted to put down this review once I have some decent mileage on the odometer as my own. The odometer as of today stands at 145,8xx kms. It had 1384xx kms when I brought it home. Therefore, I have put down close to 7500 kms on the car so far and I can now talk about Atlantis more comprehensively. So fast has been the mile crunching with Atlantis that I have been on long drives into Himalayas in Himachal Pradesh, did dune bashing in Rajasthan and countless drives into our local countryside.

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-452.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-484.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-524.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-535.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-668.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-579.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-531.jpg

Driving this car has been a lovely experience so far. It is a looker, especially with all the modifications done to it. All the mods have been purposefully and tastefully done and complement the already imposing exteriors of a stock Fortuner. I have put black taping over all chrome parts of exterior since I don’t like chrome at all. It has made the car look like a Batmobile and all-black looks make everyone give the car a 2nd glance.

I have been contemplating get myself a set of dark grey OEM Toyota alloys which come on latest facelift Fortuners. Only issue is that I don’t find the design of these 12 spokes as nice as current 6 spoke ones. And I don’t want to paint my OEM alloys black since after-market paint remains susceptible to paint chipping during tire change and/or alignment balancing. Have done it on Civic and do not want to repeat the same mistake here. Will see how it goes.

Speaking of general build quality, it is very good and the truck feels built to last. Except for the seat channel rattles and a minor squeak in headunit’s fascia, there is not a single noise in the cabin. The cabin itself has been nicely insulated from outside world and hardly any noise seep in. The tire noise is audible though, and it is contributed to Maxxis MT tires I am currently running on. These are excellent mud-terrain tires and offer excellent grip during off-roading. However, on highways they tend to create a lot of humming noise which seeps into the cabin since the fender linings in front wheel arches have been cut down to accommodate Ironman front bumper. I plan to put OEM fender linings back in place and will see if that has any impact on humming noise.

Interiors of the car are laid out with all practicality. Although the plastics are hard, they also seem built and fitted to last. Overall, layout of the cabin is excellent and simplistic. However, I still fail to understand how Toyota has been overcharging for Fortuner all these years. I am sorry but these interiors feel very basic for a car which costs 32 Lakhs on road in Delhi as of today.

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-980.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-979.jpg


The OEM leather seats were worn out in Atlantis and were replaced by rhandle with brunt orange shade of leather by Ovion Upholstery! I love the color and it looks absolutely awesome. Fitting of the Ovion seats has been at par with OEM.

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-312.jpg

There is acres of space inside of the car and with upgraded suspension, the ride quality is all sorted out with all that bobbing and pitching well in control (however, you just have to bear in mind that this is a chassis based truck and some vertical movements while driving will always be there). There is plenty of leg room for all 3 rows of seats. 3rd row seats are one of the best on offer in this segment and front/back adjustable middle row helps with leg room in 3rd row. Plenty of headroom all around, however I would ask the passengers of front seat and corner seats on middle row to watch their heads while off-roading because of position of handle positioned near roof lining which may hit their head during bumpy ride.

The driving position is just perfect. It feels awesome to get that view of the road from pilot seat, you are towering above anything & everything on road! (Except for real trucks and buses! lol).

Ergonomics are all sorted in cabin, everything feels within reach and steering mounted controls of HU & MID are nice touch, to help you control these without taking your eyes off the road. MID supplies vital info i.e. DTE, Outside Temperature, real time FE etc. Although like mentioned in TBHP official review of Fortuner, the font is Casio style from 80’s and looking boring to say the least.

OVRMs and IVRM are of perfect size and coupled with excellent green house area all around offers very good visibility all around. There are hardly any blind spots in Fortuner (Civic used to have a big one around A piller due to its slanting position).

AC is a chiller and cools the large cabin quickly, although being a black exterior the car starts to feel like sitting inside a brick kiln when parked for even 5 minutes in this scorching Delhi heat of 45+ degrees Celsius. Rear AC vents help a lot to spread the cooling around in cabin.

I have put down all my In Car Entertainment taken off from my previous car and it is rocking the Fortuner now. Stock audio was decent, however I am much more comfortable with my ICE from my Civic. Atlantis came with a Blaupunkt New York Double Din HU mated with stock speakers when I took delivery. Rhandle was kind enough to hand me over the OEM HU of Toyota and OEM Suspension as well. Since I installed my own Pioneer 8490 BT to replace the Blaupunkt HU, I returned the Blau NY back to rhandle since it would have been lying around with me with no use and rhandle wanted to use to in her sister’s Brio. No big deal I said! With my own ICE in place, the music is pure bliss in Atlantis. I am yet the tune the system to utilize its full potential. Both Genesis amps have been fitted under front seats since there was no other place in Atlantis to put them in. My Rainbow Soundline components and co-axials have been placed in doors and Image Dynamics Max Subwoofer is placed behind 3rd row of seats.

Boot of Atlantis
Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-981.jpg

Rainbow speakers in stock speaker position
Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-983.jpg

The subwoofer is less than a cubic foot box and fits perfectly, also delivers real tight punch of low frequencies!
Talking about boot space, even with 3rd row seats in place, we have decent boot space to carry 3 small bags. XUV was bad in this case since it has no usable boot when all seats are in place. The subwoofer sits in the boost and can be taken out if required. There is an Ice Box of 25 litres capacity which I carry with me all the time. It helps with keeping the food & beverage cool while travelling long distance. Even then there are other small nick-nacks which are put in the boot (e.g. Jopasu Duster, Michelin Tire Air Compressor etc).

Coming to engine vingine points; City or Highway, Fortuner engine never feels out of its comfort zone and there is no Turbo Lag at all since the Turbo kicks in at 1400 RPM itself. You can start rolling from standstill without any accelerator input and there is plenty of torque at lower RPMs for city run-abouts.

The SUV’s size can be an issue for tightly packed places though.

Within city run, I find 3rd gear as perfect. The car behaves like an Automatic in 3rd gear, it can pull from as low as 25 kph and can go upto 80+ in this gear alone. On highways, the car relaxes and likes to cruise between 80-110 kph and still below 2500 RPMs.

It has enough grunt to reach its indicated top speed of 170 kph and it reaches there quite fast in pedal to the metal mode, however I find the brakes and balance of the vehicle not very confidence inspiring anything above 100 kph. I have taught myself to differentiate between a sleek Sedan like Civic which was like sitting right on the ground making it perfect for gunning straight, to a tall SUV like my Fortuner. In the end, you cannot defy Physics and anyone moving from sedans to a real SUV will have to change their driving style drastically, for their own safety! I did that in my first 500-600 kms of ownership.

The engine is refined unit considering this was supposed to run a workhorse diesel truck! It is a gem really.

The gear ratios are very well sorted and gear lever slots in precisely. However, I was kinda put off by long travel of gear lever initially (moving on from those slick sure-shot shifts of Civic was a hard I guess). I am used to it now though. Thanks to NilanjanRay for coining the terms small & big hand massagers! Both levers are exactly what Ray described in his Bison’s review, lol!

Suspension is a big thing to talk about in my Atlantis. Ironman is the best thing to happen in terms of mods here. It is just amazing how easy it makes you feel gunning over broken country roads. The 2” lift provides that extra space to accommodate the body in extreme off-road situations.

The difference in height between a Stock Fortuner and Atlantis.
Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-323.jpg

Does it makes any difference to handling, I don’t think so, after driving our stock Fortuner & Atlantis back to back. However, the superiority of Ironman suspension is easily visible over stock! On road behaviour of Atlantis is much improved over stock Fortuner, slight body roll is still there. Anyway, I can’t expect this tallboy to behave like it is glued to the road. Turning radius can be big issue for tighter places.

Steering is hydraulic and heavy as well. I personally love the feeling of heavy steering and the precise feedback it provides. Also, I felt the turning radius of our AT is noticeable smaller than my Atlantis. I checked with Toyota and they indeed confirmed that AT has a Turning radius of 5.6 meters Vs 5.9 meters in my car (or any 4x4 Fortuner for that matter). I felt the OEM steering was a bit too thin for my taste and since it was worn out at some places, I got it re-upholstered in Stanley genuine leather! Now the steering just feels perfect. Details of all this in post below.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/delhi-...ml#post3971774 (Car Upholstery - Raju & Rahul (Palika Bhawan, New Delhi))

Night drive experience is very good because of powerful headlamps. I have a set of Hella Ralley 3003 spot lights which are connected to fog light connections in Atlantis. They are excellent in their off-road application and I keep them covered up while on road since stock headlamps feel suffice to me there.

FE keeps me smiling all the time, I am getting 10.5/11.5 kpl.

My biggest complaint with Atlantis is poor brakes! There has been pathetic engineering from Toyota’s on braking part and rear drum brakes don’t help the matter much. The brake pedal has almost no feedback and it doesn’t inspire confidence at high speeds! I am an enthusiastic driver at times and I have been slowed down over past couple of weeks due to poor brakes on Fortuner. Our beloved late Guderian sir and fellow BHPian Karan561 have reported to have better brake feel after upgrading the brake booster, I am yet to take the call on this upgrade. However, in case I go with RD box for my Atlantis, upgrading the brakes would be my no. 1 priority.

Overall, Toyota has been decently responsive with my braking related complaints and they have tried brake line cleaning etc. to make me feel better with brakes. However, there is no replacement for poor engineering in the first place. Speaking of Toyota A.S.S., I have had 140k and 145k kms services done so far and I like Toyota’s approach for customer satisfaction. The maintenance costs have been lower than my expectations and even the usual high cost spares such as timing belts are decently priced. I am going to get timing belt replaced during next service at 150k kms and I am told it is going to cost me around INR 10000. Not bad, I say!

Toyota reliability is a stuff of legends. Their body on frame trucks are known to outlast their owners. For not even a single moment, the 140k+ kms on the odo have caused me to have any worry. It’s a strange feeling really, how you see a 6 digit figures on odo of a lot of Japanese vehicles and still can be sure of trouble free ownership! Japanese have learnt it well that reliability comes first and a car should be able to be used as a car when needed. Cutting edge technology comes second to them. And I agree with that thought process!

A couple of accessories I have added since Atlantis came to me are A118C Dashboard Camera, OEM Toyota auto folding/unfolding OVRMs, a pair of Hella Megasonic horns, a Michelin branded multi-purpose tool to be kept in glove box and Aluminium ABC pedal kit.

Off-Road Capabilities: Fortuner is equipped with full time 4wd system with a centrally lockable Limited Slip Diff. I am happy to report that Atlantis is more than capable of what we usually throw on it during our daily life drive, within city & in countryside. Current off-road mods on Atlantis actually make it a beast off-road when coupled with that torquey engine. I have been to an OTR with rhandle and Roy_Libran and came out even more impressed with Atlantis. The vehicle is super forgiving even under the hands of an off-road rookie like me. Steep inclines/declines are dismissed without any drama whatsoever, you just need to understand the gearing for building up that momentum. Maxxis BigHorns 764 tires my car is currently shodded with, offer excellent grip during off-road. Suspension supported with lift kit comes into its own character during off-road obstacles. I look forward to more OTRs and exploit the full capabilities of Atlantis in time to come. One potential mod which is likely to be happening to the car once I exploit its capabilities is lockable diffs for front and rear from South Africa. South African Fortuner came factory equipped with these and I am sure it would be a bolt-on mod for our Indian classic Fortuners. Although I am told that Fortuners are all sealed for water seeping in during river crossing or water filled obstacles, I may not be trying that, despite having a proper working snorkel. Reason is the underseat located amplifiers for my ICE. One mistake can cost me into 6 figures there. As much as I would love those water throwing shots for my Atlantis in the wild, No thank you, I 'd pass.

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-950.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-957.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-966.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-965.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-960.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-971.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-969.jpg

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-683.jpg

Last edited by Ace F355 : 22nd May 2016 at 17:00.
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Old 22nd May 2016, 16:46   #6
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Default A Lady’s Perspective

Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-may-22-9000.jpg

My girlfriend who shares my passion for cars, has driven Atlantis for a considerable kms during our long drives and is willing to share this feedback.

Quoting her below:

Quote:

Things that are great!
  • While our Fortuner feels extremely big from outside which made me feel nervous to drive it for the first time in India, I am in absolute awe of how easy to drive this SUV actually is. I have driven Dodge RAM 1500’s in the United States during my assignments there, however driving Fortuner in India is different story altogether.
  • The clutch is light, no need to rev it from standstill, it practically crawls itself as I release the clutch slowly.
  • The visibility all around is awesome and adds to easiness of driving this big mammoth.
  • Build Quality is really good. However, I think I may be saying this when comparing to my regular ride, a Hyundai i20 petrol.
  • Gearknob makes you feel like Sooraj – the Truck Driver! . But it falls in hand perfectly and gear shifting is easy task.
  • It is very easy to drive this Fortuner spiritedly and above 110 kph on highways. However, brakes can make your heart come in mouth at times! So best way to drive within limits and judge the stopping distance well in advance.
  • Horn is nice, even the real truckers on highways move out of your way when you honk, for barely a second or so! I may get this horn set on my i20 as well.
  • Nice and simple dashboard design. I like!
  • Really comfortable seats. And I love this brunt orange shade of leather.
  • Feels awesome to know how people are eyeballing you on the road. An off-road prepped Fortuner in all black color, driven by a girl. People make a sure-note of that.
  • I am not an off-roader by any means and anytime we take the car slightly off-road, natural instincts of not doing so become active, coming from a run-of-the-mill hatchback driver. However, some of the pics and videos I have seen of this car off-road, aspiring to try it out someday.

Things that I think are not so good.
  • The Brakes – I know this is a heavy car, but surely the brakes could have been better.
  • Those awful looking fake wood inserts with el-cheapo veneer! Can’t we change the veneer color, at least?
  • The AC is so chiller that everytime I keep AC vents towards my face, I start getting headache. This was never was the case in Civic. I either have to face the vents away from me or open window glasses a little bit. Initially I thought it might be something specific to me, however I don’t get the same symptoms in my car or at home/office sitting in front of AC. Something strange for sure.
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Old 22nd May 2016, 20:49   #7
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Default re: Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT

Thanks for sharing the ownership thread Ace! Moving the thread from Assembly line section.

1.4 Lakhs kms is not a high mileage figure for Fortuner, and not at all for this car which you have bought, maintained by an enthusiast, with a common friend to vouch for the same and a perfect service record.

Having driven this Fortuner I can vouch for the Ironman suspension, even with the 2 inch lift I did not see any stability or handling concerns, the ride has improved on the bad roads where it soaks bad bumps better, but overall the ride is still not as perfect as the Monocoques. And off the road, it gives extra clearance, articulation and much superior damping compared to stock suspension.

The only big concern I have with this vehicle are the off road biased M/T tires, they make a lot of noise and compromise grip levels but I am happy Ace has already started planning the change to A/T tires.

I dream to build such a truck, possibly next year when my XUV will be 6 years old and ready to retire. I am not sure if will be Endeavour, Fortuner or Isuzu V Cross, only thing I am sure of is- it will get the full Ironman kit.

Last edited by .anshuman : 24th May 2016 at 12:58. Reason: typo
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Old 22nd May 2016, 21:07   #8
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I'm glad you stuck to this one amongst the many vehicles you checked out. Some of us, yours truly included, probably didn't make it any easier with our numerous suggestions. ;-)

You have chronicled the journey so meticulously that there's not much to add. Once you switch to AT rubber, that should sort out some of your gripes with the Atlantis in its current form. Wish you happy mile crunching on the Atlantis!
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Old 22nd May 2016, 21:49   #9
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Rohit - Congratulations!

I'm glad on two counts:
1. I was able to help out 2 friends in one go
2. I will continue to have some access to this stunning truck

By the way, Rhandle (Rahul) was quite emotional on the way back, from that quick off road outing this Saturday.
He was telling me that he was missing this truck unlike any of his, close to 20, other vehicles that he has bought in the last 10-12 years.
That's the sort of attachment that a vehicle of this capability level can bring.

Enjoy the truck, and stay safe.
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Old 22nd May 2016, 22:47   #10
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Default re: Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT

Ha ha ha. Awesome thread Ace.
Very detailed and engaging.

Thanks to nearly 10K messages on the whatsapp group, we all felt equally part of the buying process.

The only thing left is a ride on the beast.
I show your car's pictures to friends and they watch with open mouth.

Wish you many happy miles with Atlantis.


Rachit
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Old 23rd May 2016, 01:47   #11
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Default re: Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT

Nice write up Ace. Atlantis looks menacing. Correct me if I am wrong but were you at Heera Motors, Gurgaon by any chance this Friday ?
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Old 23rd May 2016, 05:42   #12
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Default re: Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT

Quote:
Originally Posted by .anshuman View Post
Thanks for sharing the ownership thread Ace! Moving the thread from Assembly line section.
Thanks .Anshuman.

Quote:
Originally Posted by .anshuman View Post
1.4 Lakhs kms is not a high mileage figure for Fortuner, and not at all for this car which you have bought, maintained by an enthusiast, with common a friend to vouch for the same and a perfect service record.
After owning this truck for 50 days now, I agree wholeheartedly with you. It is indeed amazing how the odometer reading feels like just a number here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by .anshuman View Post
Having driven this Fortuner I can vouch for the Ironman suspension, even with the 2 inch lift I did not see any stability or handling concerns, the ride has improved on the bad roads where it soaks bad bumps better, but overall the ride is still not as perfect as the Monocoques. And off the road, it gives extra clearance, articulation and much superior damping compared to stock suspension.

The only big concern I have with this vehicle are the off road biased M/T tires, they make a lot of noise and compromise grip levels but I am happy Ace has already started planning the change to A/T tires.
While there is a big improvement on-road behavior as well, it is in country roads and off-road situations where the Ironman suspension setup really shines!!! More so often, I did't feel there was a lot of difference, however drive a stock Fortuner and mine back to back and the difference is night and day. There is plenty of thread left in these Maxxis and I would probably put 10k kms on them before I switch to A/T rubber. BTW, I looked upon Michelin Latitude Cross, Yoko Geolander ATR and Continental Cross-Contacts for my upgrade. Have to say I was mighty impressed with Conti's looks!

BHPian Karan561 has them on his Fortuner and it will be a tough call for me too, to choose between Michelin & Conti's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by .anshuman View Post
I dream to build such a truck, possibly next year when my XUV will be 6 years old and ready to retire. I am not sure if will be Endeavour, Fortuner or Isuzu V Cross, only thing I am sure of is- it will get the full Ironman kit.
Amen to that!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nkapoor777 View Post
I'm glad you stuck to this one amongst the many vehicles you checked out. Some of us, yours truly included, probably didn't make it any easier with our numerous suggestions. ;-)

You have chronicled the journey so meticulously that there's not much to add. Once you switch to AT rubber, that should sort out some of your gripes with the Atlantis in its current form. Wish you happy mile crunching on the Atlantis!
Thank you for your wishes, Kapoor Saab! We had a lot of fun on WhatsApp while picking up the right vehicle for me, didn't we!

Looking forward to a more silent and comfy ride once I make the switch to ATs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roy_libran View Post
Rohit - Congratulations!

I'm glad on two counts:
1. I was able to help out 2 friends in one go
2. I will continue to have some access to this stunning truck

By the way, Rhandle (Rahul) was quite emotional on the way back, from that quick off road outing this Saturday.
He was telling me that he was missing this truck unlike any of his, close to 20, other vehicles that he has bought in the last 10-12 years.
That's the sort of attachment that a vehicle of this capability level can bring.

Enjoy the truck, and stay safe.
Agree and I can't thank you enough for helping me out, Roy!

rhandle mentions this everytime we have a talk on phone and I can completely understand his feelings. It is absolutely normal to get attached to a vehicle which has taken you cross-country without breaking a sweat.

This is what he said to me last time when I told him I have put down more than 6k kms on Fortuner, "Aur Jab Se tu ye leke gaya hai, maine meri Merc 5000 kms pel di!" (Since you have taken the Fortuner from me, I have put on more than 5000 kms on my Merc!)! He sounded so alarmed by saying that his E250's Odo has been climbing at this rate! lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachit.K.Dogra View Post
Ha ha ha. Awesome thread Ace.
Very detailed and engaging.

Thanks to nearly 10K messages on the whatsapp group, we all felt equally part of the buying process.

The only thing left is a ride on the beast.
I show your car's pictures to friends and they watch with open mouth.

Wish you many happy miles with Atlantis.

Rachit
Thank you Rachit and anytime. Let's make a plan for a TBHP Meat once this Delhi heat dissipates and you can check out and drive the Atlantis then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RocketRaccoon View Post
Nice write up Ace. Atlantis looks menacing. Correct me if I am wrong but were you at Heera Motors, Gurgaon by any chance this Friday ?
Thanks RocketRaccoon! Yep it was me. I was going to Singh Chicken Corner for lunch and stopped for a minute at Heera to take care of a couple of minor scratches on front side! Just a minor buffing & polishing!
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Old 23rd May 2016, 06:59   #13
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Default re: Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT

Congratulations Rohit! Wishing you several thousand miles of happy ownership in the ever-lasting Toyota!

Moving on from a Civic to a Fortuner is like chalk and cheese, quite literally. Enjoy the new-found freedom to explore places that you wouldn't have dared in your darling Civic.
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Old 23rd May 2016, 08:19   #14
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Congratulations on your new ride. Your Fortuner has my dream setup of a bull bar and lift kit.
Out of India the Fortuner is used mostly for its off-road capability but sadly in India many buy it just for the looks.
Hats off the previous owner for the wonderful setup.
The only thing I don't like about the ARB bullbar is the fact that it's chin protrudes a lot and doesn't gel with the bumper. That's why I like the Viper bumper made for the South American Fortuner.
Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-imageuploadedbyteambhp1463971668.001279.jpgTrucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-imageuploadedbyteambhp1463971690.131260.jpg
Source:Instagram

Someday I hope to own a Fortuner on the lines of the below pic:
Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT - 160,000 km crunched-imageuploadedbyteambhp1463971777.071458.jpg
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Old 23rd May 2016, 09:08   #15
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Default re: Trucking in my Atlantis! My Pre-Worshipped Toyota Fortuner 3.0L 4x4 MT

Loved your thread as well as the Fortuner. I have been up, close and personal with this when it was bone stock and despite bringing Rahul here, he was still all praise for his Gurkha Wish he spends some more time here and here [both]

Go and explore, this is what is meant for, off-roading will be a part of exploration which this will handle with ease. Must say, in stock form too, the Fortuner is quite competent to do most of the exploration part, this is a bonus.

+1 dean5545, loved the bumpers on the Fortuners and the new one doesn't look that soft with these bumpers and other off-road mods.
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