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Old 2nd March 2011, 15:12   #1
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Default Fleet Admiral Togo Heihachiro - Toyota Fortuner. Life Sails On...

This thread seeks to capture my adventures with a Toyota Fortuner......christened Fleet Admiral Togo Heihachiro.

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You may refer to him as Fleet Admiral Togo/ Admiral Togo/ Admiral.
Read more about the Fleet Admiral here:

T

But wait, that's jumping the gun ! First things first.

The story of my previous ride Guderian and his departure from my life is captured here:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/long-t...-pg-6-a-6.html (Guderian...A Scorpio CRDe. EDIT : Updated to 100,000 kms. Full costing on pg 6)

But wait, even that is jumping the gun, why even the cannon !

Fine, so let me take you through the process of joys and sorrows step by step !

Act I
Scene I

Almost 2 years ago the itch began for a change. Not that anything was seriously wrong with my previous ride a Scorpio CRDe of circa September 2005 named Guderian. About 3 months ago the itch became a roaring problem of eczema ! And the hunt began. And ended before it began. And began again before it ended.
The suspects identified were - Skoda Yeti (1st Choice.....well almost) & T Fort.
Act I
Scene II
Period: Dec 25, 2010 - Jan 7, 2011.

So close Yeti so Far........or Fortune(r) Favours the Brave !

And that about sums up my experience with the Yeti & the Fortuner over two weekends and beyond. I guess everyone and the lamp post have written about the vehicles so won't go into the details of that, except in brief.

Dec 25,2010.

- Had two fairly long runs on the Yeti. A gem of a vehicle to drive for an owner driver. Has truly all the bells and whistles of a 35 Lakh European vehicle.Everything from parking sensors - front and back, hill assist, off road assist, MID and quality inside the vehicle is superb ! And more fantastic is the FE returns of 16-18 KMPL in city and upto 21/22 KMPL on the highway.Compact size - would be a breeze in the city. The whole package overall was brilliant. The cost in Thane - Rs. 19.56 L all inclusive including their package of drive assure etc.
Almost made up my mind to plonk down the money on Jan 2, 2011 - when a few factors did hit me hard:

1. The sales experience was mighty lousy. Pits absolute pits. After the first test drive the next test drive was made to look like a mighty favour and nothing was ready at the showroom. And no passion for selling or the vehicle. Scorpio sales experience suddenly felt like you had ordered a gold plated Hummer ! That Sunday walked out of the showroom in a huff. And till date there has been no follow up from the sales guy no nothing - though he knew if all had gone off well I'd probably have closed the deal on Sunday itself. As if they couldn't care less ! Set me thinking.......

2. The space within the Yeti - after the Scorp it was like moving from a 3 BHK in Mumbai to a 1 BHK. There was no way I could have managed a 2 week chukker in it even if I would drive in one and carry an additional undergarment.....only.

Meaning it would accomodate only a medium sized suitcase in the boot and with the Varioflex seating an additional piece. Nothing more ! And the offspring who now has assumed a size of gargantuan proportions would have to literally be double straight jacketed tight for space. Nothing, I thought, really beats the Scorp in travelling space.

3. The terrible news is about the after sales service. I spoke to multiple people - current owners of Skoda wheels & ex owners of Skoda chariots. Just couple of them were happy the rest including an ex- owner and TBHPian who has dragged Skoda to court termed Skoda as .....well.....Abominable ! Horror story after story tumbled out.

Poor *** skills, skullduggery, daylight robberies, parts thefts and of blackguards lurking near dark alleys etc. Besides an honest opinion that the Skoda ASSs would just not be able to manage the technical wizardy of the Yeti.They would only bugger up a beautiful machine.

The stories of the same in the T-BHP is what got me talking to as many folks as possible, including a friend in VW ! The amount of talking and new friends I made that week on this account was great and the experience delightful. That firmly shut the door on Yeti ! I sobbed when I came to the decision !

Scene III

That Sunday, after I walked out of the Skoda dealer in a huff - drove straight down to Toyota dealer in Thane. A black resplendent Fortuner was right there for delivery. Examined it carefully from the outside. Despite my entreaties they refused to show me the insides by taking the key from the security stating that it was a customer's delivery piece. Far from being offended it impressed me and the missus no end. And then they tell me bookings were not open ! And that it might be that in Jan they might, may be, you know..... etc. Not an issue as anyway I never did think I would look at it seriously.

And opening the Monday newspaper - I almost fell out of my chair. I barely managed to croak out to the Lady of the House - "Those chaps.....those chaps......". LoH panicked and set her cup of tea hard on the coffee table (now why should she bang down tea on a coffee table I ask you !) and asked me whether I was.....when the rest of the sentence tumbled out of me in a whisper......"The bookings are open.....from today.......". LoH who knew I disliked the current genre of Holly movies and that would prefer only watching TCM channel etc was by now truly alarmed when the final words were mumbled....." the Fortuner bookings.......". The penny dropped for the missus and she was not interested in the conversation any more as she knew for sure that that beast was a bridge too far for a conservative, middle class bloke like me.

Things moved fast that Monday - by 11.00 am got a call from Toyota dealer and was put across to the Manager Corp Sales. And suddenly the game changed ! He was truly a game changer. From the usual blokes in car sales - suddenly here was a different experience ! Flawless English, very urbane approach, knew everything inside out about 4X4s and his products and most importantly laughed at my jokes !

Test drive organised on Jan 6.. Bang on time. Picked up by the Manager. When I saw him I almost wilted - he......he...... he was in a suit and that too a proper corporate suit - not the Borat type we often see on hapless sales types ! The LoH and I went on a long drive on the highway with me at thewheel........whatta beast ! Came back with stars in my eyes. Had a 45 minute test drive. Amazing feel.Even now was sure that due to parking size issue I would not go for it. Came back to the colony and had him to park in my stamp sized garage. Lo and behold - it fitted in with a bit of a trick ! Glory be !

And the GC was rather patient with all my requests.Came home and concluded the deal. No discounts, no nothing. Only the promise of a good, honest to goodness vehicle on time ! Had asked for bare minimumaccessories.

So there you have it folks - had booked a Fortuner , a Silver Mica as my next ride. The expected date of delivery was March end 2011.

Now began for the mad scramble for finance.

Asked good people around to donate generously for a good cause ! They said tyhat they weren't good anymore.
With that began the sleepless nights, butterflies in the stomach, waking up feverishly in the middle of the night wondering as to how to raise the money.......Cognitive dissonance - here I come/came !
But then as they say - Fortuner favours the brave !

(End of Act I)

........to be continued.

Last edited by GTO : 4th March 2011 at 15:11. Reason: Adding spaces and paragraphs. Helps other users :)
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Old 2nd March 2011, 15:40   #2
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Default re: Fleet Admiral Togo Heihachiro - Toyota Fortuner. A Month of Ownership & New Snaps!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Guderian View Post


But wait, that's jumping the gun ! First things first.


But wait, even that is jumping the gun, why even the cannon !

About 3 months ago the itch became a roaring problem of eczema !
And the hunt began. And ended before it began. And began again before it ended.
Flawless English, very urbane approach, knew everything inside out about 4X4s and his products and most importantly laughed at my jokes !
Test drive organised on Jan 6.. Bang on time. Picked up by the Manager. When I saw him I almost wilted - he......he...... he was in a suit and that too a proper corporate suit - not the Borat type we often see on hapless sales types !
Asked good people around to donate generously for a good cause ! They said tyhat they weren't good anymore.
With that began the sleepless nights, butterflies in the stomach, waking up feverishly in the middle of the night wondering as to how to raise the money.......Cognitive dissonance - here I come/came !
But then as they say - Fortuner favours the brave !

(End of Act I)

........to be continued.
I am rolling on the floor after reading your initial report. Your sense of humour rocks. You considered writing as a profession anytime?

And by the way Congrats. Would be waiting for further updates.
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Old 2nd March 2011, 17:43   #3
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Default re: Fleet Admiral Togo Heihachiro - Toyota Fortuner. A Month of Ownership & New Snaps!

Quote:
Originally Posted by amitwlele View Post
I am rolling on the floor after reading your initial report. Your sense of humour rocks. You considered writing as a profession anytime?

And by the way Congrats. Would be waiting for further updates.
Hi Amit - Thanks. The last time I thought of taking up creative writing as a profession was when I was furiously writing my graduation exams. Unfortunately I was in the science stream and you can well imagine the disaster. It required no imagination on part of the evaluator to decide on the marks and grades !
Shall post updates and progress duly.
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Old 2nd March 2011, 17:54   #4
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Default re: Fleet Admiral Togo Heihachiro - Toyota Fortuner. A Month of Ownership & New Snaps!

The name of your Beast suggests that either you are a man of the seas or share a keen interest in naval history! What's the story on that one?

Whats written so far does more than bring a smile on my lips! Good job and waiting for the next edition.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 07:42   #5
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Default re: Fleet Admiral Togo Heihachiro - Toyota Fortuner. A Month of Ownership & New Snaps!

@Guderian:

Congratulations !

Great minds think alike. :-) I am waiting for my Scorpio to roll 100K on the odo and off to Toyota showroom for me...
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Old 3rd March 2011, 10:52   #6
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Default re: Fleet Admiral Togo Heihachiro - Toyota Fortuner. A Month of Ownership & New Snaps!

Quote:
Originally Posted by neel385 View Post
The name of your Beast suggests that either you are a man of the seas or share a keen interest in naval history! What's the story on that one?

Whats written so far does more than bring a smile on my lips! Good job and waiting for the next edition.
Hi Neel, The story on the name is - am a keen history buff with deep rooted connections with the armed forces. Take keen ineterest in military history, equipment etc. My previous ride a Scorpio was named after Generaloberst Heinz Wilhelm Guderian !
Thanks for the observations will continue with the thread duly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4x4addict View Post
@Guderian:

Congratulations !

Great minds think alike. :-) I am waiting for my Scorpio to roll 100K on the odo and off to Toyota showroom for me...
Thanks 4X4addict. Have been seeing your posts here for some time and good to connect up. I think you had passed up a chance to own the Force Gurkha, right ?
Well......great minds......or Fools seldom differ !
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Old 3rd March 2011, 11:10   #7
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Default re: Fleet Admiral Togo Heihachiro - Toyota Fortuner. A Month of Ownership & New Snaps!

Superb writeup Guderian!
Waiting for Act II!
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Old 3rd March 2011, 11:53   #8
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Default re: Fleet Admiral Togo Heihachiro - Toyota Fortuner. A Month of Ownership & New Snaps!

Haha! Vintage HG!

Many congratulations and wish you a million miles of safe & happy driving in the Admiral!

Eagerly looking forward to more updates on this thread.

Cheers,
Vikram

P.S: Please to be noting that just 'cause you've sold Guderian doesn't mean you are exempt from being bombarded with questions [related to the Scorpio] from newbie Scorpio owners like me :-D

Last edited by comfortablynumb : 3rd March 2011 at 11:55.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 12:04   #9
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Default re: Fleet Admiral Togo Heihachiro - Toyota Fortuner. A Month of Ownership & New Snaps!

Wonderful choice, Guderian! IMO, the Fortuner is only a natural upgrade from the Scorpio.

Between, werent you interested in waiting till the Mahindra W210 came out before deciding? For all you know, it may even have been easier on your budget, although its too early to conclude.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 12:14   #10
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Default re: Fleet Admiral Togo Heihachiro - Toyota Fortuner. A Month of Ownership & New Snaps!

Finally, your report has started. Please update it as regularly as Guderian's report elsewhere.

OT: Had your Skoda sales experience been pleasant and the ASC reports assuring, would you have gone for the Yeti since you were pretty impressed by it?
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Old 3rd March 2011, 13:55   #11
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Default re: Fleet Admiral Togo Heihachiro - Toyota Fortuner. A Month of Ownership & New Snaps!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sajo View Post
Superb writeup Guderian!
Waiting for Act II!
Thanks Sajo !

Quote:
Originally Posted by comfortablynumb View Post
Haha! Vintage HG!

Many congratulations and wish you a million miles of safe & happy driving in the Admiral!

Eagerly looking forward to more updates on this thread.

Cheers,
Vikram

P.S: Please to be noting that just 'cause you've sold Guderian doesn't mean you are exempt from being bombarded with questions [related to the Scorpio] from newbie Scorpio owners like me :-D
Hi Vikram, Thanks ! Good to see you here and do feel free to ask me any question about the Scorpio. Well, you can take my Scorpio away but you can't take me away from Scorpio. Love that piece of metal to death !

Quote:
Originally Posted by benbsb29 View Post
Wonderful choice, Guderian! IMO, the Fortuner is only a natural upgrade from the Scorpio.

Between, werent you interested in waiting till the Mahindra W210 came out before deciding? For all you know, it may even have been easier on your budget, although its too early to conclude.
Hi Ben - Thanks. Believe me when I tell you that I did my darnest to wait ofr the W201. However right from 2009 the launch kept getting extended, despite assurances from friends in M&M about the 'today' 'tomorrow' of the launch. Even to this day not very sure as to when it would finally come out. Even if it did then I would have waited for 6 months for the product to settle down and expect some retrofits from M&M before plonking my pretty penny on it ! It proved to be a bridge too far for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post
Finally, your report has started. Please update it as regularly as Guderian's report elsewhere.

OT: Had your Skoda sales experience been pleasant and the ASC reports assuring, would you have gone for the Yeti since you were pretty impressed by it?
Hi Dev - Yes, most likely. Would have somehow managed to get over the space issue. The vehicle has been rated very high in Europe including by the BBC, read Jeremy Clarkson, and has a large number of features and toys - would have kept me busy for months just understanding it ! And would have been such a breeze to drive in the city i thought. And to my eye - cute as a button. But then the LoH didn't like it much and preferred the T Fort. But yes I would have tried and convinced her about the Yeti. But the overall experience was rather abominable and so came Admiral Togo on the scene.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 14:13   #12
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Default re: Fleet Admiral Togo Heihachiro - Toyota Fortuner. A Month of Ownership & New Snaps!

So the workshop manual and all was not enough to convince you!! nonetheless keep updating the T-Fort thread, its complete contrast with Yeti, too huge and go anywhere, people do make way for T-Fort on road!

-Pramod
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Old 3rd March 2011, 17:42   #13
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Default re: Fleet Admiral Togo Heihachiro - Toyota Fortuner. A Month of Ownership & New Snaps!

Act II
Scene - I

The first few days after the booking were sheer joy. Joy of having taken the decision, of receiving congratulations on breaking the news to friends etc. ("He must be involved in the 2G/CWG/Adarsh scams ! Otherwise him ? A Fortuner ?")
And then came the cold realisation that the booking amount of Rs 1 Lakh was just the tip of the iceberg !
And then began the mad scramble for the finance. But then there was a comfortable feeling that the due date of 'delivery' was only by March end so what the devil - 'Dilli door hai' feeling. And also the assurance from the dealer that in case I'd change change my mind there would be no cancellation charges !
Grew very fond of and close to my Father - in - Law. And when I popped him the question of dowry which I hadn't collected, or refused to even think of, about 20 years ago. His loconic response was that the marriage had crossed the warranty period and so it would all be covered under paid service !
(Disclaimer - The sentence/para above is not to promote the social evil or hurt the feelings of any group or sex and if inadvertently has hurt any sentiments - apologies in advance. It is only a true reproduction of a conversation between a Son-in-Law in dire straights and a Father-in-Law who doesn't understand the meaning of dire straights and doesn't like the music group either - used to play, very loudly 'Money for nothing' at my wife's place in the early days......much to his chagrin !)
Anyway days went by and slowly the war chest was built up paise by paise. And with every paise collected the vision/image of the T - Fort got clearer and clearer.
Some of the butterfiles in the stomach were quelled by talking/PMinng a few owners of T Fort, notably one of the Mods here on TBHP. Thank you Anshuman !

Scene II

March still seemed to be far away in Feb, when suddenly in the middle of Feb I get a call from my FNSM (Friendly Neighbourhood Sales Manager) that a few TFs were expected soon and that I could get an earlier than expected allotment. Mind went into a tizzy. War plans were drawn up to dispose the then current ride - Scorpio.
And then I receive a call from FNSM stating that a TF which was orginally alloted to someone was not picked up by him and that I was being allotted the same. After some Q's I refused that piece and mentioned to him that I would prefer waiting for a fresh Feb piece. Though not very happy he kept mum.
And then the phone rang on Feb 18 giving me the information about a new set landing the next week etc. Was gently told about the possibility of Pranabda's budget increase of excise duties impacting the price !
Money was paid up through a cheque on Feb 21 - a chappie came home with all documents.
Was informed on Feb 22 that the new lot had landed at Thane. Decided to visit the yard and see the piece being now allotted to me before it's registration.
Fixed the yard visit for Wednesday Feb 23. Took a day off from work landed up at the dealers place, picked up the FNSM and drove off to the yard.
As I entered saw quite a few T Forts around. So if it was in great demand why are they lying around here ? Was explained about few allottees and DSAs not collecting after paying the amount etc.
There were quite a few TFs lying around.Which got me a little cautious.

When shown the one which was being allotted - was shown a silver mica which appeared to have been lying around for some time. And sure enough the date on the plate revealed that it was a Jan '11 piece. Refused the same and did a war dance.

Looked around and then spotted a few Feb TFs.

And then deep dove into this chap who ultimately became today Fleet Admiral Togo !
When I insisted that I would want only this piece the FNSM was non comittal and we drove back to the dealers.

Scene III
At the dealers I met the Bada FNSM, before whom I again performed the war dance and threatened to cancel the order. He mumbled and muttered something about Toyota's processes of first in and first out and that there would be Toyota audits which will see the dealership loose points etc. All I did was to ask him as to why, if there was a Jan piece was I not given the same in Jan ? If I was in que ? No real answer to that and the war dance continued, by now my legs and lungs were aching when suddenly the BFNSM agreed and things went back to being hunky dory and treacly sweet.

The date of delivery was agreed upon as Feb 27.

Name was selected. Quite a few Japanese words were thrown up. I decided to continue with my old practice of naming my rides after eminent warriors.

(End of Act II)

ACT III
Scene I

Feb 26 - The Scorpio was decommissioned.

My stilt parking is approximately stamp sized ! The Scorpio barely managed to fit in. The T Fort would be a disaster.
As a brilliant idea from the LoH, I cladded the rear wall of the parking bay with thick rubber pads. Fixed them with long screws. Till now I had only seen cladding on SUVs. Now saw it on parking bay walls as well. Hah !
Couldn't sleep the whole night. Saddness of the decommissioning and exhilaration of the next day ensured I tossed and turned the whole of the night intervening night of Feb 26-27.

Scene II

Feb 27, 2011. Deliverance !

After what seemed like a long, long night made unbearable by sleeplessness the day dawned bright and fresh. No usual prodding was required by the LoH to get out of the bed. Made sure I got up from the right side !

Morning never looked so good, ever !

Was to be going alone. LoH had her weekend Yoga classes (ladies don't just tie up others in knots but do it to themselves as well, I realised then) and the offspring had his exams on and was involved as usual in some last minute cramming.(Nothing has changed in our education system I thought - though I never let schooling interfere with my education !)

Picked up an auto and zoomed to the dealer on empty roads on a Sunday morning.
Was quite sure there would be no one there. At around 9.00 am on a Sunday morning.
Got down from the auto and the watchman eyed me suspiciously and asked my purpose when I mentioned to him that I was looking around for a job and that FNSM had called me for an interview. (You should have seen the guy's look when, approximately 105 minutes, later I drove out with the Admiral !)

Any walked a few steps inside and this is the sight that greeted me:
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What a sight !


And wonder of wonders - the FNSM was already there with all the paper work completed. Went around examining every little detail, understanding the operations etc etc.
A chotta pooja done by the FNSM's assistant.
Drove out in approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes by 10.45 am. As mentioned earlier, the watchman almost fainted on my way out.

Scene III

Fleet Admiral Togo Heihachiro Comes Home !

Drove straight home.

On the way I stopped to fill up the Admiral. If I spent a fortune in buying the Fortuner, I spent another fortune in filling it up ! 74 litres !

On reaching home the trick was to park it neatly without damaging the rear bumper by ramming the wall. And did it with little effort.
Look at the way the Admiral is hanging on to his dear life :
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The LoH had by then untied herself from the Yoga classes. Both of drove to a couple of temples for the poojas. At every temple prayed fervently for divine help to keep the Admiral and his passengers in fine fettle throughout his life !

And in the afternoon the offspring realised that he was fighting a loosing battle trying to prepare for his physics exam, gave up the effort and decided that a ride in the Admiral was a much better way to while away his time. A good spin on the nearby Ghodbunder Road, the drive up a hillock to a Shiva temple and to a nearby lake helped the T Fort to stretch its legs.

In his elements:
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At the lake:
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Growling at a Captiva across the road:
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Oh Go Away ! Buses don't scare me no more !
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A Massive 3.0 L Heart.
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The ABS Box.....don't (s)Kid me !
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The Brains......ECU.
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The Humungous Lungs:
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Back home. And read the owner's and service manual end to end.
End of a rather exhilarating day !

My impressions of the Admiral.

1. Looks, looks and looks. PYTs on the road now give me a second look via the Admiral.
2. Engine is a torquey piece of engineering but rather noisy. Almost like a farm equipment. A trademark of Toyota diesels ? Sounds from the outside like a battle tank.
3. Everything else is simply Toyota. Excellent fit and finish. Everything works and is of good quality.
4. Plastics are decent.
5. Paint and metal work super.
6. Delighted with the ergonomics and layout, though the space is a little short.
7. Sure everyone and his uncle cribbed about the Innova parts. I am OK with that because I don't know what a Innova is like - all I can say check out what you want as per your needs and get it with your eyes wide open.
8. Parts the traffic. Moses !
9. Drive quality to me appears to be good.
10. I find the seat height lower than the Scorp's. Prefer the Scorp's view of the world outside.

Scene IV
Have as of date driven about 400 KMs. The FE on the MID today touched 11 KMPL in the city ! I am delighted.
I had an apprehension that it would be a nightmare to drive in the city. Surprisingly I am finding it OK. Possibly because it is slimmer than the Scorpio.
Ride quality is very firm compared to the Scorp.
My daily run is from Thane to the office via the Eastern Expressway. It helps the FE. As does my timings. Fairly early in the morning and decent timing in the evening - though my boss believes I should be in office at least 24 hours a day !
Will be getting back to the dealer for the first service on Saturday (though it is at 1K KMs - doing it in advance as I have a long, long driving vacation next week ! Desparately looking forward to that !).
A couple of issues need to be attended to - a squeaky brake pedal & a vague sound of a rattle from somewhere under the chasis when it goes over a sustained rough patch.
A fantastic behemoth overall !

So there you have it folks, my first impressions.

Q's welcome.

Will keep adding my experiences here as they occur !


End of ACT III.

To be continued........*

(*Terms and conditions apply!)

Last edited by Guderian : 3rd March 2011 at 17:54.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 17:56   #14
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Default re: Fleet Admiral Togo Heihachiro - Toyota Fortuner. A Month of Ownership & New Snaps!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pramods View Post
So the workshop manual and all was not enough to convince you!! nonetheless keep updating the T-Fort thread, its complete contrast with Yeti, too huge and go anywhere, people do make way for T-Fort on road!

-Pramod
Hey Pramod ! Nice to hear from you. Thanks for all the help during those dark days of indecision !
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Old 3rd March 2011, 18:15   #15
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Addendum to ACT II
Scene II

Here are a few snaps from the yard. Somehow these vanished from the earlier post !


As I entered saw quite a few T Forts around.
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There were quite a few TFs lying around.Which got me a little cautious.
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Looked around and then spotted a few Feb TFs.
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And then deep dove into this chap who ultimately became today Fleet Admiral Togo !
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Last edited by Guderian : 3rd March 2011 at 18:18.
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