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Old 22nd December 2011, 19:24   #1
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Default Review: 2011 Toyota Fortuner 4x2 (MT & AT)

The 2012 Toyota Fortuner has been launched in India at a price of between 19.99 - 20.99 lakhs (ex-Delhi).

What you'll like:

• New Landcruiser-esque face looks stunning
• Bulletproof reliability & durability. Built for abuse
• Excellent diesel engine. 169 BHP / 343 NM of torque
• Good spread of variants. AT is effortless to drive. 4x2 is relevant to the market
• Several new features have been added to the 2012 model
• Toyota's excellent after-sales service experience

What you won't:

• Merely a 4-speed Automatic. No tiptronic function either
• Unsettled ride quality. Firm suspension is too bumpy at city speeds
• Utilitarian rather than luxurious. Interiors are strikingly similar to the Innova
• Still no rear disc brakes! A missed opportunity on the facelift

NOTE: Click any picture to open a larger higher-resolution version in a new window

Last edited by GTO : 10th February 2015 at 17:38.
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Old 22nd December 2011, 19:24   #2
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Default re: Review: 2011 Toyota Fortuner 4x2 (MT & AT)

Since the Toyota Fortuner has already been reviewed by Team-BHP, this report will only focus on the changes to the 2012 line-up. For easy reference, here are direct links to the complete Toyota Fortuner road-test:

4x4 MT

4x4 AT

Last edited by GTO : 10th February 2015 at 17:36.
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Old 22nd December 2011, 19:24   #3
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Default re: Review: 2011 Toyota Fortuner 4x2 (MT & AT)

In the 2+ years since the Fortuner was launched, it has gone on to become a game-changer in the 20 lakh rupee segment (Link to related discussion). Even today, the Fortuner remains the best-selling 2 million rupee automobile in India, selling an average of ~900 units a month. That's more than all the other 20 lakh rupee SUVs combined.

Intensified competition and the Thai-spec Fortuner receiving a facelift in July 2011 made upgrades to the Indian Fortuner inevitable. Plus, customers spending over 15 lakh rupees increasingly prefer Automatic transmissions; fact is, you cannot even buy some high-end European cars with a manual gearbox. The AT option will greatly widen the appeal of the Fortuner. Toyota brings in some design enhancements & a slew of new features to spice things up. Still, the interiors & the overall nature of this SUV remain utilitarian. Toyota upgraded the front disc brakes in 2010. While the braking capability has improved from the time of our original test, they aren't confidence-reassuring yet. I wish Toyota had used the facelift model as an opportunity to offer rear disc brakes. Also, this would have been a great time to soften the suspension, or tune it better. The ride remains unsettled and does get bumpy on our typically Indian roads.

The 2012 Toyota Fortuner is scheduled for launch at the Auto Expo next month and will be offered in three variants. Two new colours - a neat dark blue & a different shade of gold - have been added to the list. Notice that the 4x2 AT is a mere 5 kilos heavier than the 4x2 MT:
Review: 2011 Toyota Fortuner 4x2 (MT & AT)-2012-fortuner-variant-comparo.png

The only way to tell one variant from the other is the tail-gate badging. The 4WD MT wears the Full-Time 4WD badge, while the AT gets an Automatic nameplate. The 2WD MT? Well, it gets nothing. And no, there are no plans to offer the Automatic gearbox with the 4x4 drivetrain.

In terms of pricing, expect the 4x2 Manual to be about 100,000 rupees cheaper than the 4x4 Manual. The 4x2 AT should be priced about on par with the 4x4 MT.

Review: 2011 Toyota Fortuner 4x2 (MT & AT)-fortuner-price-comparison.png

Last edited by GTO : 10th January 2012 at 17:17. Reason: Updating with price as the Fortuner has been launched
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Old 22nd December 2011, 19:25   #4
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Default re: Review: 2011 Toyota Fortuner 4x2 (MT & AT)

So, what's new on the outside?

The stunning Land Cruiser front-end makes the Fortuner look a lot more mature:


The air-dam has also gotten wider:


Notice the subtle change to the wheel arch design:


Clear-lens type tail lamp. These look out of place on the Fortuner, and are suited to a modified Corolla or Civic instead:


Self-levelling projector headlights. HID on the low beam:


Headlight washers (useful over long highway trips). They are activated via a dedicated switch, or along with the windscreen wash function:


The hood scoop is a size larger:


New 12-spoke alloy wheels. I prefer the earlier 6-spoke design that looked a lot meatier:


Electrically-folding wing mirrors. Integrated turn indicators too:


Rear camera is tucked away under the new F-O-R-T-U-N-E-R chrome garnish at the back:


The running board gets a ribbed design:


One of the two new colours:
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Old 22nd December 2011, 19:25   #5
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Default re: Review: 2011 Toyota Fortuner 4x2 (MT & AT)

What's new on the inside?



New steering wheel gets faux wood finish on the upper rim, much like most premium German cars. Also equipped with controls for the audio system, MID and the bluetooth-connected phone:


Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) or, in other words, the ESP (Electronic Stability Program). Available only on the 4x4 MT. The VSC kicks in whenever it detects understeer (front tyres losing grip) or oversteer (rear tyres losing grip). It reduces engine power and / or applies the brake to the individual wheels that are losing traction, and brings the Fortuner back in line. The system continually monitors steering input, and whether the SUV is actually headed in the intended direction:


Marginal changes to the instrument cluster include a blue back-lighting effect:


Touch screen double-DIN head unit with a DVD player, USB + AUX inputs and Bluetooth connectivity. Looks more like an after-market unit than a factory fit:


Reverse Camera display:


USB & AUX ports are located right below the 12V power socket:


6-way electrically adjustable driver's seat:


An AUTO headlamp function:


Black button on the bottom-right activates the headlamp washers:


Classy black faux wood finish. I much prefer this over the strange brown veneer used in the earlier Fortuner:


Cabin lights are now the push-to-activate (or deactivate) type:


The head unit will also display your phone's battery status and signal strength. In addition, you can stream music from your phone:

Last edited by GTO : 22nd December 2011 at 23:24.
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Old 22nd December 2011, 19:28   #6
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Default re: Review: 2011 Toyota Fortuner 4x2 (MT & AT)

The 4x2 Automatic

Faux-wood finish on the AT gearlever:


Cruise control is standard with the Fortuner AT:


Gearshift position indicator:


The Fortuner's 3.0 liter turbo-diesel engine is a gem; powerful, loads of torque and negligible turbo-lag. It's the power plant that makes the Automatic gearbox look good. The Fortuner AT doesn't get a high tech dual-clutch transmission; rather, it is a conventional Automatic with torque converter et al.

Moving away from a stand-still in the Fortuner AT is a seamless exercise, and there is none of that initial lag that is experienced in the DSGs. The 1st gear ratio is perfectly chosen, while throttle response at low rpms is good too. With an everyday driving style, the gearbox upshifts early (~2,000 rpm) to make for an extremely relaxed drive. Shift quality is smooth and because of the early upshifts, engine noise is well controlled on the inside. You can still tell when the upshifts actually take place; the action is nowhere as seamless as in a dual-clutch, yet the shift quality is satisfactory. The gear ratios are on the taller side and hence, the 4th ratio won't be used much in a congested city like Mumbai or Bangalore. The steering is direct & easy to use. This, combined with the super visibility & torquey engine, makes the Fortuner AT effortless to drive within urban confines. Your left leg can rest away to glory while your left hand doesn't need to move away from the steering wheel at all.

The downshift response time is decent (not excessive nor exceptional) and superior to that of the Ford Endeavour AT. To overtake on the 2-lane highway that I was driving on, all I needed to do was bury the accelerator to the floor. The gearbox willingly dropped to 3rd gear and the engine's instant torque made light work of the manouveur. In kick-down mode, the engine will revv up to 4,500 at times. Considering that I was easily overtaking vehicles on a single lane highway, expressway overtaking should be even simpler. And if you ever need to be in the power-band before the overtaking move (in preparation of), you can choose to manually downshift to 3rd gear. The tall 4th ratio makes the Fortuner a calm long distance cruiser, especially if you get an opportunity to activate cruise control. The engine is lazily ticking away at 2,000 rpm with engine noise & vibration hardly decipherable. There isn't a doubt that a 5 or 6 speed gearbox would have been preferred. More ratios would allow the gearbox to utilise the Fortuner's available power reserves more effectively. That said, the engine is so good that it makes life very easy for the gearbox. This isn't an extraordinary Automatic, but one that does the job sufficiently well.

The Fortuner AT has an "L" mode that basically locks the SUV in 1st gear. Use this mode when going up or down a steep hill, and when crawling through very rough terrain. To the top left of the gearbox is a shift lock override button. Pressing this button bypasses the gear lock system whereby you cannot move out of position "P" unless the key is inserted and the brake pedal is pressed. Use the shift lock button when you park on an incline and can’t move the lever out of "P". The feature could also be used when towing the vehicle.

Be sure to use engine braking whenever you get a chance to. The Fortuner anyways has mediocre brakes; I can think of some pretty tricky situations on the highway. Under heavy braking conditions, I'd recommend a simultaneous (manual) downshift to 3rd along with pressing the brake pedal. This engine braking greatly helps in maintaining the SUV's composure.

The 4x2 Manual


The 4x2 Manual Fortuner feels a tad sprightlier than the 4x4 MT, thanks to being 90 kilos lighter (mainly at the front). The steering also feels more connected, and a little lighter, though you'll only notice this if you drive the 4x4 & 4x2 back to back (as I did). Also, the Fortuner 4x2's turning radius is shorter at 5.6 meters (4x4 = 5.9 meters). Other than that, there is no difference from the 4x4 MT that we tested in 2009. Toyota has effectively killed the 4x4 MT. I mean, who’s going to buy it now, except for someone like Moderator TSK1979 who’ll actually use the 4x4 in unexplored parts of India. For 99% of potential Fortuner owners out there, the 4x2 makes the most sense and it will be more fuel-efficient too. I’d still recommend the 4x4 to BHPians though. If you have an SUV, explore. By SUV standards, the Fortuner is a pretty good offroader too.

Disclaimer : Toyota invited Team-BHP for the Fortuner test-drive. They covered all the expenses for this driving event.
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Old 22nd December 2011, 19:36   #7
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Default re: Review: 2011 Toyota Fortuner 4x2 (MT & AT)

This is an excellent review by you as always. Kudos. This will definitely help me in considering fortuner as my next vehicle.

One thing that caught my eye it the "Dolby" Badge on the HU. Does this mean that there is Dolby Surround processor / module built-in to the HU ?

Last edited by GTO : 22nd December 2011 at 23:26. Reason: Please proof-read your post before hitting that submit button. Minor corrections
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Old 22nd December 2011, 19:41   #8
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Default re: Review: 2011 Toyota Fortuner 4x2 (MT & AT)

My first reaction was to groan inwardly and say: not another boring 4-speed AT! But the review seems to indicate that the autobox is neatly mated with that beaut of an engine and that the overall experience is quite pleasant. Since I am already an AT owner, kicking down while overtaking is second nature by now and I doubt will miss the lack of tiptronic/manual mode too much (ask any AT owner how many times he actually uses that and you may be surprised!)

Have already reccoed this car (and thread!) to a friend who's in the market for a good AT SUV that doesn't break your bank! Great stuff.
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Old 22nd December 2011, 19:44   #9
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Default re: Review: 2011 Toyota Fortuner 4x2 (MT & AT)

Strange from Toyota. No Auto on 4 x 4. Does Auto Headlight means Light Sensor? Does it have Rain Sensor. The Equipment is good. And still no Disc Brakes at Rear and only 4 speed auto. But Fortuner still looks good. Let's see what the Competition will offer (Endy, Pajedro Sport). Pricing will be the key factor to demolish competition
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Old 22nd December 2011, 19:45   #10
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Default re: Review: 2011 Toyota Fortuner 4x2 (MT & AT)

Decent review, and who said facelifts had to be ugly. This one looks pretty good IMO. Whats the average efficiency on the AT that you guys got during the test?
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Old 22nd December 2011, 19:46   #11
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Default re: Review: 2011 Toyota Fortuner 4x2 (MT & AT)

Thanks for the review.

1. Did you by any chance get to know the 4x2 Manual & Auto ARAI FE?
2. Any idea when does the deliveries start? Right after Auto Expo launch ?
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Old 22nd December 2011, 19:53   #12
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Default re: Review: 2011 Toyota Fortuner 4x2 (MT & AT)

I might be in the minority here but I found the amount of chrome in the new grill a bit overboard. Too much for my taste and the older one was classier IMHO. Also at first look the HU seemed to be an afterthought. Other than that all the other changes are welcome; including the 4x2 option.

P.S.: Great review as always
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Old 22nd December 2011, 19:57   #13
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Default re: Review: 2011 Toyota Fortuner 4x2 (MT & AT)

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
But the review seems to indicate that the autobox is neatly mated with that beaut of an engine and that the overall experience is quite pleasant.
Again, it's the engine that makes the box look good. There's ready torque at all times. No owner will whine about the box, but it's no DSG either. It'll do the job and doesn't come short in any driving condition.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scopriobharath View Post
One thing that caught my eye it the "Dolby" Badge on the HU.
Yep, guess it supports dolby decoding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarvodaya View Post
Does Auto Headlight means Light Sensor?
Yes.

Quote:
Does it have Rain Sensor.
No.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vinaydas View Post
who said facelifts had to be ugly.
Agreed. The LC inspired face looks fantastic, more so in person.

Quote:
Originally Posted by swiftnfurious View Post
Did you by any chance get to know the 4x2 Manual & Auto ARAI FE?
ARAI numbers should be released soon. I'd expect the 4x2 to give 1 kpl more in the city than the 4x4.

Quote:
Any idea when does the deliveries start? Right after Auto Expo launch ?
Dealers have already started talking about mid-Jan deliveries. Production began in the recent weeks.
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Old 22nd December 2011, 19:58   #14
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Default re: Review: 2011 Toyota Fortuner 4x2 (MT & AT)

I prefer the old look. It was sportier, especially the grille.
The 4x2 version would just make this already successful SUV invincible.
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Old 22nd December 2011, 20:07   #15
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Default re: Review: 2011 Toyota Fortuner 4x2 (MT & AT)

Good review GTO, as usual. Toyota finally seems to be getting it right with their facelifts, besides the tail lights which look quite bad on this and the Corolla.

The features added now do make it seem worth the price tag and with the improved wood, the new steering wheel and the touchscreen the interiors manage to look a whole lot more premium. I really like the fact that they have added HIDs and the light sensor, and also cruise control. Stability control is a huge bonus for the 4x4. Good on you Toyota, actually adding features unlike its Jap counterpart Honda which ads one feature at a time.

The gearbox, it seems will be just fine for a normal driver and since it is just a 4 speed there is no need for tiptronic since L-2-3-D can be used exactly like a manual. But it definitely won't be good for an enthusiastic driver but great for a lazy one.

I feel bad for the Fortuner owners who did not wait for this and the ones who were dissuaded by the present owners from waiting, by criticizing everything about the facelift from what the spy pictures showed. Lets give credit where its due, the facelift Fortuner though not a superior product to the earlier one, is certainly looking much more premium and worth the price tag now. This will stop people from comparing it to the Innova.

I hope present owners do not brush of all the features as useless, lets give credit where due
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