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|7th February 2017, 21:39||#1|
One year with the Toyota Fortuner 4x4 AT : My Furteela Ghonga
(This is a very special post. About my first own car, about my first thread on Team-BHP and about my first year of relationship with this incredible beast. Requesting all to kindly pardon me for mistakes, bias, ignorance or any untoward deviation from the norms of posting on TBHP. I have referred to official TBHP review of Toyota Fortuner to cover as many points as possible. Link (Review: 2015 Toyota Fortuner 4x4 Automatic). A big thanks to fellow BHPians Varun, Joe and Tejas for some lovely pictures)
ODO Reading at the time of writing the review: 45,080 km in 14 months
Things I Like
Last edited by ragh_bhushan : 25th April 2017 at 00:18.
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|13th February 2017, 22:49||#2|
How it happened
I have always had a thing for big, bulky, brawny machines. Be it SUVs, pickup trucks or for that matter full-size trucks themselves. The Volvos, the MANs and the CATs cause my head to turn instantly. I have learnt my driving at a motor training school on a Tata Sumo and have driven Safari, Bolero, Scorpio and XUV500 from time to time. Ever since Fortuner was launched in 2009, it had always been on my crosshairs and I knew that someday I would own this beast. This was purely from the looks perspective. We did not have any car in the house at that time.
After my graduation in 2009, I had to travel to Taiwan for work. During this time Dad decided to bring home our first car. We really did not need it since his daily commute is a paltry 2 kms and he does not like going on long road trips either. It was more of a nice to have kind of a buy. He knew it had to be budget car and that it had to be a Maruti Suzuki. He went to SK Wheels, got a deal on Estilo LXi and booked it on the spot after a test drive. Got the car delivered in February 2011.
Eight month after the purchase, I returned back home and the car had done just about 600 kms. I took over and started clocking in some serious miles and accumulated about 50,000 kms in the next 4 years over countless long drives. This was also when my passion for driving came out of the closet. I used the car for my office commutes (25 km daily in bumper-to-bumper traffic) and weekend long drives. Honestly, I never liked the Estilo in any aspect but restrained myself from buying a new set of wheels only because I wanted to put our existing car to some use. If not for me then it would not have completed even 5,000 kms in 5 years.
Anyway, after trying to find a striking balance between clutch-brake-clutch in terrible Mumbai traffic for 4-years, my left leg finally gave up on me and that was the time when I decided that I had given enough time and efforts to the poor Estilo and it was time that I get myself my very own first car. It most certainly had to be an automatic. There was no two ways about it. Fortuner 4x4 AT had been launched less than a year back. It was probably the easiest decision really as far as answering the question "What car” was concerned.
Cars Considered / Not Considered:
Mine is a classic case of a decision truly made from the heart and was a pure impulsive buy like most of my unaffordable possessions. Total time starting from the itch to actually owning one was less than a month. A shortlist of cars was prepared only from finance perspective and maybe to give my “head” a fair play at the decision making process. The heart already knew that it’s going to be the mighty Fortuner.
Creta Diesel - Friend had just booked it so gave it a thought. Good engine and gearbox, loaded with features, decent road presence, but off-roadability very much limited and interior is not that bright or spacious. Took a test-drive for namesake.I did not consider Pajero Sports due to its poor service network.
November 2015 manufactured car was available in January 2016 at a discount of Rs. 1 Lakh. After talking to 3 dealers in Mumbai, I finalised Lakozy Toyota, Andheri because I could negotiate a further discount of Rs. 1 Lakh. Only conditions set by the dealer were that I take Toyota Protect insurance and loan financing from their banking partner (SBI). I agreed with my own condition that I will do a comprehensive PDI at the yard before paying the booking amount. Having read so many ownership reviews on TBHP I was sure that 2 months is barely any time in the life of a Fortuner. The car came out flawless on all parameters of Team-BHP PDI (ARTICLE: Pre-delivery Inspection (PDI) & Check List) and the booking amount of Rs. 50,000/- was paid on 10th Feb 2016. Loan was also applied for, which got sanctioned and disbursed within 4 days.
Since the car was already at the dealer’s stockyard, the only thing remaining to be done before the car became mine was the registration which I was informed will take at least 3 working days. I got a call from Sales Advisor within couple of days that the number has been allotted to us and we could take delivery anytime we want. I must mention here that Lakozy Toyota was very accommodating about our demand for changing the delivery date 2-3 times due to personal reasons.
The car was finally delivered on February 17, 2016 after yet another PDI and brief paper work session. It took couple of hours for the paperwork and the explanation about the features of the car. The handover ceremony was very well arranged and we enjoyed every moment of the experience.
On Road Price & Discounts
Last edited by ragh_bhushan : 25th April 2017 at 00:26.
|13th February 2017, 22:51||#3|
Typical Usage Pattern
25-30 km in heavy city traffic 5-6 days a week and random long NH drives whenever time permits. 70% Highway and 15% city and 15% Off-road driving till now.
Exterior Styling & Design
Yes. That's what it is. And there are no two ways about it. It looks like a truck, sounds like a truck, drives like a truck and also behaves like a truck. Push it by prodding the accelerator and it pulls like a mighty locomotive with a grunt of an angry beast.
Feels like you are sitting on a bison that is raging forward with an intent. Intent to destroy anything in its path. It does not care about the ground it is standing on. Whether it is a paved grassland or slush pit or pure concrete. It will charge and it will charge as if it is the most natural thing to do.
Personally speaking, I am not a huge fan of the new design of the Fortuner because I feel it has lost its truck looks to a large extent and is more like a refined luxury wagon. Although I feel that the new Fortuner looks much better in person and the design grows on you. More of an acquired taste.
Coming back to the previous generation.
The truck looks least butch from the backside.
All other angles brings out emotions like raw, mean, beast, brute, power etc.
A look at the headlamp cluster. Smoked effect with generous use of chrome all over. Headlamps provide decent illumination both in the low/high beams. Although some prefer much higher rated lamps but anything higher simply blinds the oncoming traffic.
Headlamp washer in action. Very handy feature. This has been shockingly removed from the new generation model.
Large trapezoidal grille with a large T badge. The scoop adds to the butch looks. Everything on this truck comes in an XL size.
Scoop cover adds some character to the hood. I am not a big fan of chrome but this one looks nice IMHO
Chrome accents on the Foglamp housing. The lights themselves are grossly inadequate and do not serve any purpose other than enhancing the looks.
Good underbody protection. This was also put to test during one of the late night drives and few parts have been replaced. More on it later.
Wiper blades have been replaced to BOSCH Clear Advantage. Factory wiper blades were although good but lifted during high speed operations under windy conditions. The spread from the washer pump is excellent and almost covers the entire windscreen.
You can't miss the chrome even if you want to. I don't understand Toyota's fascination with chrome. Latest Fortuner continues to get copious amounts of the shiny treatment. Panel gaps are more than necessary and look ugly.
Although they are quite consistent.
Smoked tail lamps as well
Chrome fascination continues in the rear. Also visible are XL sized panel gaps.
Meaty exhaust pipe. Yet to see any black smoke coming out of it.
All available badges on my truck. 3.0. D-4D. FULLTIME 4WD. AUTOMATIC.
Spoiler integrates well with the overall design.
Rear windscreen washer is well hidden out of sight. The flow from it is utterly disappointing.
Last edited by ragh_bhushan : 24th April 2017 at 23:11.
|13th February 2017, 22:54||#4|
Large door handle.
Enormous greenhouse all around.
Radio antenna printed on the quarter glass.
Reversing camera well hidden above the number plates. No guidelines for steering position though. Would have been a great feature for off-road driving.
Number plates illumination is quite poor.
Independent double-wishbone suspension. Front flaps. Front tow hook.
Whole front left side suspension assembly was replaced after an accident. Details in the service section.
Naked and ugly wheel well.
Look at all the space there. Lots of room for tyre upsize. I will consider this once I have more trucks in my garage.
Alternately thick and thin spoked black alloys. Super white body with black alloys seem to be favourite of many including yours truly. Also visible door cladding which add to the muscles of the truck. A Toyota Genuine Accessory, it integrates well with the design.
Made in Japan Dunlops. No puncture, no pressure loss and a lot of tread depth still left after almost 45,000 km. Should be able to cross 60,000 kms easily.
Non-independent 4-link suspension for the rear.
Full-sized alloy for the stepney.
Central differential lock. Rear diff locks would have been nice. It is standard in some other markets but has been omitted for India.
Last edited by ragh_bhushan : 24th April 2017 at 23:38.
|13th February 2017, 22:57||#5|
All black colour does add a sliver of luxury to this otherwise utilitarian interiors. The dash is neatly organised and is very ergonomic. Frequently used things are more easily accessible than not so frequently accessed things like Rear AC or Traction control switch.
No complaints about visibility in all directions although A pillar does create some blind spot.
Chunky and large steering wheel. It's pretty direct and offers excellent feedback on the road conditions. At parking speeds it does weigh pretty heavy.
Look at all that spacious footwell.
Simplistic AVN as well as AC control panel. I like the two holes provided for keeping the mobile phones. However it is only for small sized phone. Larger than 5.5" phones come out of the hole. That air conditioner is an absolute chiller. Maximum ambient temperature tested has been 45 degree celcius.
Two gear levers. No tiptronic or paddle shifters. All you can do is downshift or hold the gears upto a maximum number set by the gear nob. D-4-3-2-L allows good amount of engine braking. 4x4 lever vibrates a lot all the time. It's usage has been limited to less than 10% of total running till date. I plan to use it more often now onwards.
I use these spaces to keep the coins and wallet.
Very handy feature for munching those NH miles. Roads in India have improved significantly over the last few years. Automatic transmission with cruise control means that doing 800-1000 kms a day in solo drive is absolutely stress free.
Nice place to put your cup of coffee. As you can see it has been used to the fullest extent.
Simple instrument cluster. Nothing fancy. All that you need is there. All that you want is not.
A small touchscreen. MID is from the ancient times. Very basic. Would have been nice to see more data from the trips instead of standard temperature, mileage, elapsed time, range and heading direction.
Activated charcoal deodorizer. It has been doing its duty for more than 13 months. It works as claimed. No foul smell or odour in my car till now although it is well past it rated life. Highly recommended for people who don't like air fresheners or perfumes.
Ashtray is backlit.
A look at the lit up instrument cluster.
Switching ON the AC with the Auto button puts the blower in max mode which gets very noisy. Hence, I switch the Auto mode only after the temperature inside the cabin has settled down.
That's front passenger leg room. A 5'10" person will never need more legroom in life.
Minimum achievable temperature of AC is 18 Degrees
IRVM offers good rearward visibility. Auto dimming mirrors would have been nice.
ORVM visibility. No complaints there. It accumulates a lot of bug spatter on highway drives due to its squarish and non-aerodynamic design.
Door pockets can barely hold the 1L sized bottles. Their size is inadequate.
ORVM adjustment panel, instrument cluster brightness adjustment knob and headlamp washer switch. Not sure about the purpose of "Security" indicator.
Only driver side window gets auto up/down feature. Should have been provided for all windows. Sorely miss this one.
Ignition keyhole is lit in white color.
Both driver and passenger seat recline completely and offer good comfort for a quick nap.
Sparsely used second row seats. Ingress and Egress are not very comfortable for senior citizens. Cup holders in the central arm rest is sorely missed when chauffeur driven. The ones available at the foot level. Absolutely useless they are.
Third row is comfortable only for kids on long journeys and adults for shorter than 2-3 hours trips. Cargo space available with all rows up is decent.
Last edited by ragh_bhushan : 25th April 2017 at 00:03.
|22nd April 2017, 15:38||#6|
Driving the Truck
Engine and Drivability
There has been enough discussions on TBHP regarding the Fortuner’s Engine performance and I don’t have anything significant to add. Turbo kicks in pretty early, although low-end torque in second gear seems inadequate sometimes. Can become bothersome in slow moving traffic.
Driving on highway is absolutely stress-free and the truck adapts to your driving style very gracefully - be aggressive on your overtakes or just lay-back and munch those miles all day long - the feeling is just pure bliss. The pedal-to-metal kick down reaction is madness IMHO. There is a lot of Engine “music” in the cabin at 2500+ RPM which I just love. Feels like a proper truck. Engine revs 2000 RPM at cruising speed of 100 kmph.
Front bumper and ORVMs attract a lot of bugs during night highway drives.
Cabin refinement is not that great and road noise does get into the cabin especially at high speeds. Thanks to the naked wheel wells and plastic sheet damping in the doors. Dunlop Grandtrek tyres have performed flawlessly till now. Never felt loss of traction or nervousness in the braking.
Brakes on old Fortuner has been much debated upon and criticised for effectiveness and lack of bite. My experience till now has been satisfactory though. Many on the forum have reported faster wearing-out of brake pads / discs in AT variants. My truck’s brake pads were replaced at 30,000 kms service when it was found to be completely worn out. I use a lot of engine braking by shifting down from D to 4 to 3 as often as possible. I understand that brake pads on automatics have shorter brake life compared to their manual counterparts but wearing out completely in less than 30,000 kms is bothersome. Will be interesting to see the reports of other BHPians who have bought new Fortuner with all-round disc brakes.
Lights & Wipers
I would rate the lights of Fortuner as 8/10 for both low beam and high beam. Fog lamps are only for aesthetic reasons and I have not found any use for them in any condition till date.
Wiper rubbers died pretty early (8 months) and I have recently changed them to Bosch Clear Advantage of which initial impressions are great. OEM wipers at high speeds lose traction and need a spoiler to keep them working fine. Bosch wipers are yet to be tested for monsoons.
4x4 and Off-roading Experience
Ground clearance (225mm) is superior as far as off-roading is limited to medium level. I am yet to push my truck to its off-roading limits. Terrains explored till date have been:
Near Pali on a dry river bed. LL Mode engaged.
Fun with water.
Shower after some fun with slush.
Deserts of Jaisalmer
Delighted after some sand dune bashing. Jaisalmer. LL engaged.
Fun in Sand
Since I am a newbie to the practical aspects of off-roading and my knowledge is only limited to text-books and technicalities, I am being cautious and slowly learning the capabilities of my truck. However, I have no intentions of pampering my truck though and would like to graduate to some serious off roading this year. Keeping a close tab on 4x4 forums on TBHP. I am also working on a comprehensive report about 4x4 Automatics which will be published soon.
Last edited by ragh_bhushan : 25th April 2017 at 00:35.
|22nd April 2017, 15:40||#7|
Service and Maintenance
Extended Warranty & Service Packages
Not opted for extended warranty as I may not keep the truck for a very long time. Will opt for this at the end of third year / 1Lakh km if I decide otherwise. Did not buy Toyota smiles service package either as it is dealer specific and my usage takes me to dealerships in different cities so don’t want to be bound by single dealer.
Here is a link for people interested in Toyota Extended Warranty. http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/techni...-coverage.html (Toyota India's Extended Warranty Plans & Pricing - Up to 7 years of coverage)
After Sales Service
Many have complained about the short service interval of 5,000 kms but I find it quite reassuring that my vehicle has frequent checks by the TASS personnel for any potential problems especially because I do lots of solo highway runs
BHPian Manuuj had prepared an excellent report on service costs of Fortuner about 4 years ago. Link (Obelix, the Invincible Toyota Fortuner! 1,67,000 km and going strong!).
Compared to that for the first 40,000 km, the service cost has gone up from Rs. 20,026/- to Rs. 44,821/-. More than double in just 4 years. It is clearly not as cheap to maintain this truck as it used to be but still is reasonable IMHO.
The truck in its 45,000 km first year adventure did have its share of bruises. Some minor, some major ones.
While parking the truck went over a 3 Feet long metal pipe in the left most lane of a major road in Mumbai. The bumper came out and was replaced under insurance at Lakozy Toyota Malad. I had to pay a compulsory deductible of Rs. 2,000/- while insurance company took care of the remaining amount. Seamless experience at the dealership. Dropped my truck at the dealership, signed some papers, provided the documents and after 3 days the truck was ready to be picked up.
While going from Chennai to Kolkata and at the outskirts of Chennai, a bike carrying three drunk men and without helmets slammed into my truck from the left side while trying to cross the highway at a point where there was no opening at all. The impact was significant and the bike driver fractured his hand and also had some bruises. Other men on bike also had major bruises. Luckily all involved in the accident were safe and everyone inside the truck were unhurt. My friend was driving the truck at the time.
Entire left hand side of the truck had a huge impact and the front left tyre bursted. All panels including both doors, window glass on front door, ORVM, fender, front bumper, FR suspension and tyre, windshield fluid tank and motor were replaced. The truck was towed to Lanson Toyota Ambattur. The whole experience at this particular dealership left a very unpleasant taste in my otherwise excellent experience with Toyota dealerships. Handling of paperwork was poor. Had to submit same documents multiple times. Service advisor ripped me off with a fancy car wash of Rs. 6,336/- without taking my consent. When I questioned him about the same he informed me that insurance company will take care of it which did not happen. They changed some consumables which was not required and was ultimately rejected by insurance company worth about Rs. 10,000/-.
There was no communication from their side about the progress of the work and the promised delivery date was extended 4-5 times. I had to raise an internal complaint for them to provide me updates and a final delivery date as the service advisor and the service manager were both not even receiving my calls or replying to my messages. Finally, the service centre and the insurance company agreed to deliver the truck after post-repair inspection and before receiving the liability from insurance company but asked me to pay a deposit amount of Rs. 8,000/- and a compulsory deductible of Rs. 2,000/- which I agreed. They promised me to refund Rs. 8,000/- once they receive the liability from insurance company. It took me 3 months and involvement from Toyota to get them to refund me this amount. Total bill amount was Rs. 5,77,127/-
Work done was also sub-standard. The paint quality on bonnet was bad, side cladding was pasted shabbily and one of the bracket of side-step was welded to the underbody instead of using a bolt, which was not informed to me and was found during the third repair. Terrible workmanship, customer service and these guys were absolutely money-minded. I would rate this particular service centre worst among all my experiences at multiple Toyota service centres. Best to avoid in my opinion.
While driving on a major highway at night, I could not see four big boulders that appeared suddenly in front of me. I must be driving at around 80 kmph. Avoided three of them but the fourth one had to be taken between the two wheels. This caused a major impact on the front cross member, the muffler and rear differential box. The truck was ok and I could drive normally without observing any issues / leakages. No alignment or steering problems either. Built tough I say. Drove the truck to DSK Toyota, Hadapsar, Pune next day as the 35K service was also due.
The service advisor informed me that it will take at least a month to repair. After keeping the truck for almost 15 days and not starting the work, they told me that they have no idea on when they will be able to order parts for my truck. I realised that there must be some serious issue with the dealer as even the new Fortuner which was launched 2 months back was not available with this dealership. I immediately demanded the truck to be released and took it to Lakozy Toyota Vasai, Mumbai. Got the complete estimate within couple of hours and the entire repair work was completed in 2 weeks. Paid compulsory deductible of Rs. 2,000/- from the total bill of Rs. 3,13,647/- The truck has been running like a brand new ever since.
Inspite of 1 minor and 2 major incidents in the first year of ownership itself, I am happy to report a total of zero niggles till date.
Last edited by ragh_bhushan : 24th April 2017 at 23:26.
|22nd April 2017, 15:52||#8|
Toyota Protect Insurance
Although Toyota Protect insurance premium is about 40% more expensive than other similar policies outside of Toyota, I will still recommend it to prospective buyers especially first timers and the ones who travel length and breadth of the country for hassle-free insurance claims and cashless settlement pan-India. I have renewed my insurance policy with them for second year as well. Premium paid was Rs. 1,02,412/-. Engine protect cover was added this time.
Toyota Road Side Assistance
I have used their services on 3 occasions and found them to very useful. Service was free of charge and they even arranged for cab along with towing of the truck to the service centre of my choice. Only issue I faced was when they arranged for towing in Chennai and I could not communicate with the driver due to language problem.
Impressions About Toyota
Dealing with different service centres across cities, I can now see why people swear by the Toyota badge. It has been a delight owning this truck, dealing with dealerships, service centres, Toyota road side assistance and the company itself. Exceptions, of course are there but I am sold to the brand Toyota. I am closely watching their activities and cars they launch in India as well as abroad. When the time comes for an upgrade, I will certainly consider their over-priced Land Cruiser and cars from their other brand. Lexus - I am watching you.
Views on New Fortuner
Last edited by GTO : 25th April 2017 at 09:28. Reason: Removing point on high speed. Thanks for sharing!
|22nd April 2017, 15:54||#9|
I am aware and have accepted the fact that most of the cars in India are ridiculously overpriced. Some of them much more than the other. Case in point being Crysta, Montero, Jeeps or recently launched Honda City facelift to name a few. Fortuner is no exception to this. It was under 20 lakhs when launched in 2009 from where the price has steadily climbed to almost 40L now. Double in less than 8 years! Only silver lining for the existing owners like me is the lesser depreciation of the car expected at the time of sale / upgrade.
Conviction > Consensus
I come from a typical middle class background with sole family member who has passion for cars. From financials perspective it was really a stupid and terrible idea to buy a car considering the savings that I had (practically none), the income that I generate and the monthly expenses that I incur. Everyone I knew was absolutely against me buying this truck and they tried really hard to convince me to get something that I could afford at that time. I went against the consensus because I had the conviction.
The only silver lining for me was no liability on my head. All financial gurus would have shook their heads in despair and strongly advised against buying a car, let alone an expensive one, if they looked at my books at the time of buying the car. Unfortunately, I am a kind of person who likes to throw the hat in the ring of fire and then try to figure out a way to get it back. So I went ahead against the advise of many experts and got myself one thing missing from my books - Liability of EMIs.
But oh boy, what a decision it has been! Fortunately, my books look much better now and I also have my own first car! My whole perspective about pushing yourself and your boundaries has changed. Apart from creating tons of memories, the one year of this truck's ownership has boosted my morale and changed my outlook in life. As for the truck, the honeymoon period has just started!
Thanks for reading guys. Keep revving!
Threads That Helped Me Decide
Comprehensive reviews of
GTO (Review: 1st-gen Toyota Fortuner)Ownership threads
Last edited by ragh_bhushan : 25th April 2017 at 00:44.
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|25th April 2017, 07:23||#10|
Join Date: Feb 2004
Thanked: 25,608 Times
re: One year with the Toyota Fortuner 4x4 AT : My Furteela Ghonga
Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
|25th April 2017, 08:32||#11|
Join Date: Mar 2011
Thanked: 405 Times
re: One year with the Toyota Fortuner 4x4 AT : My Furteela Ghonga
Wonderful review Bhushan sir. You are some serious writer. I don't think there is any point which you have left out in your review. Loved the attention to detail and the droolsome images.
There are many folks out there (including me) who would buy an SUV for home to office commute and then the occassional highway ride thrown in. But you, you have definitely put the beast through its places extracting full bang for buck. Like they say, if you have an SUV, E-X-P-L-O-R-E.
All the best to you and your white fortress!
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|25th April 2017, 08:40||#12|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Feb 2005
Thanked: 1,419 Times
re: One year with the Toyota Fortuner 4x4 AT : My Furteela Ghonga
Excellent ownership review. Fortuner is basically Hilux with an SUV body on top. These things are known to survive harsh conditions day in and day out for years with minimal maintenance. I am not surprised that Fortuner is tough and reliable.
I am curios to know what was the damage when you ran over the boulder. I am surprised that the car was driving fine and yet the repair bill was over 3 lakhs!
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|25th April 2017, 09:04||#13|
Join Date: Jan 2014
Thanked: 565 Times
re: One year with the Toyota Fortuner 4x4 AT : My Furteela Ghonga
Very well written buddy. Knowing you in person, I know every word is from the heart. Happy and safe miles crunching!
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|25th April 2017, 09:07||#14|
Join Date: Oct 2009
Thanked: 577 Times
re: One year with the Toyota Fortuner 4x4 AT : My Furteela Ghonga
A very detailed write-up and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I can relate to the sleepless night on the first day
|25th April 2017, 10:39||#15|
Join Date: Jan 2014
Thanked: 307 Times
Re: Service and Maintenance
Regarding the incidents you have mentioned, it would be great if you attach pictures of the car after impact. I believe this will help to get a rough idea as to how well the car has borne the impact. How expensive are the body parts? 5.XX lakhs for the repair is scary and it may be an important factor for people considering buying a used Fortuner that is over 5 years old - as insurance companies do not offer the cushion of zero depreciation cover.
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