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Old 30th September 2013, 11:42   #1
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Toyota Fortune-Her: A ride for the wife & maybe for life!

Yesterday a new member has moved into our garage – a Super White 4x4 MT Toyota Fortuner. When I say moved in, I mean it literally, the car has to be given a cooling off period of one week during which it will stay in the garage until the day when the sun shines upon us from the good side. This one week will be a test of my patience as I’ll watch it stand quietly every day as I pass through the parking, but it’ll also give me the time to read through the manuals and familiarize myself with it. Once that cheerful sun rises over the horizon, we will embark on its first journey of a 2500km road trip as we go to meet family and friends. This is going to be the trip that will define our relationship for many years to come, and I’m eagerly looking forward to it!

Toyota Fortune-Her: A ride for the wife & maybe for life!-fortuner1.jpg

Now let’s go a little behind in in time. About 4 years ago, we hadn’t even dreamt of having two highly capable 4x4s warriors, but things have changed rapidly since then.
  • My wife who was very hesitant about her driving skills back then, has turned into a well-seasoned driver and had tamed the Safari to be her office ride. Surprisingly she was always at ease with the truck in the city whereas I hated to drive it in traffic, for me, it was always meant to be a long distance mile muncher.
  • The i10 which was my wife’s first car was sold last year post three years of trouble-free relationship – good part is that we still get to ride in it since a close friend bought it.
  • The mighty Thar joined our family in November last year and it’ll soon be a year old, a mixed bag of emotions with it so far, but I choose to remember only the fun bits. Though this is my primary vehicle, it doesn’t really see too much of action apart from the OTR drives and some city runs on the weekend. For the last month or so, even the Thar experienced some corporate lifestyle since my wife was using it for office commute.
  • Last month, the Safari made an early exit from our lives and we’ve been left hunting for a worthy replacement SUV to be my wife’s daily drive. After some very long conversations and some twists in the tale, we finally took delivery of the Fortuner this week.

This log is going to be about our ownership and would also capture some of the exciting times we’d have with the Fortuner.

Last edited by amolpol : 30th September 2013 at 14:44.
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Old 30th September 2013, 11:48   #2
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A Little Background

Toyota Fortune-Her: A ride for the wife & maybe for life!-safari1.jpg

The Safari had been serving us well and we were always decided that we’d keep it at least for 12-18 months once the 3 year lease period ended in August. There were absolutely no plans of searching for another car at least this year. Based on that very thought I had gotten the clutch replacement done for the Safari during the 60k service. Post the clutch replacement the beast was running as good as new, with no issues to report at all. The Thar on the other hand had been surviving through some rough times lately, but that’s not for this thread. You can read about it here

Our Tata Safari had lived up to its reputation of being a rough and tough vehicle and had clocked more than 68k in three years, bulk of which has been for touring purposes only. Contrary to the issues that are faced with the Tatas, I’ve had absolutely no issues to complain about. The car was aging quite beautifully and in spite of all the hardships it had seen, it had never complained even once. You can read about my ownership experience here

I had already purchased the fourth year warranty for it keeping in mind that we’d extend our relationship with the car beyond the lease period. Overall, it was a very well-sorted situation and as the deadline approached the money for the buyback had also been arranged along with a list of things to do immediately after the buy back. The car needed a set of new tires and some upholstery rework and it was good to go. I would have also transferred the alloy wheels from the jeep as I had plans to get something else for the Thar.

Toyota Fortune-Her: A ride for the wife & maybe for life!-thar1.jpg
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Old 30th September 2013, 11:49   #3
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re: Toyota Fortune-Her: A ride for the wife & maybe for life!

Let me be the first to congratulate you on your new White Warrior. Fortuner has a very enviable road presence and I really respect your wife's driving skills because transition from i10 to Safari & now this moving mountain is highly admirable.
You can keep driving your THAR (pun intended)

Have very happy & memorable times with your new baby and keep us engaged with your travelogues.

Drive safe.

Raab rakha.
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Old 30th September 2013, 11:52   #4
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So why the change of plans?

It was sometime in July that my wife and I were talking about our future plans of upgrading the Safari – maybe in a year or two. We pondered about our confidence levels on the reliability of the Safari during the long cross-country type drives that we do. There’s another long trip that’s being planned for December, so we had to keep that in mind as well. One thing led to the other and finally we were thinking if it was a good time for us to change the car now v/s when it starts giving us trouble.

Given the Tata legacy and the fact that it’s survived a fair amount of rough use, I was pretty sure that the car was pretty much through its prime. If not now, maybe a 6-12 months down the line, we may have some overhauling work coming up. Even though it was still under warranty, I didn’t want to push our luck too much. For us, more than the luxuries in the car, reliability is the most important factor since we travel alone and do a lot of night driving as well. The last thing I’d want is a broken down car in the middle of nowhere during the night with my wife and kid for company.

So although there was no immediate need to change we thought it’ll be okay for us to at least consider our choices for the next upgrade even if nothing materialized in the end.

Our main requirements were:
  • Big SUV – my wife had specified that the new car has to be equal or bigger than the Safari. Nothing smaller would be considered.
  • Selectable 4x4 – This was my requirement since with the Safari I’ve been cautious about not venturing off the road as much, fearing that it may get stuck. All wheel drives don’t really excite me and a low range gear was a must!
  • Wide Service Network – This was important because of the places we cover by road. The Pajero Sport was directly disqualified because of this requirement and we didn’t even plan to do a TD for that although the car by itself isn’t bad.
  • Resale value / status symbol etc – This was NOT a consideration for us. We needed a comfortable and tough car to take us places that we want to explore, that’s it!
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Old 30th September 2013, 12:02   #5
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SUV Hunt Option #1: Toyota Fortuner

Over the past few years we’ve always been lusting to own a Fortuner, we used to refer to it as our next logical upgrade when the time comes. Even my daughter likes it and wishes to own her personal ‘Pink’ Fortuner to go to work when she grows up (she’s only 3.5yrs old btw). So the first stop was made at the Toyota showroom to satisfy our urge to see and test the car.
I was always a big fan of the aggressive exterior looks on the Toyota monster, and so was my wife. Honestly, the interior quality etc didn’t really matter for us and hence all those discussions about how its interiors resemble the Innova were immaterial. What we needed was something that can match our beloved Safari in ride comfort and handling since reliability was a given for the Toyota. The Safari was and still is a benchmark for us and everything that we test gets compared to it.

Initial Impressions:
  • The moment we sat inside the cabin – both of us looked at each other and resonated that it felt smaller on the inside than the Safari. I believe the roof height gives you that feeling of lesser space vs the Safari.
  • The interiors looked pretty bland but everything was in its place. The quality of materials was good but there wasn’t anything exciting about it. We’ve lived with some uneven panels on the Safari and were never really bothered by it, so this was definitely an improvement, but not by much.
  • I was very pleased to see that they had replaced the el-cheapo brown plastic wood panels and gotten black ones instead. Even the Safari had similar plastic panels but they were a shade darker and didn’t stare at you all the time. This could have easily been a deal breaker for me but I was happy that it was taken care of.
  • The doors were reasonably heavy and closed nicely with a thud. The Safari definitely has heavier doors but they gotta be closed with a bang so you end up hearing a loud thud most of the times.
  • Surprisingly, there were no puddle lamps on the doors which was a minor disappointment since that light really helps when you park in muddy places in the night. We had just gotten used to the Safari I guess which is why I noticed its absence.
  • The ORVMs were body colored with indicators and folded with a switch – nice feature but we’d rarely need it.
  • The visibility from the driver seat was good even though the windshield is smaller than the Safari. You can only see the bonnet scoop while you drive and will need to have a good judgement of the vehicle dimensions for turning etc.
  • Rear visibility was almost similar to the Safari since the glass is smaller in the Fortuenr whereas the rear wheel on the tailgate blocks some visibility in the Safari even though the glass is bigger. Parking without a reverse camera input could mean occasional knocks at objects that can’t be seen below the rear window. Thankfully, reverse camera is fitted as standard equipment but no parking sensors.
  • Steering wheel felt better but I would have preferred a full leather covered wheel instead of the half glossy finish which is a thinner cross-section as well. The Safari steering was better because the horn pads extended to the corners whereas here the horn is only in the center. The steering controls were another put off since I never like buttons on the wheel.
  • The leather upholstery looked just about okay, no wow factor to it. It does look sturdy and should last a few years at least but lacks the richness of leather. The Safari VX had better upholstery from what I remember, but has also changed with the Storme now.
  • The Manual 4x4 was a big tick on my list and the absence of LSD or locking differentials could be ignored for now.
  • The alloy wheels looked good but I feel Toyota should have invested in some good A/T rubber on the 4x4 at least instead of the rather misleading Dunlop AT20 which are highway tires.
  • The SA demonstrated the headlight washer and that was a good addition to the list of equipment I felt.

First Test Drive:
  • Next up was a test drive and this is where the rubber meets the road. The shaky gear stick greeted me as the engine came to life and then surprised me by the pull as soon as the car got in motion. Now, I’ve driven the Innova before so I knew about the vibrating lever, but the way it tugs when the vehicle moves forward in gear was a bit annoying.
  • The car by itself showed minimal signs of vibration as the ignition was turned on which was definitely an improvement over the Safari.
  • A lot has been written about the lack of turbo lag and I can safely say it’s all true. The acceleration is very linear and you’d never notice the turbo boost like what I’ve been experiencing with the Safari.
  • The gears slot easily even with that shaky gearstick, so no complaints there.
  • The audio system is just about average but it looks out of place on the dash. That in my mind was the only thing that stood out which was hate-worthy will be on the list for change. Not that the Safari had anything great as the stock fitment, but the Fortuner was three times the price!
  • The car picked up speeds really easy and the braking was good as compared to the Safari, although not in the league of the Storme which I had tested for a friend. I guess the all four discs make a difference there whereas the Fortuner still gets drums at the back.
  • The driver seat comfort was quite good and I could see myself doing those 1000+ km drives without much fatigue, although I’m not sure if the same can be said for all occupants.
  • The armrest is an ergonomic nightmare and I can see myself using a small folded towel or some other cushion to comfort my elbow during long drives. It should have been softer with sliding functionality. It neither provides the reach nor comfort as of now.
  • The a/c was quite nice and is a big change from the Safari where it takes time to cool the cabin.
  • The reverse camera is hooked on to the system, but it doesn’t have parking sensors which is something I missed. The camera angle of view is also different from what is fitted aftermarket because of the positioning of the camera above the number plate on the tailgate vs on the bumper.
  • On the way back, I let my wife drive so I could experience the middle row comfort. This is where things started getting a bit quirky. While the on-road comfort was not an issue, the car just couldn’t take any pot-holes without causing discomfort to the middle row occupants. The rear suspension seemed to be bottoming out frequently and I could instantly remember the “jumpy ride” comments about the Fortuner. A flash memory took me back to one of the drives to Kabini where I was doing 60-80kph on the mud roads wondering why the Fortuner was chugging around slowly. I could imagine what those guys would have gone through had they kept up with me.
  • The turning radius was marginally better than the Safari but I guess it’ll still need three point U-turns at most places.
  • The one thing I liked was the way it shut down without any shuddering. The Safari could never do that, there was always a vibratory stop to the car when it was powered down.

We enquired about the pricing and delivery timelines and the non-existent discounts, but the bigger surprise was that the choice of color wasn’t going to be easy. The Toyotas have some kind of negative bias towards black and it may be driven by the customer base who buys these cars as well. Apparently, black is not a regular production color even though it is listed in the available colors. There is a 2-3 month waiting period if anyone needs the car in black, and this is also true on some of their other line-ups as well. The SA told us that any of the darker colors would need some time whereas the white and beige were easier to get.

At the end of the day, we were left shaking our heads in disbelief that the car that we both desired so much had failed to impress us. I was left thinking about the justification to pay 10L over the Safari VX 4x4 or the Storme 4x4 and compromise on ride quality and handling – was it only for reliability and Toyota service and brand value?
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Old 30th September 2013, 12:10   #6
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re: Toyota Fortune-Her: A ride for the wife & maybe for life!


The title, specially the first half, of your thread seemed a little amusing and inviting considering how ladies these days prefer smaller cars paired with automatics rather than big butch SUV's. But since you've upgraded from a Safari, the Fortuner seemed to be a logical choice!

Love the Fortuner for its looks and how easily it stands out tall, even today, amongst the rest of the crowd.

Drive safe.
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Old 30th September 2013, 12:13   #7
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SUV Hunt Option #2: Why not another Tata Safari to reclaim our lives…

Post the somewhat traumatic experience with the Fortuner, we were really considering replacing the Safari with another one albeit a 4x4 variant. I mean why not, after all we've had no trouble so far with it and it's a model that's proved itself over the years. The flaws it has are out in the open, so there are no hidden surprises. I wanted to give this idea some serious thought before we looked anywhere else.

But one thing to remember was that this decision was purely on the grounds of extending our wait period by another 3-4 years before a serious upgrade. My wife was okay with the idea of getting another Safari Dicor, although she was against the idea of moving to a Storme. I was hoping that Tata Motors would be running some discounts on the older Safari since both the models put together weren’t selling as much as the 2.2 Dicor used to sell. But it was not meant to be that way!

My views on the Storme:
  • Nicely built for a Tata, but I had said this even for the Aria which turned out to be a market dud. Hope they’re able to keep the Storme away from that kind of fate.
  • 80% of the car is similar to the older one in terms of driving dynamics, handling and suspension feel. The 20% change is braking which has improved drastically and the gear shift feel.
  • Still a relatively new kid on the block and would want to see how it holds up for the first 3 years before putting in 18L in it
  • Interiors look better but they’ve still not used the space effectively inside. A lot could have been done better instead of just simplifying the center console. Eg. A double din system.
  • No more a/c vents on the doors – its good and bad. The older ones used to throw air right where it’s needed v/s your hands on the steering wheel.
  • The last row is killed because of the tyre at the bottom – not that I used it for ferrying people but even luggage space is now lesser than before.
  • Clutch feel is different because of the dual mass flywheel. The car pulls a lot linearly than the sudden surge of power in the Dicor. I still prefer the raw feeling of the Dicor vs the refinement.
  • Tank capacity reduced by 10lit – this is a big drawback IMHO.
  • Funny smiley look at the front – a poor imitation of the Rover family
  • Tailgate is bland without the wheel – looks more like a Tavera than a butch SUV
  • Paint quality is definitely better than before

I walked into the friendly neighborhood KHT Motors dealership to check on the pricing and was surprised that the Storme was being offered lower than the Dicor after all the discounts. At about 17.5+ OTR, I wasn’t sure I’d want to put in that kind of money on an outgoing Safari model. The Storme, although a refinement over the older generation, failed to tick the boxes for us in terms of looks and presence. I even forced my wife to test drive it at least once before she writes it off her list. Although she agreed that it was slightly better than our Safari, there was no way she’d agree to buying the Storme as her next car.

In the end it was going to be her car, I wouldn't want to push her to buy something she didn't agree with. She's been kind enough with letting me do what I've wanted and I can't ever dare to forget that fact.
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Old 30th September 2013, 12:33   #8
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SUV Hunt Option #3: Ford Endeavour 3.0 AT 4x4

With the Storme out of the window and no sense in putting in 18L for the old Safari, we were forced to look elsewhere. The Pajero has always been a dream, but it’s not the same feeling with the new Sport. If the legendary SFX were in production, it may have been a serious contender in spite of the HM service support but sadly it isn’t available anymore. The next logical option was to check out the Ford Endeavour which was now launched with a new Al-terrain edition.

I had seen the Endeavour before and didn’t really appreciate the low sprung seating all over – it was just not suiting the SUV character I felt. Moreover the 4x4 is only available in the 3.0L Automatic transmission. I’ve always had this thing about automatics that they take away the fun of driving since you’re no longer controlling all the aspects of the car. But I agree that this was more of an orthodox mindset and a natural tendency to resist any change even though it may be for your own good. Taking a test drive would never harm anyone – that was the premise with which we scheduled a test drive with Elite Motors at Marathahalli.

I’ve driven automatics for a little while, but it’s mainly been hatchbacks and sedans. This was my first time driving a diesel automatic SUV. The Endeavour has this old world charm of a truck based SUV which appealed to both of us. The front has undergone a lot of transformation from it’s original design which was more boxy, that has taken away a little bit of character from the car, but it isn’t lost. You can make it out that this is no car, it’s more of a truck and truck it is indeed!

Initial Impressions:
  • Classic ladder frame chassis build – mean looking and big
  • Rear door mounted wheel gives it more character
  • Interiors are simple and clean – the leather used feels higher quality than the Fortuner
  • No gadgetry when it comes to climate control, automatic this and automatic that etc
  • Entertainment system is good, Kenwood’s top of the line head unit although an older generation model coupled with a roof mounted screen for video. The head unit has dual zone, time alignment etc and has three pre-outs which can be fed to two amplifiers for speakers and sub-woofer for that blissful music experience.
  • The entertainment system comes with navigation and reverse camera inputs etc, so no need of buying any aftermarket HU at all. Just add the amp and nice speakers, and you’re done!
  • There was a music controls stalk provided behind the steering wheel which meant no buttons on the wheel…yay!
  • The seats are indeed lower but the front ones don’t seem uncomfortable even for long drives. The middle row was definitely best for two while the last row reminded of the rear seat in my jeep. Overall, 5 adults can travel with reasonable comfort 2 front + 2 middle + 1 back although you’d need to draw sticks to decide who sits at the back.
  • The driving position is simplified by the absence of the clutch which means that the left leg can happily rest on the dead pedal throughout.
  • The interiors felt a lot airy than the Fortuner, thanks to the low seating and big windows all over.
  • The auto box was a breeze to drive, although it got noisy inside the cabin as it hurriedly increased RPMs before every gear shift. There was a noticeable lag initially and the pickup wasn’t exactly what I’d call quick, but it wasn’t bad either. Once above 30kph or so, the car responded pretty nicely to the throttle inputs and overtaking wasn’t a big issue.
  • My wife was pretty impressed with the convenience of the auto box since it would definitely help her with the 60km commute through the city during busy times of the day.
  • The suspension is on the stiffer side than the Safari, but we never got the bottomed out feeling like in the Fortuner. I had to slow down a bit on bad roads, because the whole car was just bouncing all around otherwise. But it doesn’t leave its composure and you won’t feel nervous about whether the car will take the abuse or not.
  • There are no sport or economy modes on the auto box. But it does have an Overdrive On/Off mode. The Overdrive OFF mode is quicker in pickup than when it’s ON. But the car tops out at around 80kph since it won’t engage the 5th gear when OD is OFF. Good for city driving – not sure how it impacts mileage though.
  • Turning radius is 5.9m which is smaller than the Safari but not by a big margin.

Overall, the build quality and interiors of the Endeavour felt much better than the Fortuner and with the super discount of almost 3L it was definitely more appealing. The Endy was coming to 26L OTR in Bangalore whereas the Fortuner was 29.3L.

The test drive left us perturbed since this was definitely looking like an upgrade over the Safari – not in terms of the ride quality but the overall package. An auto box, 4x4 on the fly, looks of a truck, luxury interiors, no useless gadgetry, loaded music system and the cheaper price tag, all were in favor of the Endeavour. We asked for another longer test drive before we finalized and took it out for a couple of hours to understand how it felt.

By now, we had realized that there was no other SUV that could match the ride comfort of the Safari except for the Safari/Storme which we didn’t want to buy. The Endeavour seemed to be a very worthy candidate for an upgrade and given the discount, the offer looked all the more appealing. After a lot of discussions on pros and cons and reading through the rare ownership reviews available on T-bhp as well on other areas on the internet, the decision was made.

It was going to be the Endeavour for us!
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Old 30th September 2013, 12:36   #9
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Booking Experience: Ford Endeavour 3.0 4x4 AT

Once the car was finalized, we asked the dealership to get the loan approval done before we paid the booking amount. Documents were submitted for SBI Car loan to the showroom executive and the loan approval message came about 4 days later. We requested the dealership to provide an extensive test drive before we booked and the sales manager who was personally was looking after my purchase was more than happy to oblige.

We went out for almost 2 hours or more trying to get a feel of the car in various conditions, through the city traffic, bad roads, on the highway etc. The test drive reaffirmed our thoughts about the car and we were now making peace with it. I sat on the last row bench to check how bad it was, but found it to be surprisingly manageable for city conditions where it may get used at times. There was no way we’d use that on the longer drives since it’s mostly 3-4 adults in the car on longer drives.

We came back to the showroom and booked it by paying the 1L booking amount. It was the first week of August and the delivery commitment was 3-4 weeks which wasn’t really an issue since we had the Safari with us until the first week of September.

A week later the manager from the dealership called up and asked if I was interested in a car that was available at the factory immediately. I asked him for the VIN details and found out that it was a February manufactured vehicle. Politely told him that I’d not be interested in it since it’s more than half a year that it’s standing in Chennai and I’d rather wait for a newer batch. About 10 days later, I checked back with him on the status and expected delivery date. He told me that it could take about a month to get the newer batch of vehicles, so now the wait was extended to the 20th of September. In the meanwhile, that February car had been sent to him by the company so he made another attempt to see if I’d be interested in picking it up, but I wasn’t convinced about it. The additional 20 days of wait time was still okay since my wife could use the Jeep for a little while once the Safari was gone.

It was already the first week of September and it was time for us to bid goodbye to our dear and beloved Safari. The initial plan was to return the Safari to the leasing company but we had found a last minute buyer for it who was more than willing to pay the residual value of the car. With the Safari gone, the Jeep coming back from repair just in time at the month end, we were still okay with the arrangement but not for long.

Finally, at the end of first week of September I met the sales manager at Elite Ford to discuss the tentative timeline for delivery where he told me that the company had given him no commitments on the next batch of Endeavour production. This meant my wait could extend from a few weeks to a few months. I guess the reason could be the over booking of the Eco-sport which may be forcing Ford to redeploy resources to meet the demand there v/s manufacture a vehicle that barely sells 50-70 per month.
The Sales Manager was a very nice gentleman and very warm individual to deal with. He totally understood our situation and didn’t throw in any of the “promise the world” type sales pitches just to keep business.

After a detailed discussion, we came to a mutual conclusion that there was no point in retaining the booking anymore and with a heavy heart, we filled the booking cancellation form.
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Old 30th September 2013, 12:38   #10
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Endeavour Gone: Now what?

What had started as a casual check for upgrade options had now transformed into a need to buy the car and finish the whole ordeal. Given that we had exhausted pretty much all our options and the fact that the Safari was already gone by now, the decision on what to buy couldn’t wait for long.

After the cancellation was done, we found ourselves again at the Toyota dealership and looking at the Fortuner! My wife was a lot more serious in evaluating the car now since we had no option but to buy something new and that too quickly. A lot of discussion followed that day’s test ride on whether we were okay to stretch our budget and plonk the money on a product that is a market best-seller but had failed to establish the heart-connection. In the end, our minds won over our hearts this time and we decided to buy the Fortuner.

There was some regret about changing our decision from the Endeavour to the Fortuner but I knew that in the long term the latter will prove its worth. We also knew that we’ll have to compromise on a few things just to fit the Fortuner in our budget as well as into our lifestyle, but we were okay with it. The only thing I hope for is that this car should connect with us just as much as the Safari did and become our extended home during the long trips.
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Old 30th September 2013, 12:42   #11
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Booking Experience: Toyota Fortuner 4x4 MT

The next day we were once again at the Nandi Toyota dealership to book the Fortuner 4x4 MT. We took another test drive with a couple of friends who were with us in order to check ride quality when it’s full and although the rear suspension isn’t passenger friendly, it barely managed to get the minimum pass grades!

The good part was that the dealership had two cars readily available, one Super White and another Pearl White, the bad part was that there was no black and the lead time was about 2 months. I asked him to block the Super White for us and also check if there were any changes of getting the black earlier. Couple of days later he confirmed that with the current production plan at Toyota, it would take between 45-60 days to get the black. He also sent me the VIN# for the super white which confirmed it was an August 2013 car. I told him to drop the pursuit for a black – “a bird in hand is worth two in the bush”.

Our loan had already been approved with SBI but the lady at the dealership asked us to apply with State Bank of Patiala instead since the processing charges were just Rs 500. The loan processing took about two weeks to get done but was done finally and we signed the agreement etc to finish the process. The bank branch seemed fairly new and they were eager to work with us to complete all formalities. The things to note are that they don’t have an ECS facility as of now and we had to open an account with them which can then be used for NEFT transfers for the EMI amounts. Though ECS is much more convenient, this isn’t too bad either since it’s online and there’s no need to visit the branch or give cheques etc.

Once the loan processing was complete, I asked the dealership for a PDI and they happily obliged. Given my notice to them about visiting for the PDI, they had actually washed the car already and it was shining in white when we saw it at the yard. The PDI was satisfactory and there was nothing that raised any suspicions about the car. It had just about 5kms on the ODO and everything looked brand new as it should be.

Toyota Fortune-Her: A ride for the wife & maybe for life!-goanywherenow.jpg

Next up was choosing the insurance provider for the car. The dealership had quoted 66k for the Toyota Protect comprehensive insurance, they wanted another 20k for the zero depreciation policy. This was definitely sounding expensive and I wanted to get the insurance done myself instead. I got quotes from a few providers namely, Bajaj Allianz, ICICI Lombard and Tata AIG to compare. The Toyota Protect insurance meant that they’d have cashless settlements across any Toyota dealership in India but the choice of providers was limited to ICICI Lombard, Iffcotokio, Cholamandalam and United India. None of these were in my list of favorites and I was very happy with the buying experience of Tata-AIG for the Thar last year. Bajaj Allianz quoted pretty much what the dealership quote was whereas ICICI Lombard was ready to offer some discounts on the zero dep policy. Tata-AIG on the other hand beat everybody by a big margin and were able to offer me a comprehensive Zero Dep policy for just 57k with a higher IDV than any of the other providers. While they don’t have cashless tie-ups with all Toyota dealerships, they do have cashless settlements with Nandi Toyota. I even confirmed this by making a call to their service department on the pretext of getting my car repaired which has Tata-AIG insurance and they replied positively on the cashless part.

Now, once the payment and insurance was sorted out, the only thing on my mind was to bring the baby home. Just then, my mom dropped the bomb that it wasn’t such a good time to buy anything new and that October 5th was the earliest I could take delivery. The wait was now extended by another couple of weeks because of this change, but I knew that there were going to be no surprises since the car was already standing in the dealer yard.

A couple of days later we found out that there was some work coming up in Mumbai for which we needed to make a trip there right around the October 6th week. We were still coming to terms with the excruciating wait and the new plan kind of helped in advancing the dates for delivery. We obviously couldn’t get the car on 5th since we were supposed to leave for Mumbai either that day or early morning on 6th. After a little bit of friendly negotiations, the decision was taken to get the delivery of the car earlier but put it in use only on October 5th post the puja rituals are done. This was a perfectly happy ending to the episode since that meant I get time with the car and also flexibility of deciding on ICE upgrades etc.
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Old 30th September 2013, 13:07   #12
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Bringing home the white monster!

We had scheduled delivery for Oct 2nd since it was going to be a holiday on account of Gandhi Jayanti, but then since everything else was ready we thought we’d just go ahead and get the registration done on Saturday and take delivery on Sunday, Sep 29th.

Deep down inside, my wife and I were still a bit apprehensive about our choice. This was mainly stemming from the fact that we both weren’t completely over the Safari as yet. Then came the most awesome news, it was the guy from the dealership calling from the RTO. He gave a few choices for the number and one of them was the 8515. I told him to look no further and just go ahead and block that one, it was the same number on the Safari. This event just pushed us over the edge and we were now sold on the Fortuner. It had made this secret connection with the Safari and was now a natural extension of the mighty tourer we’ve enjoyed so thoroughly for the past three years. Had I been even a day late for registration, this coincidence wouldn’t have happened unless I had plans to pay through my nose to open a new series. We weren’t actively looking for that specific number but this was more like fate trying to convince us that this is the car of our future.

There was a sudden gush of excitement in our lives and we were now eagerly waiting for Sunday morning. The delivery was scheduled at 10AM and we were going to be accompanied by a couple of our close friends.

This Sunday morning wasn’t feeling like any other, we were all ready by 9AM and on our way to pick up our friends and march towards the dealership. As we parked the car, we saw that our car was standing right outside in full glory, all ready to roll. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting this since it was just about showroom opening time and I thought they may be still be doing the finishing touches etc. I had ordered for the side cladding which was installed and the car had gotten the underbody treatment and Teflon coating done. My wife had asked me to ask Thomas (our SA, he’s actually a Team Lead) to avoid putting the ribbon on the bonnet but I had forgotten that. I was hoping they hadn’t put it yet, and they hadn’t which was good. Later I had Thomas apologizing for the absence of the ribbon to which I actually thanked him and said he’d done what exactly what we needed. Apparently, they chose not to put it because of the paint treatment that was done, it was kept rolled up in the glove box, very thoughtful!

We signed some paperwork and checked off the things on the delivery list and they keys were handed out with a customary round of applause. Next up was a quick demo of the car - Thomas showed us all the accessories that came with the car and functionality of the tyre mounting mechanism and all the controls inside. A very refreshing experience overall, except for the fact that they used a wrong salutation against my wife’s name on the invoice and other receipts. This wasn’t a big issue since the RTO receipt had no salutation whatsoever so that was good. For the other documents, the dealership should be able to get it changed in their records pretty easily and our SA promised that he will get it done and give us a new set of documents.

I did a quick check to see if everything was okay, and it was. No detailed PDI was really required, everything was pretty much there as expected. Odo now read 42kms which was okay since the car would have gone for registration about 15kms away to the RTO that I had requested. No nicks on the paint, no marks on the carpets, no dirt on the seats, absolutely flawless execution. It took about 30-45 mins for the whole thing to be done and soon we were out driving home in the new car. The first tank full took in about 72 litres with the MID showing 680kms range based on the 8kmpl mileage figure.

Once home, the car was parked in its spot where it will still be in hibernation for the next 5 days before it sets off on its first mission. The first service shall be done in Navi Mumbai, I’d be happy to hear about any recommendations on the service center to visit.

A few changes/upgrades for the beast in the near term:
  • Side claddings – already done at the dealership
  • Underbody treatment – already done at dealership
  • Tires – I intend to take it off-road and test it’s capabilities and really needed A/T but given the limited choice between Contis and Yokos, I’m keeping this out for now. Will wear out the stock Dunlops and then change to ATs.
  • Music System – This has a separate thread already and will definitely be changes either this week or after I’m back from the trip
  • Horn – I will test it during this trip and decide whether to change it. The stock one is the beep sound but I somehow don’t like the tone. I plan to get the Hella Red Grills since I’m very happy with them on the jeep.
  • Vkool front windshield film – I’ve had a very good experience with the Safari. Heat rejection at the front is a must to keep the dashboard cooler maximize A/C performance. No films on the sides though.
  • Some DIY mod for the front arm-rest to make it more comfortable – open to ideas if anyone has done this already

I guess now it’s time for recounting some likes and dislikes. Now, you’ll be surprised that the likes are few whereas dislikes are more. That’s because the likes are mostly common to what has already been shared either in this thread or in the other ownership threads, the dislikes are more personal in nature and may not be the same for everyone.

  • Great road presence
  • Superb view from the cockpit
  • Manual 4x4 shifter
  • No nonsense gadgetry
  • Traditional SUV build
  • Proven reliability of Toyota
  • Nice fit and finish overall
  • Linear acceleration – lack of turbo lag
  • Pretty much loaded with everything you’d need as basics

  • Bumpy ride at the back – this is the biggest grouse of all
  • Glossy half of the steering wheel
  • Old looking green display on the A/C
  • Quality of music system
  • Could have had some more torque for that exhilarating experience
  • Dysfunctional arm-rest
  • Highway tires for a 4x4 monster
  • No disc brakes at the rear
  • Hatch door vs traditional SUV style rear door(s)
  • No wheel mounting on the rear door
  • No rear parking sensors
  • No puddle lamps
  • Shaky gear stick which also shows signs of pull as the vehicle moves

This is pretty much everything for now, more updates on it as we start using it starting end of this week.

Toyota Fortune-Her: A ride for the wife & maybe for life!-fortuner2.jpg

Last edited by amolpol : 30th September 2013 at 13:39.
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Old 1st October 2013, 07:48   #13
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Re: Toyota Fortune-Her: A ride for the wife & maybe for life!

Mod note: Thread moved from Assembly Line to Test-Drives & Initial Ownership Reports.
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 1st October 2013, 12:56   #14
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Re: Bringing home the white monster!

Originally Posted by amolpol View Post
  • Old looking green display on the A/C
The green display for the AC isn't a negative. If you get an integrated display like on the Lexus, when you start the car, there's a delay till you can operate the AC using the on-screen controls (though you still can push Auto), and while using the rear-view camera if you use the AC, the rear-view camera isn't automatically displayed again till you switch the gear to Park or Neutral and back into Reverse. Also, the touch screen is a very low resolution display. Considering the alternative offered by Lexus/Toyota, you are better off with the greenish display, which works as intended and has a more up-market feel.
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Old 1st October 2013, 13:51   #15
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Re: Toyota Fortune-Her: A ride for the wife & maybe for life!

Congratulation for the Fortuner. It is a bit out of the ordinary that your wifey is comfortable with it, generally it is the other way around.
I did not know that Fortuner was offered in two shades of white, peculiar. The hub caps seem to be missing from the snaps.
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