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Ownership review: My Toyota Fortuner 4x4 MT

My requirement was a reliable 7-seater (preferably a solid body on frame) which I would like to keep it for long term. Budget was ~40 Lakhs on road. I also wanted decent off-roading capabilities so that I can manage some tough terrains.

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What I like:

  • Power Delivery across gears, less need for changing gears.
  • Gear Shits are accurate and smooth.
  • Flat torque curve, no stalling at lower gears.
  • Smooth service experience.
  • Access to 3rd row, the one touch technology in Toyota is much better compared to competition.
  • Music system is decent, especially not annoying with distortions.
  • Steering is accurate and just right. not too hard not too light.
  • Good breaking, Gives good confidence.
  • 3rd row space, average person can sit comfortably.
  • Keyless entry and power boot.
  • Highway cruising at 100 km in 6th gear. Engine is < 2000 RPM!

What I don't like:

  • Head room could have been a bit more especially in the 3rd row.
  • Tyres: HT in 4x4 not AT (They provide AT in 4x2).
  • Reverse gear slotting is a bit tricky and needs some effort.
  • No Service reminder in console, you need to remember the next service.
  • Many basic features missing at this price point: TPMS, Auto Wiper, front parking sensors, memory seats and lumbar adjustment (list below)

Features that I miss:

TPMS:

I believe TPMS should be included in the basic safety kit. The tyres should be monitored for optimal pressure and temperature for safety of passengers. I cannot understand why this feature is missed in this 40 lakhs SUV. Even the lower segment vehicles have this feature now.

Auto wipers:

Such an obvious miss in the D2 segment car. Tell me one in this segment with out it! Such a shame. My polo has it and XUV had it.

No auto folding mirror:

No default option, where as I guess it should be included by default. I activated by paying extra as accessory.

Apple CarPlay:

I would expect a wireless Apple CarPlay at this price point. Gone are the days you use the inbuilt maps which gets outdated in 3 months with the pace Indian roads are changing. I always use google maps which gets updated and gets traffic info automatically. My XUV had the 'MapmyIndia' maps and I used it only few times (when mobile range was not there). This feature is a big miss for me.

Rear differential lock:

Even though the electronics handle everything, this could have improved the capability. They provide differential lock in other countries, but not here in India. In the recent version they have included it.

Auto stop / start:

Only available in AT. It was there in my manual XUV500, don't know the reason why it got missed in MT. This is useful in city traffic where you will be spending a lot of time in signals.

Nice to Have features:

360 degree camera:

A very useful feature for such a big SUV. I think it should get included by default. Current accessory version needs to activate manually by a switch, I did not like the usability. I am waiting for the updated one to retrofit with HU.

Sunroof:

Not too keen on this feature as the usage in India is only minimal. With such a tall SUV the usage it is also not practical for kids. I guess we will never get this feature in this generation of the Fortuner because of the current design (AC).

Ambient Lighting:

Would have liked to have this feature as nice to have.

Approach angle / elevation indicator:

The Ford Endeavour has this feature. As this is a 4X4 variant, this could be useful in off-road situations to better judge.

The Battle:

I was not planning any upgrades in 2019 until I saw a news piece that Toyota is offering discounts of up to 2+ lakhs in a newspaper. When I inquired, they said the amount is including the insurance benefit, excluding which will come to around 1 lakh if taken immediately. My situation was bit different, I was happily using my XUV500 (ownership report) and needed to dispose it before going with upgrades. Toyota Trust evaluated and offered a decent price plus an exchange bonus which I felt was ok compared to the price you might get in open market. That’s is when I started looking at options available. If I am not taking a car from Toyota, I will have to give up the exchange bonus which was ok for me.

The Ford Endeavour was always better in terms of features and drivability. I was not able to decide between the Fortuner and the Endeavour. I had already multiple times taken test drives of both cars and there was a battle between the heart and brain until I saw the gear box failures of the Endeavour on Team BHP and decided to value reliability more than features.

My requirement was a reliable 7-seater (preferably a solid body on frame) which I would like to keep it for long term. Budget was Rs. 40 Lakhs on road. I also wanted decent off-roading capabilities so that I can manage some tough terrains. I always liked to travel to remote places without worrying about road conditions and this added capability will give me confidence. I had AWD in the XUV500, but that was not enough in some places, even though in 80-90% of the time you don’t need it. So, the battle was between Fortuner <-> Endeavour <-> Pajero <-> Alturas. Of course, I did test drive the X1, Q3, GLA/CLA too during the process.

Ford Endeavour:

A clear leader in terms of features and drivability. The 3.2 AT is a no brainer. It was tough to decide between this and the Fortuner until I read the AT failures (few of them) on Team BHP. Few reported failures at around 70k on the odometer reading was not acceptable. I want to have reliability for long term and did not want to put my money in to this risk. So, I decided to keep away.

Mitsubishi Pajero:

The old Pajero 4x4 Super Select was a dream machine. The new one in the international market is also very good. The one in India is missing a lot in terms of capability. No manual transmission, AT comes in 5 speed and no 4x4 model! I think they are now concentrating on the Outlander which has now 4x4 capability. But that too is not available in diesel.

Mahindra Alturas:

I used a Mahindra for almost 10 years now. I was a happy customer but what I did not like is the service. The service team is incompetent, and I was always standing beside the vehicle for each service. I never saw it improving and the only way out was to have some contacts in the ASC and manage it.

The Alturas has loads of features and capabilities and it looks decent. The 2.2-liter engine is a gem. It is refined and silent. The refinement also gives bit of issues in terms of torque delivery. I also heard another member complaining about the stalling at lower gears. I had this behavior inthe  XUV too but don’t see it in Fortuner and now I realize the importance of the flat torque curve. The sunroof is also very small, its not panoramic and not that appealing.

Toyota Fortuner:

If you value reliability, then there is only one name that comes to mind, its Toyota. With Endeavour out of game there is no real options left for me.

I had test drove the AT model 2 years back and I really liked the improvement in comfort and looks. Some features got added in couple of years but no major upgrades. I asked for a 4x4 MT model for TD and they were not able to arrange one (Nandi Toyota). Instead I did test drive on 4X4 AT and 4x2 MT. MT was mostly to get understanding on gear shift and clutch. The sales person from Toyota just explained features in a neutral way; Only point answers to questions. No real push from him at all. I have seen other brand's sales people going that extra mile to sell but experience with Toyota was really different. The sales negotiations are also straight forward. They tell you what is possible from the dealer and company. By this time I hadformed good relationship with the sales manager and he was a very nice person, who helped me through out the process. He provided me with discounts as much as he could manage.

I did an evaluation of the missing features in the Fortuner and decided to get them retrofitted whatever is possible in a phased manner. The real missing features are:

  • TPMS: Will install SenAiry. Options from Toyota are not that great. I don't want to put another device inside the car for just monitoring the tyre pressure. Either it should come in the HU or in mobile. Toyota accessory needs a device which displays the tyre pressure whuch needs to be fit in dashboard.
  • Apple Carplay: I was hoping that the new HU with Apple CarPlay can be retrofitted, but looks like it is really expensive (Rs. 2 - 3 Lakhs) now. Currently no plans to spend that much. Better will be to just change the HU to a Pioneer / Alpine with the Apple Carplay support at 1/4th of the cost.
  • Auto folding mirror: Added as accessory from Toyota.
  • Auto Wiper: No options, will miss it.
  • 360 View Camera: I find this very useful for such a big SUV. The fender mirror in this generation is not practical. But I am holding on this because it has a direct dependency to the HU. If I get an option to upgrade, 360 view camera might be incompatible. Toyota charges approximately Rs. 25-30k for this.
  • Wireless Charging: New models have this, but no good feedback yet, heard that the charging is slow. Currently decided against it.

Booking:

By the time I made up my mind, and Toyota finalized the price and exchange bonus for the XUV, it was already next month and offers were less. My discounts came down to less than a lakh. With BS6 in plan, I was informed that Fortuner production of BS4 is already stopped / reduced. From Jan 2020, new bookings for BS6 will start and there might be a price increase. So, went ahead and booked it early November. What I will be getting is from the stock and I had not so many options in terms of color. They offered me 2 variants of white (Super White and White Pearl) with 2 different interior options (Brown and Chamois). I really wanted the Phantom Brown, but it was not possible. So I agreed for Super White with brown interior. I told him this option and asked for an email confirmation. Next day since there was no update, I called him again. He said he does not have Super White, am I ok with Pearl White? I rejected this offer. Next option was Super White with chamois interiors. I refused that too and told him I need Super White and brown interiors combination. If this is not available, I will cancel the booking. Luckily, I had not handed over the XUV to them and I told him I will handover the XUV only if I get email conformation from the dealer about the booking confirmation. I was about to handover XUV the next day and I told him I am cancelling that appointment.

I waited for couple of days and sales manager confirmed that he can arrange Super White with brown interior from a different Nandi Toyota branch (Kanakpura), and I agreed for that. Exchanged the XUV next day (11-Nov-2019) and finished the booking formalities.

Parting Shot of the XUV:

The XUV served me well. I took it to many places and have loads of memories. No hiccups or major repairs during the period. Only regular maintenance was done. It was running on stock clutch and had no signs of wear. I had clocked 80K Kms in 6 years. 5th and 6th year, the usage was bit less because I had a Polo GT TSI which was used for local commute. On the mileage front, I was getting 12-13 kmpl. Consumed around 7000 Liters of fuel in 6 years. I always track each fueling and I always do empty to full tank refill. I have the fuel logs for all my vehicles.

PDI:

After a couple of weeks, the stock arrived at Nandi Toyota Kanakpura branch and I requested a PDI. Some photos from the PDI on 7-Dec-2019. I followed the checklist from Team BHP for doing the PDI. Verified VIN, tyre Manufacturing, km reading, paint etc.

Some images captured during the PDI:

Delivery (19-Dec-2019):

The delivery process was really smooth. I reached the showroom on the agreed time (after lunch). An executive was assigned to me, and he did the handover of documents, explained the features with demo and clicked some pictures for me. Overall well planned process. I had a special request related to FastTag which was goofed up. Much before the delivery, I had inquired about the FastTag details. I was using the ICICI FastTag, and it had an option of adding multiple tags to one account. The advantage is that I can transfer balances and can manage all tags with just one login. I told the executive in advance and gave all my account details. But he issued an independent one during the delivery which I did not accept. What I learned is that Toyota follows a process and they are very rigid. They cannot adapt to small change requests like this. It took another week to get the new tag after many follow-ups.

Another issue I faced was with the RC card. Ideally it should have reached my address in 1 - 2 months after delivery. I did not get it even at the end of February 2020 (after 3 months). I had to call up the sales person from Nandi Toyota multiple times and finally he collected the RC card and shipped it to my address via courier(March 1st week 2020). After multiple follow-ups, he shared the tracking details and by then the lockdown had started. This was sent to my office address and later the courier person in my office collected it. I could not collect it from him till June 2020 because of lockdown. I finally collected the RC card end of June 2020 (after 6 months). I had the picture of the RC card till then, and of course the mParivahan application for online verification.

Accessories fitted:

  • Dash Camera from XUV.
  • Auto Folding Mirror as additional accessory.
  • Mild sun film.
  • Front under run.
  • Rear under run.
  • Side cladding.
  • Rear bumper skid plate.
  • Number plate frame.
  • Ceramic coating - from Esperto Car Care.

Initially I decided to take minimal accessories from Toyota and fit them from aftermarket. This did not work out for me unfortunately. I went to Car Shringar, JCRoad as this had 4+ rating in Google. They told me they have stock for front and rear under run at half the cost. But the quality of the material was not good, it was not fitting well and they started using glue which I rejected. By then, they had already damaged the bumper in few places and I had to get it repaired. I then went back to Toyota and got the original accessory fixed. Even though the price is a bit on higher side, the quality is very different and fitting perfectly aligns to the bumper shape. Lost some money and peace of mind. Lesson learnt too.

Detailing:

In my XUV, I did SmartWax from Pete's, and every 3 - 6 months it had to be redone. I took the AMC for initial 3 years. My experience was not smooth there. I faced some real challenges and once I had to tow the vehicle because water entered the ECU during wash and the car refused to start. After that, I was maintaining the car myself with waxing done by me every 3 months.

I heard good feedback with ceramic coating and this time I wanted to try it. I did some research and found Esperto Car Care providing good service. Mr. Ojus guided me and answered all queries. He preferred to do this just after delivery and I agreed. I dropped the car after delivery directly at his showroom. He needed 2 days to finish the work and shared some pictures with me during the process. The vehicle was delivered on 21-Dec-2019.

Few images after the process:

 I wash the car myself and I only do it on demand. I dust the car with a Jopasu duster, and only if it is too dirty I wash the car. I noticed even after 1.5 years, the hydrophobic effect on the car was very good. I have taken additional 4 year AMC also and did my first AMC visit in September 2021 (after 1.5 years). Next service will be due in December 2022. The service needs one full day, I had to drop the car and then pick it up next day. Overall good experience so far.

Hydrophobic effect after one year:

Tail End:

2 years have passed with multiple lockdowns. The Fortuner just crossed 12k kmss with 4 services. I am now really happy to have selected the Fortuner over the Ford Endeavour. Ford's exit from India will heavily affect the service and resale. Additionally with many BS6 DPF issues getting reported, I feel the decision to get BS4 was the right choice. Really glad that I made that decision with the help of this community.

Continue reading scorpio_fan's review for BHPian comments, insights and more information.

 
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