Toyota Fortuner Legender 4x4 AT: Test drive and observations

I would definitely enjoy occasional drives in the Fortuner, although I’m not sure I’d want it as a full time flagship vehicle in my house.

BHPian Axe77 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I recently had the chance to test drive my friend’s Fortuner Legender 4x4 A/T during a planned golf outing at Karjat (he lives in Pune while I’m in Bombay).

Met sort of near ND Studios on the Karjat route and then drove the car towards Matheran. I can’t recall exactly but may have been a 20 - 25 km drive maybe on undivided tar / concrete road (mix) with a smattering of potholes.

This is really not purporting to be a full scale review - just my brief observations.

Some of the observations may simply come from either my automobile preferences or in some cases my primary frame of reference which is a 3GT. That is not to say that I am comparing it per se to the 3GT but just because its my most direct frame of reference. Incidentally, over the last week, I have driven this brand new Legender and also “been driven” for about 400 kms in a 2013 4,00,000 km run in MP. Some interesting Fortuner experiences in less than a week.

With that prologue, here goes:

  • The car definitely looks more modern and this is most welcome on the interiors. The interiors are much plusher with a lot of soft touch material and definitely a far cry from the older Fortuner. It’s definitely not Kodiaq plush (or even Compass plush) on the interiors but the interiors are a MUCH nicer place to be now. Basically, a welcome step up from the last gen Fortuner but still a clear segment below other monocoque comparables like the Tiguan / Compass or for that matter (now moot) even the Endeavour).
  • Exterior: Ironically this is where I actually preferred the older Fortuner - for some reason it just looks more butch and I don’t necessarily prefer the more Lexus like face they’ve tried to give the Toyota. I don’t mind it for sure but the old school look of the last gen Fortuner appealed more to me.
  • At the wheel: Even though you “climb” into the Fortuner, once inside somehow one doesn’t feel the size of the car and once on the move I got comfortable with the size very quickly. The car has an amazingly commanding view point and I quite enjoyed driving with this position.

However, I am just used to gaining speed much more quickly with the GT and I could feel its lumbering size when it comes to accelerating up to speeds, sort of aware that it would need a bit more margin to brake this beast smoothly.

  • Sideways movement can generally be felt but I can imagine this car being comfortable for long journeys. What makes it quite tireless to drive is the way it completely dispatches small potholes that are smattered all across our highways. Not having to brake too much for these itself takes away an element of driving fatigue. These can barely be felt inside.
  • The steering is better than earlier maybe but its still not a razor sharp steering with a slight dead centre. Nothing fatal though and perhaps my GT frame of reference is unreasonably causing me to observe this.
  • Just yesterday, I was seeing a Kodiaq and a Fortuner driving side by side in front of my car - just intuitively it reaffirmed to me that my general preference would still veer a bit more to the large monocques rather than the full size BOF options.
  • While the paddle shifters are a big draw, I didn’t find them as sharp in operation as I expected. Maybe the reason is that the automatic in D mode is running the car in a high gear so maybe it required a couple of downshift taps to really feel the engine braking.
  • You can really feel the strength and pull of the engine and once it gathers steam its like a locomotive. Again, my frame of reference is skewed though because the on tap performance of the GT is still completely next level. But I can imagine this Fortuner being completely satisfactory on the power front, specially if you were pulling on uphill ghat roads etc.

All in all, the cars reeks sophistication, has phenomenal presence, and if you want munch several 100k miles in the most predicable and comfortable fashion, the Fortuner will do it - NO QUESTIONS ASKED. I can completely imagine why this vehicle makes so much sense for so many regardless of the steep asking price. I can also understand why this (mostly BOF designs) DO NOT make sense for many others. Ultimately its about driving style preferences I guess.

I would definitely enjoy occasional drives in the Fortuner, although I’m not sure I’d want it as a full time flagship vehicle in my house. If I had money for only one 50L car, unlikely I’d pick the Fortuner. If I could own one as a second or third car, yes - it might get closer consideration.

Some pics from our brief drive which included a stopover at the Saltt coffee shop:

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