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Test Drive Review: 2016 Toyota Fortuner

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The Toyota Fortuner nameplate may not boast a history as long as the Corolla or Camry, but remains a popular model nonetheless.

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Recently launched as a second generation model, the Toyota Fortuner ditches its utilitarian looks, opting for a considerably more upmarket appeal, both inside and out.

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Outside, it is very evident that Toyota has actually put in some thought into the design of the new Fortuner, dropping the predecessor’s bland but inoffensive looks. Now, the Fortuner isn’t easily mistaken for its stablemates, featuring a very bold front fascia adorned with various chrome bits. Whilst the grille remains chrome, the horizontal slats have been reduced, giving the Fortuner a more aggressive visual appeal. The front fog lights now feature chrome surrounds too, and LED headlights are standard for the 2.7 SRZ.

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As you move towards the side profile of the new Fortuner, the most eye-catching feature is perhaps the kink at the C-pillar, breaking the monotonous lines of its predecessor. Our range-topping 2.7 SRZ model came fitted with 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped with highway terrain rubbers. Towards the rear, Toyota has dropped the old model’s bulbous tail lights with a pair of sleeker looking units, with LED illumination. The Fortuner nameplate is proudly placed across the number plate garnish.

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What puts the new Toyota Fortuner above its rivals is the new model’s interior, which has seen a major rework. I get the impression that the interior was put together very well, as fit and finish was perfect. Every switch and button had sufficient tactile feedback with cool blue backlights. On top of that, our test unit featured an Optitron meter cluster that certainly helped visibility and aesthetic visual appeal.

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Sitting right smack in the centre of the dashboard is a factory-fitted DVD-AVN infotainment system with a large eight-inch touchscreen display. A reverse camera is also at hand, though from my experience, video quality is grainy with lack of contrast. The DVD-AVN system also takes a while to boot-up and requires the driver to dismiss the warning before media is played. Despite that, audio quality is excellent from its 6-speaker system.

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For the range-topping Fortuner, power is derived from a 2.7-litre 2TR-FE four-cylinder petrol engine, similar to its predecessor’s powerplant, but with several enhancements. New to the Fortuner is the availability of Dual-VVTi, which improves overall performance. The Fortuner now does 166 PS at 5,200 rpm and 245 Nm at 4,000, mated to a new six-speed automatic.

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On the move, the 245 Nm is sufficient to get the 2 tonne plus SUV moving and coupled with the smooth shifting six speed automatic makes for a pleasant drive. Engine noise is relatively well suppressed from the cabin, though it can sound raucous when revved to the red-line.

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But why not fit a diesel engine into the Fortuner? The entry-level Fortuner 2.4 VRZ boasts a newer powerplant from Toyota’s Global Diesel (GD) lineup, with substantially more torque (400 Nm). I feel that instead of offering a choice of petrol and diesel engines, the Fortuner could have been offered with just a diesel engine option. During my time with the Fortuner, I noticed that fuel consumption was rather poor, averaging 6.2 km/L. Bear in mind that my drives mostly involved crawling through jams and not much highway cruising. I do believe that a diesel engine would return favouable figures.

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Elsewhere, the ride quality is a little on the firm side, though sound insulation is top notch. Tire and wind noise isn’t an issue for the new Fortuner, but rough and bumpy roads may pose an issue. Perhaps models fitted with the heavier diesel engine could load the suspension better, resulting in possibly better ride comfort. That aside, the Fortuner is still king when it comes to offroad excursions.

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What about the price? Well, our range-topping Fortuner 2.7 SRZ carries with it a price tag of RM199,900, on the road with insurance. It is a hefty sum, no doubt. But, for that it’s worth, the Fortuner is worth every penny. The interior is plush enough to pass off as a Lexus SUV, and there’s the solid Toyota reliability to back the Fortuner up. However, for those wanting a diesel option may have to settle for the entry-level Fortuner 2.4 VRZ, or until UMW Toyota Motor decides to offer a better equipped model.

Specifications: Toyota Fortuner 2.7 SRZ

Price: RM199,900 (OTR with insurance)
Engine: 2.7-litre inline-4 2TR-FE with Dual VVT-i
Horsepower: 166 PS@ 5,200 rpm
Torque: 245 Nm @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission: Six speed automatic

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