2021 Toyota Fortuner facelift launched at Rs 29.98 lakh, top-spec Legender variant added

Bertrand D'souza Updated: October 15, 2021, 12:18 AM IST

Toyota Motor India Toyota has launched the facelifted Toyota Fortuner, and revised the pricing of the SUV now starting at Rs 29.98 lakh. The Toyota Fortuner has been the bestselling premium 4x4 SUV in the Indian market for well over a decade. In its new avatar, the Fortuner gets a raft of cosmetic changes along with some mechanical changes to spruce up the visual, with a few interior changes as well that freshen up the cabin and better power and torque characteristics. Alongside the new Fortuner, Toyota India has also introduced the Fortuner Legender variant which is a sharper looking version of the Fortuner, albeit priced at a premium. The Legender is priced at Rs 37.58 lakh.

The new Toyota Fortuner carries some significant changes to the front fascia. Its got a new grille design, with a reworked headlamp array and a new LED graphic and larger air intakes placed on the lower corners of the bumper, altering the shape of the bumper. New taillamp array and a new alloy wheel design along with revised splitter on the lower bumpers both front and rear, round of the cosmetic upgrades on the exteriors of the Fortuner. Inside the cabin, there are a few changes, with the overall layout and look staying relatively the same as the previous generation SUV. The instrumentation is a new design, with sharper and more vibrant graphics and the in-cabin ambient lighting also gets some minor revisions. The biggest change, however, comes with the inclusion of connected technology that is par for the course. You get on-board diagnostics, geofencing that allows you to find your car and set off alarms if driven out of the preset area and several other entertainment features that can be accessed on the 8" touchscreen that is also Apple CarPlay compatible.

More importantly, the Fortuner engine has got some significant upgrades. The turbocharger has been updated alongside revisions to the cylinder head that bump up power and torque ratings in the diesel motor. From a 177PS, power has gone up to 204PS  whereas torque has also gone up from 450Nm to 500Nm in the automatic transmission variant. The torque band has also gotten wider, with max torque available up to 2800rpm that will enable better drivability in both on-road and off-road conditions as well as improve fuel efficiency. Toyota has also indicated that the Fortuner could get a hybrid system, but that could be 3-4 years away. The automatic transmission has also been improved to provide a more direct feel with quicker shift times. You can also select a variety of driving modes from Eco to Sport mode that alter the engine maps to deliver quicker shift times and tighten up the steering feel. Incidentally, the steering system for the Fortuner has also been worked on to provide better variable speed control and thus more stability and control over the SUV.

More mechanical changes ensue, the suspension has been reworked as well, with the coil springs and bushing retuned to improve ride comfort.

The Fortuner Legender gets the same updates, but exterior styling is quite different from the standard Fortuner. A more Lexus like appeal is attained with revisions to the front end that make it look sleeker and sharper. A larger grille split by the bumper and black mirror finished plastic surrounds on the sides, sleeker headlamps with a 4-striped LED graphic and smaller intakes give the Legender a sportier stance. Sequential turn indicator LEDs are placed lower down the bumper compared to the standard Fortuner. A reworked rear end, as well as a different air splitter design at both ends, also enhances the overall look and feel of the Fortuner Legender. The Legender also gets a two-tone exterior body paint job, while inside the cabin the only differentiator is the two-tone upholstery.

Toyota Fortuner facelift full price list

4x2 MT petrol: Rs 29.98 lakh

4x2 AT petrol: Rs 31.57 lakh

4x2 MT diesel: Rs 32.48 lakh

4x2 AT diesel: Rs 34.84 lakh

4x4 MT diesel: Rs 35.14 lakh

4x4 AT diesel: Rs 37.43 lakh

Legender 4x2 AT: Rs 37.58 lakh

We also caught up with Yoshiki Konishi, chief engineer of the Toyota Fortuner, to bring us more insights on the Toyota Fortuner and the Fortuner Legender

OVERDRIVE:The Toyota Fortuner has been a fairly successful product for Toyota in India, with over 150,000 units sold since its launch in 2009. Unfortunately, 2020 was a challenging year for everybody. But what are the expectations from the Fortuner in 2021 especially with the facelifted version?

Yoshiki Konishi: With the next-generation Fortuner, we have focused our enhancements on the three points. So the first one is styling. We enhanced the looks to be sleeker and more stylish as per our customer's expectations. And the second point of enhancement is the powertrain, We also enhanced energy power and torque this time. And the third one is connectivity. We introduced connectivity features for the new Fortuner.

OD: Could you elaborate on what were the changes done to improve the engine power and torque. Was it just engine mapping or was there some more work that was done?

YK: For the engines, we have upgraded the turbo size and have changed the turbo axis to ball bearing type. Also, we have introduced a new cylinder head. So, these are the three key improvement items to achieve high power and high torque. Power has gone up by 27PS and 50 Nm with these additions.

OD: Was there any requirement or any need that Toyota saw to make these revisions in the engine? Is this improvement in outputs a global requirement or is this India specific?

YK: This is a global change.

OD: Were there any other improvements required in the drive train as well for the updated Fortuner?

YK: Additionally we have upgraded the transmission to maximize the lock-up stage with the view of giving the driver more direct feedback.

OD: Were the changes to both the manual and the automatic?

YK: The transmission and engine improvements are for only the AT.
OD: Toyota is one of the strongest in the world in hybrid manufacturing technology but that is something we haven't seen on the Fortuner yet. So why hasn't the Fortuner got a hybrid powertrain? And is there any hope of something of that sort to come?

YK: The hybrid system is very important for the Fortuner. But this time we choose the diesel powertrain considering the off-road requirements, as well as mileage, cruising range and torque demand. But in the future, in my personal opinion, we need to introduce a hybrid Fortuner in the Indian market to meet customer expectations and also to meet regulations.

OD: How soon do you think we can see a shift or more emphasis on petrol? Diesel is very important to Toyota. It is a very popular choice for a lot of customers. But regulations are such that it is becoming more difficult and more expensive for consumers to also buy diesel engines, especially with the DPFs coming in and the BSVI upgrade happening. But how soon do you see the shift towards petrol coming?

YK: The timing of the shift away from diesel engines depends on the region. But generally, we need to introduce a hybrid Fortuner for each region in the near future, maybe two to four years later depending on the market's regulations. But in the Indian market, we need to introduce a hybrid system not too far in the future. Sorry, it is difficult to mention a detailed timeline.

OD: One of the things that we saw also that the idling RPM has been reduced from 850 RPM to 680 RPM, correct me if I'm wrong. This is being done to increase traction and also to use the vehicle more efficiently in off-road environments. Am I right in saying so, and secondly, that this also means that peak torque will come in earlier than before?

YK: To answer your first question, the idle rpm has been changed with the aim of giving the driver an appropriate crawling speed during off-road conditions with a benefit to mileage. For the second question, there is no change in torque at the idling 680 RPM. In the new Fortuner, the torque is available in a wider band from 1,600-2,800rpm, up from 1,600-2,600.

OD: Was there also any work done on the suspension to improve the ride quality and handling. With the Fortuner, one of the only differences that we see and this is also because most other SUV segments are currently monocoque chassis. They are not body on frame or ladder frame chassis. But the Fortuner is still a ladder frame chassis. But is there any work done on the suspension to improve the ride quality and to reduce body roll and pitch?

YK: Regarding the ride and comfort performance. We have changed the tuning of the coil spring and bush area to achieve a more comfortable feeling for our customer. But as for the body on frame construction, we seek this structure for the Fortuner so because our customers need our QDR quality. So we have to keep this structure but our customers have also requested us to improve ride comfort.

OD: You also mentioned one more important area of improvement was connectivity. You are now offering connected technologies in the next Fortuner. Could you elaborate a little bit on what exactly these technologies are and what can we look forward to?

YK: We have three key items for our connectivity for the next generation Fortuner. The first one is car diagnosis. And the second is 'find your car'. And the third one is security and a lot more. For example, through car diagnosis, battery health status is available. Under the 'find your car' menu, it's easy to find your vehicle's location.

OD: Are there any other critical changes that were conducted? Apart from the styling? Mechanically are there any other changes that were made to the Fortuner that we need to be aware of in terms of braking, handling and the safety systems onboard?

YK: I would like to inform you of two additional things. The new Fortuner has added two features. So one is the dynamic flow control steering and we will introduce drive modes as well.

OD: In the drive modes, does this change how the steering feels? Or does it only alter the transmission and engine?

YK: Yes, it doesn't alter the steering feel. The changes are to the powertrain and steering with these modes.

OD: There is also a lot of work that Toyota has done on the Legender. Are there significant improvements to the power train and dynamics?

YK: Most of the work on the Legender has been on the styling, to give it a cooler and more futuristic look when compared to the standard Fortuner. We have also added a wireless charger and a hand-free tailgate system to this version.

OD: Will the new powertrain also go into other cars in the Toyota range? Will those also be upgraded? They are all the same platform, so will the Innova also get the upgrade?

YK: The same diesel powertrain is being used on the Land Cruiser Prado and so on.

The writer of this story can be reached @BertrandGDsouza on Twitter and @bertdsouza14 on Instagram

Price (Ex-Delhi)
Starts Rs 29.98 Lakhs
Max Power(ps)
Max Torque(Nm)

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