Preview: India-bound new-generation Toyota Fortuner
The new-generation Fortuner was launched in Australia last year, and now Toyota India is planning to bring it in India. The new Fortuner will be based on the TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform that also underpins the Hilux and the Innova. With this new platform, we believe that the 2016 Fortuner will offer better ride and handling. The new-generation Fortuner is expected to reach Indian showrooms by the end of this year or in early 2017.
The Toyota Fortuner has been one of the most successful offerings by the Japanese car manufacturer. Launched in 2009, the Fortuner is assembled at the company's plant in Bidadi, Karnataka. One of the reasons for the Fortuner's popularity includes its massive street presence along with its impressive motor. The area where this SUV faced severe criticism was its dated interior, similar to that of the previous-generation Innova. However, with the new Fortuner, Toyota has addressed all of that by offering a premium feature loaded cabin. Even in terms of design, the new Fortuner gets an aggressive design language. On its launch in India, the new Fortuner will compete with the Chevrolet Trailblazer and the new Ford Endeavour.
Toyota India has already started testing the new Fortuner in the country as test mules have been spotted in and around Bangalore. In profile, the front has got more aggressive than before. It gets a revised headlight design with dual-beam LED projectors and LED DRLs, as seen on the international version. There is generous use of chrome on the radiator grille as well as on the new fog lamp housing. From images, the chrome treatment looks a bit loud though the same might attract attention in India. The bumper sports a more detailed design with sculpted contours.
The side profile does retain the overall silhouette but gets a new window line. The most distinct bit is the kink on the C-pillar, post which there is a stretched section between the C- and the D-pillar. The other features include contrasting roof rails and side step. The alloy-wheel design too has been updated. The mid-range variants will come with 17-inch wheels while the top-end trims will sport 18-inch wheels. Toyota might also bring the TRD kit on the new Fortuner much like the international version with blackened wheels, roof and chrome-tipped exhaust pipes later on. The rear profile of the Fortuner gets a wrap around windscreen to give it a floating roof design. The tail light design is new and also features new LED light guides.
The new Toyota Fortuner measures 4,795mm in length, 1,855mm in width and 1,835mm in height, making it longer by 90mm, wider by 15mm and shorter by 15mm. The wheelbase has been left unchanged at 2,750mm while the ground clearance has been increased by 5mm to 225mm. This translates to good street presence.
Interior, features and options
The interior of the Toyota Fortuner has always faced criticism for its dated design. The quality of plastic and the cabin feel didn't do justice to the premium tag. However, the new-generation Fortuner gets an updated cabin, plusher materials and better attention to detail. The instrument cluster will be updated and feature a similar design as the new-generation Innova Crysta. The highlight of the cabin will be the updated by 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system similar to the Crysta.
In terms of comfort, with the increase in dimensions, one can expect the legroom and the shoulder room to be better in the new Fortuner. Higher trims will come equipped with leather seats while the base range versions will come with premium quality fabric.
The 2016 Toyota Fortuner has been awarded five-star rating in the ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Program). In terms of safety, the Fortuner comes equipped with seven airbags, vehicle stability control, ABS and hill-start assist control.
The powertrain option that the entry- and mid-range models will come with is a 2.4-litre engine. In the new Innova, this motor makes 150PS at 3,400rpm and generates 343Nm between 1,400-2,800 rpm, paired with a 5-speed manual transmission. The top of the range model will be offered with a 2.8-litre engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. This motor puts out 174PS/360Nm. Both these engines make more numbers than the existing Fortuner in India. Toyota might further tweak the engines to make it suitable for the SUV. Also, the company might look at local assembly of both the engines, in order to price them more competitively.
The other important engine option will be the 2.7-litre petrol engine. This will help Toyota tackle the diesel ban imposed by NGT on vehicles above 2,000cc in Delhi-NCR. Toyota already offers this motor in the Fortuner in the Middle East, wherein it makes 164PS and 245Nm. This motor, in particular, will be offered with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The Fortuner also gets a revised all-wheel drive system, and there's a new differential in place which is said to be more efficient and better secured for off-road driving.
The new Fortuner will compete with the new Ford Endeavour, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and the Chevrolet Trailblazer. Presently, the Fortuner is priced between Rs 25.09-27.94 lakh (ex-Mumbai). We believe the new Toyota Fortuner will be priced between Rs 27-34 lakh.
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