Toyota Fortuner Off-Road Experience
The second generation Toyota Fortuner looks very intimidating with the aggressive styling
Toyota has launched the new generation Fortuner in India that was highly anticipated by the SUV loving crowd of our country. We drove the new Fortuner ahead of its launch in Kochi and now we specifically test its off-road capabilities. Toyota had arranged an Experiential Drive Camp in several parts of the country including Mumbai’s Film City area, where we went and pushed the new SUV to its limits.
In terms of looks, the new Fortuner is a big leap ahead of its predecessor. The design language is now sleeker and makes the Fortuner look sharp without having any boxy proportions. The slim projector LED headlights and tail lights make it look aggressive while the heavily sculpted bumper adds to the presence of this massive SUV. We Indians love chrome and Toyota has offered lots of it on the exteriors.
The interiors now look much more premium with the dark brown upholstery, wood-grained ornamentation and the LED ambient lights that lift the mood of the cabin. The new Toyota Fortuner also comes loaded with features including a 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system, 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat, smart key with push button start, cruise control, electric tailgate, dual-zone climate control system and much more.
The Toyota Fortuner Experiential Drive Camp showed us the off-road prowess of the new SUV on terrains like steep inclines, descents, slush, deep water and articulation. To tackle these obstacles, we got a four-wheel drive 2.8-litre diesel engine powered Fortuner that produces 177 PS of power and 450 Nm of torque with the 6-speed automatic variant.
This SUV is just unstoppable offering a blend of both off-road and comfort
As you climb into the cabin, you get a commanding view all around and the bonnet is clearly visible, which is ideal for off-roading. First up we tested the suspension of the new Fortuner that has been stiffened up to handle rough terrains. The SUV is much better than before offering a more comfortable ride, which we tested on the Chicken Holes track.
The four-wheel drive system of the new Fortuner works along with Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), Downhill Assist Control (DAC) and Active Traction Control (A-TRC). Instead of the high maintenance locking differential, the new gen Fortuner comes with Active Traction Control that senses the traction on all four wheels individually and accordingly transfers power to the wheel having good traction. This feature worked really well on the articulation test where the Fortuner locked the wheel in the air and transferred the extra power to the wheels having better traction.
The new suspension setup of the Toyota Fortuner can take all kinds of beating
Toyota had quite a realistic and natural off-road track at the Experiential Drive Camp in Mumbai. The slush section and steep inclines appeared to be extreme but the Fortuner tackled each and every obstacle like a cake walk. Before entering the off-road track, we had put the car in low-ratio 4×4 mode with Downhill Assist Control on. Now while on the steep descent, you don’t need to press the brake/accelerator with DAC, it automatically maintains and modulates the speed while descending on its own.
Now the Traction Control also comes to work while driving on the slush. First we went slowly on the slush, which felt like driving on a regular surface in the Fortuner. The second time we went with full throttle kicking up some mud in the air and the Fortuner handled it with great poise and composure without losing its track. Then we tested the Hill Assist Control while taking a steep incline. When you stop mid-way while going up, the Fortuner doesn’t roll back and holds its position for 5 seconds in which you can accelerate again to complete the incline.
You can easily take the Toyota Fortuner off the road without thinking twice
The new Toyota Fortuner has a water wading capacity of 700 mm. It just goes through deep water without hesitating and you won’t feel anything too while driving in deep water apart from getting nervous seeing the water just below the car’s shoulder line. We also drove on a ramp-over angle of 40 degrees that makes your blood run cold seeing the extent to which the Fortuner tilts but this SUV has some skills up its sleeves to tackle such terrains.
At the end of the day we were quite thrilled with the capabilities of the all new Fortuner at the Experiential Drive Camp. The extreme off-roading and slush bashing made it look even more rugged with the amount of mug it was covered in. All in all, the new Toyota Fortuner is a perfect SUV for daily usage, weekend getaways and most importantly for those occasional off-road adventures.