Ahead-on look at the Fortuner will give you the impression that this car is all new. Sharp lines replace the outdated rounded forms, and the wider wraparound headlights and chin give it a fuller-looking face.
With cuts on the bonnet bumper and chin, this Toyota SUV looks more like the higher-end Land Cruiser though.
Toyota has updated the cabin of the Fortuner, and though it hasn't done as thorough a job as with the exteriors, perceived quality has definitely gone up, and that's certainly appreciated.
The swathe of piano black wood running across the dash is quite impressive, the Camry steering wheel looks better than the Innova wheel that was used earlier.You also get a reversing camera, powered seats and even cruise control, a feature that would come handy on the highway. The biggest change, however, is that the Fortuner now gets an automatic gearbox. You get three regular forward gears plus one overdrive, making it as simple as a spanner.
With 35kgm of torque produced from just 1,400rpm, the Fortuner has plenty of pulling power. What also helps performance is that this two-wheel-drive automatic Fortuner is 95kg lighter than the four-wheel-drive manual.
Toyota's 3.0-litre engine is also pretty smooth, so pottering around town with the high-geared motor is really relaxing. Things are pretty smooth out on the highway too. The Fortuner accelerates well on half-throttle; the big diesel motor ambling along, and getting to its natural cruising speed of approximately 130kph is no sweat either. Motorheads would love this.
Things, however, get a bit sticky when you're in a hurry. The gearbox's lack of ratios and sluggish nature mean kickdowns are only executed after a pause. Still, the automatic Fortuner is no slouch and in fact, is much quicker than the manual four-wheel-drive car in a straight line. It is a second faster to 100kph at 11.8 seconds, three seconds faster to 140kph - which comes up in 23.9sec.
Seldom are loaded SUVs great cars for drivers - the physics just aren't in their favour - and the Fortuner is no different. Body roll is still considerable, body control is loose, and it feels progressively top-heavy the harder you drive. The light steering doesn't help either.
What Toyota has improved considerably are the brakes. The pedal feel is better, and you don't need to pay attention to braking as much as you had to earlier. Economy wise, the Fortuner 2WD Auto isn't too bad. We got 7.8kpl in the city and 12.7kpl on the highway.