Toyota Fortuner 2.7 SRZ 4X4 – Test Drive Review
Having been introduced about 12 years ago, the Fortuner is one of the youngest members in the vast Toyota family. The big SUV was conceived out of the IMV (International Multi-purpose Vehicles) project and shares its platform with the Hilux pick-up truck. UMW Toyota Motor has assembled and sold over 20,000 units of the Fortuner since the production kicked off in Shah Alam in 2005.
That is some background on the original Fortuner. So what has its much awaited successor got to offer? Launched in Malaysia two months ago, the second generation Fortuner brings a much more upmarket appearance in response to feedback from customers and market trends. It even has a unique ‘floating roof’ design feature at the rear similar to its flashy cousin – the Lexus RX.
However, changes for the Fortuner go beyond the superficial. The seven-seater has also gone through extensive mechanical upgrades where everything is designed to simply provide an overall better experience.
To cater to different buyer groups, two variants of the Fortuner are offered – the Fortuner 2.4 VRZ with a newly developed turbodiesel engine and the Fortuner 2.7 SRZ. The latter sports the same petrol engine as before, only it’s been improved with a few upgrades including Dual VVT-i for optimum efficiency and better response.
We managed to get our hands on the 2.7 SRZ, which is essentially a more equipped version of the two that comes with a RM199,900 price – that is an RM13,000 premium over the 2.4 VRZ. Apart from the drivetrain, the range-topping variant sets itself apart with features such as bi-LED projector headlamps with auto function, LED daytime running lights, puddle lamps as well as LED tail lights.
The Fortuner may have a pickup truck platform lying underneath its drop-dead gorgeous body but its cabin has the same quality and comfort that of a proper Japanese sedan. Soft-touch materials combined with metallic finishing and wood trims exude a little bit of luxury, while precise driving ergonomics somehow ease the transition from driving a normal passenger car to something as tall as this. According to Toyota, the appointment of executive chief engineer Hiroki Nakajima who brings his experience in cars plays a big part in creating the Fortuner’s cosy interior.
With a 2,745 mm wheelbase, the Fortuner is the vehicle for those with families. Ia has a three-row seating layout and can haul up to seven passengers at one time. While the vehicle may be a little tall for some, ingress and egress are made easy thanks to the side steps and grab handles placed on the A- and B-pillars.
The seats in the second row can be folded easily via a one-touch lever, so getting into the third row is pretty effortless. In case you need more space, the second row backrests fold 60:40, while the third-row seats fold 50:50 and can be folded to the sides in a just a few steps. In real life, these layouts are not only useful for those with children but to adventure lovers as well.
Dads out there will appreciate the fact that the cabin provides plenty of features for the ease and comfort of passengers such as second and third-row air vents complete with a rear control panel. Cooled glovebox and cupholders aside, as many as three 12V sockets are provided so your children can have their smartphones fully charged while travelling.
For in-car entertainment, the variant offers six speakers and an audio system with DVD player, USB/AUX/Bluetooth as well as a voice recognition system. For those who want set up a mini theater for the children so they are well entertained along the way, an optional 10.2-inch monitor is also offered by UMW Toyota. The unit interfaces with the infotainment system and its audio output can be directed through the Fortuner’s original speakers.
Moving on to the drive. The 2.7 liter four-cylinder petrol engine roars as it is fired up before it settles down quietly in idle. While the metallic rumble is audible from the outside, noise level in the cabin is very low and the engine is hardly heard even with the radio off. It’s evident that the insulation around the engine bay and cabin has improved and Nakajima’s expertise in the making of passenger cars has been put into use.
Even with a kerb weight of more than 2,000 kg, the Fortuner has little to complain when it comes to accelerating, even from a standstill. 166 PS and 245 Nm of torque provided by the engine seem enough to propel the SUV. This is helped further by the six-speed automatic transmission, which has an extra ratio for better acceleration at the lower end and efficient cruising speed. The driving can be fine-tuned through the ECO or Power mode buttons placed close to the gear lever.
On the open road, the Fortuner is happy to be driven at speeds around 120 km/h. Engine noise is kept at a minimum, and is only heard when the accelerator pedal is depressed and the RPM needle creeps over the 3,000 mark. The Bridgestone Dueler Highway Terrain tyres comfortable and quiet enough to be used on most types of our road surfaces.
Apart from stability, the suspension system which comprises a double wishbone up front and four-link coil springs at the rear offer a praiseworthy level of comfort especially when facing with poor road conditions. Irregularities and bumpy surfaces are absorbed well, while the well-padded leather seats mitigated any sort of vibrations from the tyres.
Feedback from its power-assisted hydraulic steering is definitely there, especially when the vehicle is made to work around the bends. With assistance from features such as the newly added Active Traction Control (A-TRC) which mimics the functions of limited-slip differential, the Fortuner proves its worth as the SUV that can do it all.
Of course, there’s a price to pay for that handsome look and all the brawn that come with it. Compared to its seven-seater rivals, the Fortuner is the priciest of the lot with a price of RM186,900 for the 2.4 VRZ and RM19,900 for the 2.7 SRZ. That said, with such performance and the level of quality often associated with the brand, the prices mentioned don’t seem too dear. Not to mention it also comes with a five-year warranty with unlimited mileage.
Toyota Fortuner 2.7 SRZ AT 4×4 Specifications
Engine: four cylinder, DOHC Dual VVT-i
Power: 166PS @ 5,200rpm
Torque: 245Nm @ 4,000rpm
Transmissiom: 6-speed, automatic
Top speed: –