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Toyota Fortuner 2.7 SRZ – Blending two different natures

POSTED BY Amirul Hazmi ON 11 May 2017

Who doesn’t know the Toyota Hilux? It is the mother of all pickup trucks if you are defining it by capability and durability. Need to access rural villages? Bring the Hilux. Visiting the construction site? Take the Hilux. The pickup truck has been deployed in the most extreme conditions and is able to execute given tasks without issue.

But to some folks, the Hilux might be too rough for daily use and the bed (trunk space) will not be fully-utilised most of the time.

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So instead, here is the Fortuner, which is technically a Hilux with a sleeker appearance and plusher interior. UMW Toyota Motor brought in the Fortuner in two variants, differentiated by the engine and fuel type.

The petrol-powered 2.7SRZ is priced from RM183,800 while the diesel-powered 2.4 VRZ is priced from RM175,400. We sampled the petrol variant to figure out how the new Fortuner fares in being an urban SUV.

Appearance

If we compare the new model to the previous-generation Fortuner, the new one is both longer and wider, measuring at 4,795mm in length (4,705mm on the previous model)and 1,855mm in width (1,840mm).

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The headlights and tail lights are slim and pulled to the side of the vehicle, emphasising the wide and long proportions of the Fortuner.

The SUV’s exterior displays a seamless blend of ruggedness and sleekness. This is due to the bold front fascia that features a chrome grill and a slimmer lower grill that encapsulates the fog lights. The blacked-out C and D pillars as well as LED tail lights also highlight the vehicle’s sleek appearance.

While the diesel VRZ is equipped with halogen projector units and bulb daytime-running lights, the petrol SRZ looks more upmarket as it gets bi-LED headlamps with LED daytime-running lights.

Cabin

Inside, the Fortuner is more modern from before and feels more luxurious compared to the current-generation Hilux, the vehicle it shares the platform with. The dashboard is constructed with a combination of hard plastics and soft surfaces of different shades, translating to a livelier look.

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The steering wheel on the 2.7 SRZ is leather-wrapped with wood and silver trims, and includes four-way multi-information display controls to ensure hand movement away from the steering wheel is minimised.

Dominating the centre console is a DVD-AVN player with an eight-inch multi-touch display and HDMI, MP3, USB, Bluetooth and smartphone connectivity. The head unit is linked to six-speakers, providing decent audio quality.

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Compared to the tough and rather huge dimensions of the exterior, the Fortuner feels quite compact from the inside. This might be due to the thick doors and construction panels surrounding the cabin.

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With leather seats all around, the SRZ also has an eight-way powered driver’s seat and four-way powered front passenger seat. There are no complaints on ergonomics or comfort in the Fortuner, as it is a comfortable for both city and highway driving.

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Practicality starts to shine in the second row, where seats can be split-folded 60:40, and 50:50 for the third-row seats. Both rows fold via an easy ‘one-touch tumble’ mechanism, making it very handy for ferrying the kids to school. There’s also a powered tailgate on the 2.7 SRZ.

Accessibility to the third-row seats is not a hassle, but the seats may not be suitable for tall adults as the floor feels quite high. However, passengers at the second and third row will remain cool from the overhead air-conditioning vents installed.

Powertrain

Open the hood of the Fortuner and you’ll discover a 2.7-litre inline-four engine. The 2TR-FE unit is almost identical to the one powering the previous-generation Fortuner, however, while the previous-generation’s engine is a VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with intelligence) unit, the new Fortuner’s 2.7-litre mill is Dual VVT-i.

It produces 164hp at 5,200rpm and a healthy 245Nm of torque at 4,000rpm. Buyers of the diesel 2.4 VRZ will get slightly less power at 148hp but a whopping more torque at 400Nm. Both engines are paired to a new six-speed automatic transmission. Since this is the 2.7 SRZ, the SUV is further equipped with steering-mounted paddle-shifters.

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Built on a ladder-frame chassis means the Fortuner needs to be capable of tackling rough terrain when the need arises. The car is fitted with traditional and mechanical 4WD systems, operated via a 4WD Transfer Dial. It enables the driver to conveniently switch from 2WD to 4WD at speeds of up to 100km/h.

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The rear differential can also be fully-locked if the car is stuck in mud or on undulating surfaces and can be operated below 5km/h at a press of a button.

Behind The Wheel

Once you are behind the wheel of the Fortuner, you will immediately realise how high the vehicle is.

Outward visibility is as good as those in sedan-based crossover SUVs. The Fortuner’s cockpit allows the driver to be within easy reach of the necessary controls to manoeuvre its huge and tall body.

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The 2.7-litre engine runs smoothly and is very quiet. With 164hp and 245Nm of torque at my disposal, the numbers may seem high for a naturally-aspirated petrol-fed engine, but I don’t actually feel the car performs according to what it has. The Dual VVT-i might have been tuned for comfort and fuel efficiency as the throttle response is rather slow and the engine takes some time to really churn its power.

Even so, the Fortuner does have ‘ECO MODE’ and ‘PWR MODE’ buttons to alter its behaviour.

In ECO MODE, the engine revs slightly slower and tends to upshift earlier. Whereas in PWR MODE, throttle response reacts with more urgency. The six-speeder also upshifts in the higher rev range.

The brakes feel rather spongy but they offer enough bite to ensure the 2-tonne mass stops safely.

In terms of the overall ride, the new Fortuner is noticeably more composed and firmer than the previous model. However, body roll is still present during high speed turns.

Safety

UMW Toyota Motor has significantly increased the number of active safety features fitted to the Fortuner. The car now gets ABS with EBD (anti-lock braking system with electronic braking distribution), brake assist, VSC (vehicle stability control), A-TRC (active traction control), HAC (hill-start assist control), ESS (emergency stop signal) and TSC (trailer sway control) that come standard on the 2.7 SRZ.

Other safety features include seven SRS airbags, three-point seatbelts and ISOFIX points on the second-row seats.

Verdict

Despite sharing the same platform with the Hilux, the Toyota Fortuner shows how modern and comfortable it can be compared to its pickup sibling. It successfully displays Toyota’s new design language while combining rugged looks with sleek proportions.

The car fits well in the city and has high ground clearance. Naturally, you tend to be extra cautious when driving the Fortunerthrough those low-ceiling parking entrances.

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With its all-wheel-drive capability and built-to-last suspension, the Fortuner easily tackles rough terrains, and with its upmarket cabin, is suitable for long distance trips.

Urban families might find the Fortuner to be an over-capable people-mover if they are not the outgoing type or those who enjoy the outdoors.

The 2.7 SRZ Fortuner returns a decent 11km/L on the highways and roughly 9.1L/100km in the city.

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