The Toyota Fortuner has always proved to be a brawny, rugged, go-anywhere and reliable SUV. Even after all these years, it still continues to sell in good numbers, even in its latest-generation avatar. The new Fortuner is more radical than ever and comes with a luxurious, well equipped cabin. We take the Fortuner to fight against the updated Ford Endeavour which is solidly built, dynamically very capable and equally comfortable as well.
The older Fortuner looked like it would go through a wall and come out in one whole piece, but the new Fortuner, while butch, looks more contemporary and very Lexus-inspired. At the front, it gets a big three-slat chrome grille, flanked by stylistic all-LED headlamps with DRLs, giving it a very sleek appeal from the front. Along the sides, it boasts of flared wheel arches and massive 18-inch wheels. At the rear too, the tail lights are tastefully done and are merged together a broad band of chrome in the middle.
The Endeavour looks like one of those, proper, in-your-face American SUVs with its huge three-slat, chrome grille, flanked by large rectangular headlights. It also gets a silver-finished skid plate below that continues on to the bumper, surrounding the fog lights as well. The high-set bonnet is massive; so are the wheel arches on the sides, while the rear boasts of simplistic, yet big tail lights joined by a broad strip of chrome. Like the front, it gets the skid plate treatment at the rear too.
The cabin is refreshingly new, is beautifully designed and is spacious. The dashboard is well built and the sloping affect gives it a sense of solidity. You tend to have a commanding view from the driver’s seat, thanks to the high seats. The front seats offer good comfort and there’s ample space provided too. The cabin still remains functional with the touchscreen and AC controls tilted towards the passengers in the front. The instrument cluster is backlit in blue and the digital centre screen gets a trip computer. Everything feels well screwed together, and the quality of plastics are durable. Some leather bits do give it an upmarket feel. The seats at the rear are very comfortable as well, and the cabin feels airy, thanks to the big windows. The interior is all-black though. Occupants at the rear will be comfortable with good support on offer and an adjustable backrest. However, the second row is best used only by two occupants. The third row though, has a high floor and a low seat.
The cabin of the updated Endeavour looks largely similar to the old one, which means, the fit and finish, plastics, design and feel still continue to exude a premium feel. The dashboard, steering and centre console remain untouched. The multimedia screen is new though and uses Sync 3. Touch response is instant, the resolution is impressive and the sound system is great. It gets Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, in-built navigation and lots of other features. Inside the cabin, it is silent and comfortable. The seats are nice and huge, supportive and well cushioned. There’s a lot of room offered too. The second and third row seats split and fold as well. Some plastics though, could’ve had a better feel to them.
The Toyota Fortuner comes equipped with leather upholstery, automatic LED projector headlamps, keyless entry and go, eight-way power adjust driver seat, 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, LED daytime-running lamps, electric adjust and retractable wing mirrors, rear air-con vents, one-touch-tumble second row seats, Eco and Power drive modes, auto climate control, powered tailgate with memory function for opening height, rear parking sensors, ABS, seven airbags, paddle shifters and cruise control, stability control, hill descent control and hill-hold assist.
In the Endeavour, you get features like driver knee airbag, front parking sensors, 18-inch diamond cut alloy wheels, automatic day/night inside rear view mirror, ambient lighting, panoramic sunroof, 8-way power adjustable driver and passenger seats, power folding third row, semi-auto parallel park assist, one-touch up and down electric windows with anti-pinch feature, 8.0-inch infotainment screen with SYNC3 system, Bluetooth connectivity, two USB ports, Android Auto and Apple Car Play, 10-speaker music system with sub-woofer and power amplifier, steering-mounted controls, active noise cancellation system, leather upholstery, steering wheel and gear knob, hands-free powered tailgate, push button start/stop system, 8-way power adjustable driver seat, dual-zone climate control, rear AC with roof vents for second and third row, tilt adjust steering wheel, power folding and adjustable ORVMs, front central armrest storage and Illuminated and lockable glove box.
Performance & Handling
The Fortuner we’re driving is powered by a 2.8-litre diesel engine that makes 174bhp and 420Nm of torque, paired to a 6-speed manual gearbox. There’s a drastic improvement is refinement and performance, and we love the responsive nature of the engine. It has a strong mid-range and it overtakes on highways in an effortless manner. Power delivery is linear in normal mode, but the motor feels a little hesitant at low revs. In Sport mode, the responsive nature of the engine is more apparent. And the 6-speed manual isn’t particularly smooth. The SUV bounces about on bad roads quite a bit, but the steering feels nice and weighty and direct. Body roll is evident around corners though.
The Ford Endeavour we’re driving is powered by a 3.2-litre, five-cylinder diesel engine that makes 200bhp and 470Nm of torque. Paired to the engine is a 6-speed automatic gearbox. A slight dab on the throttle, and the Endeavour will surge ahead without any hesitation. And you’ll be cruising at three-digit speeds within no time. There’s a lot of torque on offer, but taking it to its redline results in lots of engine noise. The Endeavour absorbs bumps with aplomb; its ride quality is really the best. The steering is nice and quick, and it handles well for what is a body-on-ladder SUV.
The new Fortuner is a huge step-up over the old SUV. It feels premium, comes with a capable diesel engine, is big on space and has an uplifting cabin ambiance. But the ride is firm, and cabin quality could’ve been better. The Endeavour is better equipped in comparison, is solidly built, is very spacious and comes with a breadth of off-roading talents that bowls you over. For us, the Endeavour wins this test.