Filipinos have a love affair with SUVs, not just because of the practicality they offer--their ability to haul your loved ones and cargo with room to spare, or their towering height to wade through floods--but simply because we love them.
The midsize SUV segment is easily the category that has become the most popular over the past 10 years. It has given more Pinoys an opportunity to own a proper utility vehicle, with the likes of the Mitsubishi Pajero and the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado costing practically double the asking price. The midsize SUV also came at a time when diesels were getting better.
With the arrival of the new-generation Toyota Fortuner just around the corner, it’s the last hurrah for the current model, and we're revisiting it for perhaps the final time.
Gunmetal alloy wheels, as well as smoked headlight and taillight clusters definitely give this Fortuner a youthful appearance. The dark bits look particularly good with the silver metallic finish. No wonder it’s the color we see the most. The fog-lamp bezels have also been slightly redesigned.
These are relatively simple updates, but they go a long way, considering this model has been around since 2005.
The interior is now black, which is just as effective as the updates to the exterior, providing the SUV with a more dynamic look inside. The dark finish conceals the black woodgrain accents, resulting in a cabin with a classier and sportier vibe.
It’s hard to find any fault with the 3.0-liter diesel. Performance has always been decent. Variable nozzle turbocharging technology has improved fuel efficiency and increased power and torque.
With five passengers and the boot loaded with bags, the Fortuner’s consumption hovered around 9km/L in the city and about 12km/L on the highway.
RIDE AND HANDLING
This is where the vehicle begins to show its age. The car feels heavy, particularly the steering. That said, handling has never been a strong selling point of this model. The Fortuner can’t lean toward a specific trait as Toyota aims to satisfy a wide range.
It will be interesting to see, however, how the all-new Fortuner will fair in the handling department, with the Japanese carmaker shifting toward a sportier character.
This 3.0 V variant comes with GPS navigation, although you’ll need to purchase the SD card with maps from the dealer. But we use Waze a lot, so we didn’t really get to try out the system.
With the all-new Hilux’s local launch and the new-generation Fortuner’s photos all over the Internet after its global launch, interest in the current model is naturally fast dwindling. Without an exact date for the new model’s arrival, however, expect to see more of the outgoing (and probably discounted) Fortuner rolling out of showrooms in the meantime. While its days are numbered, it continues to be a solid contender. It remains to be a no-brainer purchase. Unless you're waiting for the new one, that is.
SPECS: TOYOTA FORTUNER 3.0 V AT
Engine: 3.0-liter turbodiesel I4
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Power: 163hp @ 3,400rpm
Torque: 343Nm @ 1,400-3,200rpm
Photos by Jason dela Cruz