Most automobile manufacturers today have begun to give a similar family face across all models in its lineup. Toyota's siblings until recently looked different from each other but now even the Japanese manufacturer has decided to give their models a family treatment. That brings us to the SUV you're seeing here, it is the new Fortuner that will be soon be seen on Indian roads. When you look at it, the first noticeable change one will notice is the new front end. The new face looks fresh as it now gets sleeker looking headlamps with projector lights (now self levelling), headlamp washers, a new trapezoidal design three-tier front grille that's now seen in most Toyotas across the world and a sharper front bumper that also houses redesigned front fog lamps. The bonnet too has more prominent lines while the air scoop has got become slightly bigger. This new design gives the Fortuner a more car like look and is less butchy when compared to the present model (which may not be a good thing for an SUV). The front also has a resemblance to the bigger Landcruiser's.
From the side, there seems to be no change except for a newer design 12-spoke, 17-inch alloy wheels and body coloured mirrors that now feature turn indicators, the previous model made do with chrome mirror housing. At the rear, the taillamps have been redesigned and feature prominent twin circular lamps while the entire unit is of a clear lens type. The tailgate layout too is new and now houses a chrome garnish with an embossed name tag. The rear bumper has been altered and the reflectors look similar to the Innova's. New colours too will be available; the Fortuner we drove had a new blue shade.
Step inside and one will notice the same grey-beige interior scheme but with a newer centre console that houses a touch screen DVD stereo (in the top end V variant) and features bluetooth mobile phone connectivity. The screen also displays the reverse camera's video input. Mock wood inserts are now of a darker grey shade while the centre console surrounds are brushed aluminium. The SUV also boasts of a new design instrument cluster that is bright and easier to read. The steering wheel is similar in design to the Corolla's and is a combination of mock wood and leather, apart from stereo controls it also features controls for hands-free mobile connectivity.
Other than cosmetic changes to the interior and exterior, the Fortuner will also offer a new four-speed automatic transmission mated to the existing 3-litre common-rail engine, the turbocharged diesel unit produces a maximum power of 171PS at 3600rpm while a peak torque of 343Nm is available from 1400-3400rpm. The gearshifts are seamless and the power delivery is linear. The transmission doesn't offer a sports mode or paddle shifters but can be driven if needed in 3rd, 2nd or low gear modes. Power is transferred via the rear wheels as the automatic version is not available as a four-wheel drive model. A two-wheel drive manual transmission model will also be available and will be the entry level Fortuner, expect the price of this variant to be Rs 1 lakh cheaper than the existing four-wheel drive model.
One can see a lot of Fortuners in the city these days and most of them hardly go off-roading, the two-wheel drive variant then definitely has the potential to be the highest selling variant. The new Fortuner may not be all-new but it does sport newer variants and changes that make it look distinctly bolder and even more upscale. The new Fortuner will be unveiled at the auto expo in Delhi and will be launched by January 2012. Prices are expected to be the same for the existing variant and expect a similar price for the automatic transmission since there is no four-wheel drive offered.