A Matter of Time

The Toyota Fortuner, like most in the Japanese giant's lineup, is a success story. The demand for it is so high that if Toyota decided to cut off advertising expenses completely, I could bet my left you-know-what that it would sell just the same. Toyota's reputation is bulletproof and I have no doubt in my mind that the Fortuner is another manifestation of that. 

Almost a decade and a half ago, the streets were filled with almost extinct rock stars like the Mitsubishi Pajero, the Nissan Patrol, and the Ford Expedition. As soon as the Toyota Fortuner arrived in 2005, it feasted on a buffet of market share and took over the roads of the Philippines. This sparked the rise of the "pick-up trucks made handsome" category and forced the likes of Mitsubishi and Ford to join the party. After a full decade, they've come back with an all-new model and it seems promising.

So here's the score. I've always liked the Fortuner from the perspective of having a vehicle for all seasons and all occasions. This SUV never feels out of place at the beach, on an off-road trail, on a dinner date, or en route to the next business meeting. It has always been quite handsome and this all-new model is looking a lot more dapper. The lines have been sharpened in all areas needed and a whole lot of tech has been sprinkled around. 


The most significant improvements are found inside. Once you open the door, you'll see that the cabin, in design and quality, is a lot more plush than it used to be. There's a generous amount of soft touch brown leather, some nice contrasting stitching, and an overall design that's easier on the eye.

The instrument cluster is particularly good and the on-board computer is very reminiscent to the system used in the Alphard. You can see some Toyota parts sharing here, but it's all to the benefit of this SUV, because the Japanese giant have really upped the ante on these little bits that make a world of difference.

You no longer see spartan tidbits sprinkled around the cabin because Toyota's shared parts bin are no longer... spartan. I do appreciate the tech bits that include some Bi-beam LED headlights that illuminate the road well, the auto climate control system, as well as the keyless entry capability. However, for a vehicle this large I expected a rear-view camera but it was nowhere to be found. At the very least, it had some rear parking sensors.

The Fortuner's stereo or head unit now comes with navigation that's quite handy and adds to the overall premium feel of SUV. The system can detect speed humps, road obstructions, and speed cameras, which would've been great if there would be anything to worry about as far as velocity is concerned. This particular Fortuner is equipped with a 2.4-liter inline-4 engine, which pumps out 147 horses.

It's not much, but 400 Newton Meters of torque helps the Fortuner get out of its own way. Swift isn't what comes to mind when I think of how the Fortuner potters along, but it's enough to get the job done in Manila traffic. After all, I don't think you'd want too much power in something that is as dynamic as Manila Cathedral. 

"it's a Toyota - which means it will only start falling apart by the time you need to walk your now 3-year old daughter down the aisle."

The ride has some improvement. The noise, vibration, and harshness have been dialed down from its predecessor, which is good. The achilles heel of the Fortuner has always been the stiff ride, but it's not stiff enough to shake your body fat and eventually lose you some calories.

It's again, marginally better than the model it replaces, but not significant enough to talk about. It would be the equivalent of boasting about weight loss after a week of dieting. One person may notice, but the rest of the world won't.

"in this cutthroat world that we live in, reliability is king."

My final thoughts are this. If loads of power is not a requirement of yours and if you can deal with the quirks of a body-on frame, then this is definitely a vehicle to consider. It's handsome, it's competent, it's practical, and best of all, it's a Toyota - which means it will only start falling apart by the time you need to walk your now 3-year old daughter down the aisle.

It will see you through life's triumphs and tribulations, and it will not fail to start its engine in days that you wished the ground could just eat you alive instead. After all, in this cutthroat world that we live in, reliability is king. Add some touches of luxury and go-anywhere capability, and you get the most handsome SUV in the segment. 

2016 Toyota Fortuner 2.4V 4x2

Engine: 2,393 cc, DOHC 16V, Inline-4, Variable Nozzle Turbo
Fuel: Diesel
Power: 147 bhp @ 3,400 rpm
Torque: 400 Nm @ 1,600-2,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed Automatic with Paddle Shifters, RWD
0-100 km/h: 13.2 seconds
Top Speed: 175 km/h
Fuel Economy: 12.8 km/L Overall
Price: PHP1,736,000
+: Handsome, versatile, decent standard equipment
-: No rearview camera, body-on frame ride quality
Verdict: Still competent despite the rise of the competition
Rating: 8/10

Ex-Automotive Executive

Instagram: @enzoteodoro