AUTO INDUSTRY NEWS

Toyota lauches the Fortuner SUV

Toyota lauches the Fortuner SUV image

Text: Jude Morte / Photos: | posted May 12, 2005 00:00

Fortunate CV find

Toyota recently launched its Fortuner sport utility vehicle (SUV), its newest foray into the commercial vehicle market and the last vehicle to be launched in the Philippines under the IMV (International Innovative Multipurpose Vehicle) project. Bolstering an already powerful IMV lineup that includes the Hilux pickup and the Innova Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV), Toyota's newest SUV is developed in line with the IMV project's global quality standards that aim to produce vehicles that appeal to various markets around the world transcending different regions.

Lineage

Sports utility vehicles have evolved from the 1960's cross-country vehicles to the 1990s, where the term "SUV" became best known for a vehicle that can serve a dual purpose of urbaniness and utility. As the global leader in the SUV category with models like the Land Cruiser 100, Prado, and Sequoia, the new Fortuner carries the same soul but with its own distinct character reflecting the 21st century urban lifestyle. The Fortuner is set to lead the SUV market with the best balance of an urban image complemented by its rugged and tough features.

Inside and Outside

The new Fortuner's superior packaging combines both the function of an SUV and its cutting-edge design that makes it look great anywhere the driver takes it. With its overall dimensions of 4,695mm by 1,840mm by 1,795mm, it is not just the biggest vehicle in its class, but the most stylish as well. Its eye-catching, aerodynamic exterior design incorporates a color-keyed, chrome-accented front grille that gleams with sophistication. The Fortuner's multi-reflector quad headlamps are not just for aesthetics but for functionality as well, that also features enhanced night-driving visibility. Multi-reflector fog lamps beautifully integrated to its wrap-around bumper, prepare the driver for vision-hampering challenges ahead.

Chrome side-view mirrors and door handles emphasize a touch of class, while the sporty roof rails make it ready for weekend warriors who require huge load requirements. Black side steps, a high door frame height (1,105mm), a wide door opening (1,030mm), a low entry height from the ground (360mm) all add convenience in passenger entry and exit. The Fortuner's over fenders are a perfect match to its 16-inch alloy wheels, mounted on high-profile all-terrain 265/70R16 tires that exude a rugged symmetry. The rear spoiler comes standard with integrated LED high-mount stop lamp as an aerodynamic safety feature. Multi-reflector rear combination lamps are highly visible and effective and contribute to the cohesive rear design.

From this large exterior design comes the Fortuner's spacious interior which gives seven passengers superior comfort, ample leg room space and high quality amenities as reflected by its interior dimensions of 2,880mm (length) by 1,475mm (width) and 1,120mm (maximum distance from first row to second row) and 840mm (maximum distance from second row to third row).

Plush moquette comfortably seats seven adult passengers. Second row seats are capable of 60-40 split, while third row seats are capable of 50-50 split to maximize space for cargo. The driver's seat of the Fortuner has a feel of commanding pleasure that is further emphasized by its sporty four-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel, a gate-type automatic transmission and optitron gauges with instrument metal panel center cluster.

Other special amenities found in this new SUV include a 2-DIN single CD/MP3-capable head-unit with a six-speaker system that provide audio entertainment and a multi-information display console that updates time, direction, outside temperature and other important functions. Also, dual air conditioning system with automatic climate control provides good weather at all times. Accessory power outlets located at the front and rear makes the Fortuner ready for work, play and emergencies. Handy map lights, ample cup and bottle holders, and twenty-one convenience pockets within the interior provide occupants with more than ample places for all kinds of bric-a-brac.

The Fortuner's grunt and (lateral) grace

The Fortuner's outstanding qualities are glaring in its exterior and interior features, but the true measure of its power is found in the heart of this vehicle either a three-liter D4-D Diesel Engine or a 2.7-liter VVT-i engine.

The three-liter Direct Injection Common Rail Diesel Engine, with a full-time 4X4 drivetrain, is perfectly complemented with an electronically-controlled automatic transmission system. Equipped with a variable nozzle turbo-intercooler, its inherent power is thoroughly maximized with 161 hp and a whopping 253 lbs ft of torque at 1,400-3,200RPM. Toyota's common rail technology equips the engine with a computer-controlled central fuel injector, which enables the engine to burn fuel at the highest degree of consistency, accuracy and efficiency, resulting to better fuel consumption, and a cleaner exhaust emissions.

A responsive and smoother show of power, on the other hand, is provided by the 2.7-liter, four-cylinder Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) 4X2 gas engine. The VVT-i engine automatically regulates the intake of air and fuel to achieve the optimum maximum ratio in response to the driver's requirements, thus providing maximum delivery of power with zero fuel wastage, all in a powerful 158 hp and a respectable 178 lbs ft of torque.

Enhancing the Fortuner's strength is its Toyota Outstanding Platform or TOP, coupled with a solid but pliant suspension and advanced noise vibration and harshness reduction materials to significantly reduce noise, vibration, and harshness level inside the cabin.

Passengers in the in the back seat are expected to have a comfortable ride because the Fortuner is equipped with an independent double-wishbone with coil spring and stabilizer at the front and a four-link suspension with coil spring and lateral rod at the rear. With all these combined together, the Fortuner's suspension system reward its occupants the benefits of a solid, stable ride no matter how rough the roads get.

The Fortuner will be available in Philippine roads this May and is offered in two variants, a Php1,485,000 4X4 3.0L diesel V Grade and a Php1,195,000 4X2 2.7L gasoline G Grade. A wide array of colors depending on the customers' preference: Super White II, Silver Metallic, Grayish Brown Metallic, Black Mica and Dark Gray Mica Metallic.

This automotive juggernaut not only has taken the coveted triple crown of automobile sales (biggest overall, passenger car and commercial vehicle market share) for the past three years, but has also taken 2005's first quarter auto sales triple crown.