Text: Vince Pornelos / Photos: Vince Pornelos | posted January 04, 2010 00:00
For (the) Tuner
The flagship model of the IMV range, the 7-seater Fortuner was an immediate hit after it was launched, and the new 2.5L manual model continues the tradition. This new "base" model sports the exact same look as its upper-priced siblings at a bargain, though does away with some niceties like the leather seats and inserts as well as rear back up sensors. Apart from those, everything else has been retained including the Bluetooth-capable audio unit with an auxiliary-in port.
Under the hood, the latest variant is powered by a 2.5 liter, twin cam turbo D-4D diesel engine thats good for 102 PS of power and 260 Nm of torque. The 5-speed manual transmission is a first for the Fortuner line, as all previous variants carried the 4-speed gate-type automatic. Having the extra gear ratio helps, but overall the powertrain feels just adequate for the heavier SUV body, unlike when it's powering its lighter cousin, the Innova.
To break in the new TRD Sportivo upgrades that Toyota Motors Philippines is bringing in, they took a Fortuner 2.5G M/T and outfitted it with a host of modifications. There's a new aerodynamic package made of high-grade polyurethane rubber installed, beginning with a front apron with a blacked out lower lip. The side profile benefits with a pair of stepboards that blend seamlessly with the fender flares, complemented with a set of 18 inch, gunmetal TRD Sportivo wheels and matching Bridgestone Dueler Sport tires. The exterior styling package is finished at the back with a rear wing, rear skirt, chrome muffler tip, TRD Sportivo badges and stickers. finally a blacked out rear apron and finished with a new muffler tip.
The difference is striking, and even while just sitting still in a lot, it definitely looks much more pronounced and aggressive. Toyota has left the powerplant unaltered in all respects, hence the Fortuner TRD Sportivo retains the standard power and torque ratings, depending on the engine type and size.
The package is completed with a surprise: a TRD suspension package. With a slightly lowered ride height (by 10mm), stiffer spring rates and firmer bound/rebound characteristics, the Fortuner TRD takes corners with a renewed vigor. Rocketing down a winding mountain road in a standard Fortuner would be nauseating -thanks to the weight- rolling and pitching the body at speed. Whereas the original Fortuner ('05 to early '08 models) had a rather bouncy suspension set up and was reworked to deliver a better ride later on (late '08 onwards), the TRD suspension kit delivers a firm, more balanced ride and drive. Thanks to the new handling characteristics, the Fortuner TRD can perform more confident lane changes and deals with its own heft in a much better manner than the original.
With the standard Fortuner 2.5G M/T priced at PhP 1,349,000, the TRD Sportivo aero kit comes in at PhP 119,500, the 18 inch wheels at PhP 110,700, and the TRD Sportivo Suspension Set at PhP 47,300, bringing the total of the TRD Sportivo package to a whopping PhP 277,500.
It's a decent upgrade, but since it doesn't include some engine performance upgrades or interior touches, the TRD Sportivo is a pricey package.