First drive: 2016 Toyota Fortuner in the UAE
Al Futtaim Motors recently launched the all-new 2016 Toyota Fortuner in the UAE. Featuring completely new exterior and interior designs, the second generation Fortuner was destined to be a hit before it even arrived on our shores. We had a chance to drive the new Fortuner in both road and off-road conditions during the UAE’s mega-storm earlier this month.
The exterior of the Fortuner is certainly a major change and a massive improvement over the outgoing model. Highlights include the LED headlights with integrated daytime running lamps wrapped around the new chrome front grille. It is not only visual, as the new chassis uses more spot welding, which has increased the body rigidity. An additional rear stabiliser bar has been installed as well.
Looking inside the 7-seater SUV, our VXR trim featured leatherette upholstery for the seats as well as parts of the dash and the doors, with a 7-inch multimedia touchscreen in the centre console. Hard plastics are still prominent, but much less so than in the previous model. The instrument cluster had a 4.2-inch multi-information display between the gauges. Other features included a rear-view camera, AUX and USB ports, power tailgate and six speakers for the sound system.
On tarmac, Toyota has really improved the suspension setup and tuning, making for a more comfortable ride. We couldn’t really test the handling of the new Fortuner due to the fact we were driving in the middle of some heavy rain, so extra caution was exercised during city driving. Of course, being a 4×4 helped, as the Fortuner made tackling some deep puddles an easy affair.
Under the hood of our full-optioned tester was the same 235 hp 4.0-litre V6 from the previous generation, but now equipped with a new 6-speed automatic transmission. This has really improved the power delivery of the engine, while theoretically also reducing the fuel consumption slightly.
In the second part of the media test-drive, we were given a chance to take it off-road. While the previous model was already a capable off-roader, it was no surprise how the new Fortuner handled the intermediate dune-bashing course Toyota had set up for us. Again, due to the weather we couldn’t really see the full-potential of the vehicle, but whatever it came across, it handled with relative ease. The desert sand was firmed up by the rain, which meant we didn’t have to reduce the tyre pressure much or use a lot of power to tackle the dunes. Keeping the gear at “4H” mode was enough to conquer anything we came across, with pretty much nobody getting stuck during the course of the event.
Toyota has really upgraded the 2016 Fortuner, especially in terms design and comfort, while leaving the ever-reliable mechanicals mostly intact. Prices have not gone up significantly either, with the base 164 hp 2.7-litre GXR model going for Dhs 105,900, while the top VXR trim can be had for Dhs 139,000.
For prices and specs, visit the Toyota buyer guide.
Photos by Al Futtaim Motors.