I was lucky enough to recently test-drive the Philippines’ most sought-after vehicle (last year at least), the Toyota Fortuner, and here are some pictures of its interior [This is also my first attempt at automobile photography - Ed]:
Briefly, the Toyota Fortuner is one of a trio of vehicles based on the Innovative International Multi-purpose Vehicle (IMV) platform devised by the manufacturer in part to offer reasonably-priced cars that are easily adaptable to the particular conditions of the countries in which they are sold.
This model I used was powered by a 3.0-litre common-rail turbodiesel engine mated to a four-wheel drive automatic transmission. My only beef with the gearshift lever supplied with this vehicle is it is very easy for a driver to disable overdrive without him knowing it – a sideways flick of the stick does the trick instead of the usual thumb-actuated button. This probably explains why I consumed more than my usual quota of diesel for my out-of-town foray with this SUV.
Note the tiltable four-spoke leather-clad steering wheel: I personally prefer the unadorned hard-plastic two-spoke kind for better control. The analog instrument cluster is always illuminated whenever the vehicle is in use.
The in-car entertainment system includes a player than can show DVDs as well. A very distracting feature best left unused while the vehicle is in motion.
Note too the leather-clad seats. The interior was roomy enough, at par with the Toyota Prado but certainly less than its larger cousin the Toyota Land Cruiser.
Acceleration was pretty quick; the engine itself was smooth enough to be mistaken for a gasoline model, with hardly any vibrations being felt in the passenger cabin. It takes a while longer to stop on gentle braking, but that’s expected for a vehicle this size. The suspension too was somewhat stiff and may fatigue some drivers, but again that’s expected from a basic SUV like this one.
Based on my all-too-fleeting experience, the diesel-fired Toyota Fortuner was a pleasant enough SUV to drive both on the expressway, provincial roads, and city streets.
UPDATE: Take a look at my brief review of the new, facelifted 2009 Toyota Fortuner.