Yes, the Endeavour handles better and there is body-roll, but that is inevitable with high GC and ladder-frame chassis. Had no issues taking corners at triple digit speeds and could easily weave in and out of dense Metro traffic.
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Did a 40km long test drive on a Legender 4×2 AT since I can’t afford a new Fortuner in the near or distant future (as long as I don’t switch companies).
Having only driven low slung sedans and hatchbacks all my life, I was not expecting much but boy, oh boy, was I wrong!
The first concern that comes to one’s mind is how can one even maneuver something so big on our streets, but then I realise that the Superb was a tiny bit longer than this and the sheer bulk is multiplied because of it’s height.
- Engine: A slight jab on the accelerator absolutely pins you into the seat. Dad was taken aback by how this thing can get going from standstill. The traction control light did blink on a few corners and U-turns . Power delivery was smooth and relentless. Was repeatedly hitting the 80km/h and 120km/h warnings despite trying to be calm and composed.
- Transmission: As previously mentioned in the reviews, nothing special but nothing bad either. Serves the purpose and the shifts are really smooth. The paddle shifter system (S4-thing) is weird but got used to it. Was engine-braking in no time. Shift times are nowhere close to my DSG but it is not bad either.
- Platform & Handling: Again, not like the Superb or Vento but pretty great. Yes, the Endeavour handles better and there is body-roll, but that is inevitable with high GC and ladder-frame chassis. Had no issues taking corners at triple digit speeds and could easily weave in and out of dense Amausi Metro traffic. Also, the steering is not heavy. Feels very good to use and quite direct. However, the mute button is a long-press type. What a pain!
- Ride Quality: Bouncy! Comfortable but bouncy! On the same Amausi Road, there are imperfections that cause vertical movement. Driving on the same road for the past few years, I never felt a thing in the Superb or Vento. The Legender kept going womp-womp, up and down. But it was not bad per se. It just made me feel sleepy. Bad roads, craters, speed breakers, potholes? With a vehicle like this, slowing down is a mere suggestion. It just devours everything in it’s path. I’d crawl at 10-15km/h in the sedans. On the same roads, I was easily doing 40-60km/h. Mighty impressive. Gets better with highway speeds. I can live with it. No complaints.
- Mileage: I was getting 11.4L/100km (8.7 kmpl) after driving like a complete idiot. This is a very good FE number despite the 2.6T weight and 201hp 2.8L but nowhere near the Vento, which is obvious.
- Visibility & Presence: I feel like the king of the hill. I feel safe, I feel secure. I feel invincible. I feel. Feelings aside, two wheelers, tempos, e-rickshaws and taxis do behave better around you. They wouldn’t stop for the Superb or the Vento but here they would. Also they would prefer to keep some distance. Glad they didn’t see the driver or they’d just ram, considering me as a spoilt school kid. The greenhouse is impressive and the ORVMs are huge. They’re probably bigger than my head. When I stand outside, the windshield starts at my chin (I am 5’1″).
- Comfort & Interior: Great seats with good adjustment. Very comfortable. I used to think that ventilated seats are just a gimmick but I was dead wrong. Having a cool butt is really cool. Dad said that the 2nd row was really comfortable as well, except the odd bounce thrown in. The AC worked like a charm. Excellent visibility all around.
- Price: It is way too expensive. I either need to rob a bank or join an IIM to even think of buying one on a loan. Would be VFM at maybe 5-10L less. 4×4 AT is 47L on road in Lucknow. I could get a 4×2 AT from 2017 and a 530d from 2014 for that money.
- Infotainment: All is well, especially with the addition of Carplay and Android Auto. But, there is no 360 degree camera. Though it is an official accessory at a reasonable price of 30k.
The sound quality was absolutely trash. My 14k JBL Pulse 3 sounds way better. Could be an EQ issue too. It sounded too audiophile, i.e. absolutely no bass, little mids and only ear piercing treble coming though paper tin cans.
(sorry, I just ripped a joke at the EQ and sound settings audiophiles usually prefer ). Anyway, wasn’t too bothered as I was smitten by the rest of the vehicle.
- Ground Clearance: It is a two-edged sword. While it solves every problem I have with sedans, mom is absolutely going to loathe travelling in a Fortuner just because of this. Not recommended for people with arthritis.
- Performance Mode Buttons Position: The position is really uncomfortable. I have to move the seat really ahead because of my height. This causes the mode buttons to be in a really awkward position.
I was having to dig back and it was uncomfortable, so I just left it in power mode. Sharp and spicy. They could have just slapped the buttons somewhere on the dashboard.
I now definitely want to get my hands on a used one few years down the line. My opinion for the Fortuner has done a complete 180° after this drive.
Initially the the escort rep and driver were unsure of my ability to drive this monster (due to my appearance and I don’t blame them for it) but they got comfortable real soon.
Sunny Toyota was a lovely experience. Big thanks to Mr. Ashutosh Tripathi and his colleague to sit down and discuss it all and let us have a go.
Some photos from the session taken in a haphazard manner:
Big car, baby thumb:
Blinders/Flashbangs for the oncoming traffic:
R18 Hot Wheels style rims shod with Dueler 265/60R18. To be honest, these rims look nice but probably belong on a 1/32 scale model. Would much prefer the Pizza-Hut style rims on the regular 4×4 FL. Also, notice the complete lack of cladding.
Another cockpit shot:
Some lucky fellow about to become much happier. Unfortunately, it is an MT:
Bottom line, I am in love with the Fortuner. Consulting doesn’t pay me enough. Maybe I’ll become a politician.
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