UMW Toyota Motor (UMWT) kicked off this year with a pair of new models, the 2021 Toyota Innova facelift and this, the 2021 Toyota Fortuner facelift. We've done the buyer's guide for the Innova already, so this time around we'll help you decide which Fortuner variant is best for you.
Most apparent - variant shake-up
Apart from the new engine (we'll get to that later), Peninsular Malaysia buyers will lose out on the base 2.4 AT variant - now reserved only for Sabah, Sarawak, and Labuan. Here's the current line up and prices:
Exterior - pick your poison
Typical of mid-life refreshes, the Fortuner gets a visual update across the board. The sleek quad-beam LED headlights are reserved only for the VRZ however - the other two variants make do with bi-beam LED headlights.
But that's not the most apparent change. Notice how the range-topper also gets an entirely different front fascia from the other two variants, sporting a smaller upper grille, redesigned foglamps, and position lamps.
Another key difference are the wheels. While the VRZ and SRZ both roll on 18-inch wheels, the design on the VRZ is different, and they sport a dual-tone colourway. The 2.4 version gets 17-inch units.
There's a choice of six colours to choose from - Medium Silver Metallic, Silver Metallic, Attitude Black Mica, Phantom Brown Metallic, Super White II and the new Bronze Mica Metallic.
The Bronze Mica Metallic and Super White II colours can be specified with black A-pillars, wing mirrors, roof-mounted rear spoiler and roof, but note that these are exclusive to the VRZ variant.
Interior - upmarket or utilitarian?
Standard across the Fortuner range is seating for seven people and these features:
|Fortuner standard equipment|
9-inch touchscreen infotainment display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support
Optitron with 4.2-inch multi-info display
|2nd and 3rd row seat functions||60:40 split-fold with reclining function|
|Drive mode selector||Eco, Normal, Power|
|Fast-charging USB Ports||2 for VRZ, 3 for SRZ and 2.4|
To put it succinctly - the 2.4-litre variant is utilitarian more than anything. It gets fabric seats (all manual adjustments, by the way) and interior upholstery, no integrated drinks cooler in the glove box, and of course, makes do without ambient lighting.
It's worth a mention too that the automatic climate control air-conditioning system isn't available in the 2.4 variant, but standard in the SRZ and VRZ.
If you're not looking to get too rough and tough with your Fortuner, then the SRZ and VRZ variant will do you better, as you'll get more upmarket combination leather seats and interior upholstery, drinks cooler in the glove box and in the VRZ's case - ambient lighting.
Peformance - biggest, bestest?
In case you've somehow missed it, the range-topping VRZ now uses the Toyota Hilux Rogue's 2.8-litre turbodiesel, making it the most powerful variant of the lot.
The 2.7-litre and 2.4-litre mills however are carried over from before. Here's how they match up:
|Fortuner variants and powertrains|
2.4-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel
150 PS / 400 Nm
|2.7 SRZ 4x4||
2.7-litre, four-cylinder, naturally-aspirated petrol engine
166 PS / 245 Nm
|2.8 VRZ 4x4||
2.8-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel
205 PS / 500 Nm
We've sampled the Hilux Rogue already, and if that's any indication, the 2.8-litre engine is what you should go for. It's punchy yet refined. That's not to say the petrol mills aren't very good, but they seem underpowered for car of this stature.
Besides that, the VRZ benefits from Variable Flow Control (VFC) power steering system which adjusts power steering assistance depending on driving speed.
The SRZ and VRZ variants come with Auto Limited Slip Differential (A-LSD) - a trick system that controls braking and when one of the rear wheels start to spin. Useful in difficult, low-traction conditions.
Safety - only one variant gets TSS
Standard across the range are these features:
- 7 airbags
- ISOFIX tethers
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Anti-lock braking system with electronic brakeforce distribution (ABS, EBD)
- Active Traction Control (A-TRC)
- Hill start assist (HSA)
- Vehicle stability control (VSC)
- Blind spot monitor with rear-cross traffic alert (BSM, RCTA) (Optional on 2.4)
The Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) suite of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) however is exclusive only to the 2.8 VRZ. These are the TSS features it gets:
- Pre-collision system (PCS)
- Lane Departure Alert with yaw assist (LDA)
- Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC)
Conclusion - made your choice?
When the truth's been told, it all boils down to how you'll be using your Fortuner - and also where you live, apparently.
Sure, they're all just as capable on mud as they are on the tarmac, but if you're based in East Malaysia, you have the cheaper 2.4-litre variant to look towards, which is good for those looking to go off-roading and load-carrying in an SUV.
For Peninsular Malaysians, you won't go wrong with the SRZ, but the VRZ would be the most compelling package, given that the Fortuner finally gets the engine it deserves and a healthy suite of ADAS.