Besides being Toyotas, what do the work-a-day Hilux and the iconic Land Cruiser have in common? A love child, it would seem. The Toyota Fortuner was born as “A Hilux Pickup with a roof,” or so described the dealer here in Oman. Oh, how things have changed. No longer a no-frills commercial vehicle, the 2016 Fortuner has evolved into a bonafide family SUV.
As a member of the ever-capable off-road Toyota family, one of the single best things about the vehicle, which I test drove on freeway, mountain roads, and desert sand, was the ground clearance. When sitting in traffic, I enjoyed the high level of visibility I had from my perch.
In Jabal Akhdar I didn’t have to think twice about some light off-roading on unpaved paths. But the real test came in the desert dunes of Wahiba Sands, where a miscalculation in my approach and descent on a dune could have been disastrous in an SUV with lower bumpers.
Our trip to the top of a sand dune to watch the sunset was happily drama-free, thanks to the 30-degree approach and 25-degree departure angles and ground clearance of 225mm that the Fortuner offered us. It even rained a bit in Muscat the week we had her out on the road, so I also had the rare pleasure of blasting through puddles, attempting to test the stated wading depth of 700mm (the rain, alas, was not intense enough to accommodate). It was as ruggedly capable as you would expect a Toyota 4x4 to be.
This capability, however, is probably the least surprising, and therefore least interesting thing about the Fortuner for potential buyers, who are no doubt already aware of the brand heritage. What is surprising, in a delightful way, are all the interior upgrades that have been added, from soft leather seats to premium “Fortuner” badging, Bluetooth capable entertainment system, chilled glovebox, and power back door (on the 4.0L V6 option). The overall effect of these premium touches is the total eradication of all memory of the vehicle’s humble, workhorse beginnings.
We travelled the countryside with four adults comfortably in-tow, and the additional two rear seats, which folded conveniently to the side when not in use, would have made it easy to add two children to our mix. When we returned from our travels and began unloading our luggage, I looked once more at the soft, camel-coloured leather interior and decided that the new Fortuner is far more reminiscent of a Prado than a commercial vehicle, and more than capable enough to live up to the Toyota family legacy.
2016 Toyota Fortuner Specifications and Highlights
(4 Litre V6 reviewed)
• Engine: 2.7L, 4 Cylinder, Dual VVTi | 4.0L, V6, Dual VVTi)
• Transmission: 6-speed automatic
• Leather & wood finish steering wheel with audio, MID, Bluetooth controls, and paddle shifters
• 7” Navigation and Display Audio
• Power Driver Seat
• Push Button Start
• Tilt and telescopic steering column
• Cruise control
• Illuminated entry
• Chilled glovebox
• Leather upholstery (Top Grade only)
• Driver + Passenger Airbag& Knee Airbag ( for driver only)
• LED Projector Headlamps with DRL
• Follow-me-home auto lights
• Auto air conditioner
• Power back door
• 7 inch Navigation System
• Front Air-conditioner - Rear Cooler
• Vehicle Stability Control
• Seven Seats
• Keyless entry and start
• Economy and Sport Modes
• 18-inch alloy wheels with highway tyres
• Rear Differential Lock
• -Rear View Camera
• Hill Assist Control
• Trailer Sway Control
Authorised Oman Dealer:
Saud Bahwan Automotive LLC
+968 2457 9000