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Refreshed Toyota Fortuner debuts in Thailand

Toyota isn’t resting on its laurels. Despite the Fortuner topping the 7-seater SUV sales charts, the Japanese carmaker has given it a substantial refresh for 2021. Holding its global debut in Thailand, it makes its way to showrooms there with other markets, including the Philippines to follow soon. The update brings vast improvements, including one of the most powerful engines in its class.

Designed under the theme of “Prestige and Cool,” the refreshed Fortuner receives an updated front-end with a larger grille and silver bumper strips to give it a stronger sense of luxury and masculinity. New “light guiding” headlights and taillights, and 18-inch alloy wheels complete the transformation.

While changes to the regular Fortuner seem mild, the bigger news is that for 2021, Toyota is adding an upscale variant called, “Legender.” Slotting above the V grade (at least in Thailand), it has a vastly different grille, bumpers, bi-beam LED headlights, sequential signal lights, a two-tone roof, and 20-inch alloy wheels.

For 2021, the same two engines remain. The 4×2 retains the use of its 2.4-liter GD engine with the same 150hp and 400Nm of torque outputs. The 4×4 though gets a substantial bump in both power and torque. It now makes 204hp and 500Nm of torque, making it one of the most powerful offerings in the segment. The idling has also been reduced from 850 rpm to 680 rpm increasing its off-road traction, while an added balance shaft makes it quieter and more refined.

The transmission across the line-up remains a 6-speed automatic, but with the added convenience of paddle shifters and cruise control.

Engineers paid close attention to improve the 2021 Fortuner’s off-road capability. Not only does the Sigma-4 four-wheel drive system integrate A-Trac (Active Traction Control) and DAC (Downhill Assist Control), but a wheel position sensor has been integrated into the multi-information display. Meanwhile, the new Variable Flow Control (VFC) in the power steering system also adjusts steering wheel stiffness depending on the speed.

Inside, the 2021 Fortuner revamps the gauge cluster and climate control system while adding an 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay. Other available features include an auto-dimming rear view mirror, and an 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat. Meanwhile, the Legender adds even more goodies. It gets two-tone leather seats, a larger infotainment screen (9-inches), Qi wireless charger, a 360-degree parking camera, and a hands-free tailgate with kick sensor.

Building on the Fortuner’s safety, the Legender model makes history as the first pickup-based passenger vehicle (PPV) to receive Toyota Safety Sense (TSS). With that, it gets Pre-Collision System, Dynamic Cruise Control, and Lane Departure Alert among other safety features.

Toyota says the 2021 Fortuner is aimed at capturing a wider group of customers thanks to its refreshed design and functions that response to the varied needs of customers. With a firm grasp of segment leadership, they know they’ve gotten the formula of ensuring a pleasurable journey no matter where the destination is.

Ulysses Ang

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