The all-new Toyota Fortuner is here, it's time for some serious mud-slinging

Very few vehicles in any category have decimated competition the way Toyota Fortuner did since its launch in India. Till date, no other vehicle priced above INR 20 Lakhs has created as much impact and garnered as much sales as this tough body-on-frame Toyota SUV. To put things in perspective, add up the sales numbers of all its competitors and that still won't be half of Fortuner's sales. Don't believe us? Toyota sold 1390 Fortuners in India last month compared to the measly 117 units Hyundai managed with the Santa Fe. HM-Mitsubishi has been selling around 200 Pajero Sports a month on average the last few months.

Looking at the official images of the upcoming second-generation Fortuner unveiled by Toyota in simultaneous events in Thailand and Australia a couple of days back, it appears history is all set to repeat itself. Shedding its boxy and macho looks for a sleek and modern design, the Fortuner has sort of reinvented itself while still retaining its menacing proportions. The sharp knife-shaped headlight clusters with built-in projectors and LEDs have their perfect matches at the rear in those sleek taillights connected by a thick bar of chrome. The busy front end is characterized by the chrome-overloaded grille and the three-dimensional bumper that smartly encompasses the air dam. Toyota has ditched its conservative approach and the silhouette is ample proof of that, what with the shoulder line stepping upwards significantly near the C-pillar. Together with the roof that nudges down a bit at the end, the Fortuner has one pleasing derriere.

While some of you might complain that the Fortuner has lost its rugged external looks, the interiors are completely transformed into a far better and modern setup. Gone is the bare-bones cabin of the current Fortuner replaced by an all-new cabin that looks quite plush. Features include leather seats, a 7-inch touchscreen entertainment system with in-built navigation, 8-way electrically-adjustable driver's seat and paddle shifters. At least for the international markets, a full complement of safety features including seven airbags, Electronic Stability Control, Traction Control System, Traction Sway System, Hill Start Assist and Downhill Assist Control would be offered. With 193 mm of ground clearance and good off-road credentials, the new Fortuner would be no slouch when it comes to going off the beaten path. 

Powering the new Fortuner is a range of new engines. Two diesel options are available - a 2.4-liter '2GD' engine with 150 PS and 400 Nm of torque and a 2.8-liter '1GD' engine with 177 PS and 450 Nm of torque. When the new Fortuner makes it to India, these are the two engines that are expected to do duty under the hood. A 2.7-liter Dual VVT-i petrol engine producing 166 PS and 245 Nm of torque would also be offered elsewhere.

Unlike the Land Cruiser, Camry or Corolla, the Fortuner does not come with a legacy extending back to several decades. Launched only in 2005, this is just the second-generation of this mighty brute ute from Toyota. Sharing the Innovative International Multipurpose Vehicle (IMV) platform with the popular Hilux pickup and the Innova MPV, the Fortuner is an Asia-specific model targeting the South Asian markets predominantly. With this all-new model, we expect the Fortuner's popularity to grow further. 

Do we hear death bells ringing for its competitors in India? Oh yes, they better be warned!

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