Which Variant? Fortuner

Just like basketball, Filipinos are very protective of their favorite players or teams in each category. The Toyota Fortuner just does something right apparently, since it is the best selling midsize SUV on Philippine roads. As the king of its segment in terms of sales, we decided to christen it, the Lebron of SUVs. Just like the basketball player himself, the Fortuner has a loyal fan base that has customers buying it regardless of what others think. 

But with quite a few variants on offer from Toyota, it’s like making the debate whether LeBron should have stayed in Cleveland or if he is better off in the Lakers. While we cannot comment on our basketball analysis skills, we can comment on which variant is the best form that the Fortuner comes in. As always, we would like to remind to buy what you like, but more importantly, buy what you can afford. 

Alright, let’s get this out of the way. The first variant that caught our eye is the 4x2 2.7 G gasoline variant with an automatic transmission. Now we know, it is unthinkable to have a Fortuner in a gasoline variant. However, the debate between gasoline and diesel is still alive. Because of lower diesel prices, we recommend that you stick with the 2.4L or 2.8L variants. Yes the gas variant is the cheapest, but it will not be as capable as the diesel variants, neither will it be as economical since the 2.7L doesn’t produce nearly enough torque to bring the SUV up to speed. 

So unless you really are against diesels, or if you desperately want the refinement and smoothness that only a gasoline engine offers, then this will be your only option. Yes, we see the value it carries, since you do get an automatic transmission for near-base model pricing at P1,602,000. The price is enticing, since you do get a diesel in the 2.4 G MT variant, but is rowing through the gears in Philippine traffic really what you want? At P1,597,000, it’s peculiar to see Toyota offering one or the other since you can “get” an automatic for just a little more money, albeit with a gasoline engine.  

Fortuner

Alright after getting the gas model out of the way, this is where the fun begins – or rather, these are variants that will get your head scratching. So the first diesel variant on the list starts at P1,597,000. For the price, you do get a diesel engine that pulls with 400 Nm of torque which would make driving stick in traffic an easier ordeal, but then again it’s still an ordeal in itself. So as a budget option at P1,687,000, get a 2.4L turbo-diesel engine with an automatic transmission. It doesn’t come with the luxuries found on higher trim models, but if you’re not too finicky with what motorization options that your interior will come with, then this model will be a good value option.

A few caveats and reservations for this model, however, comes with halogen headlights, a fabric interior, and no side curtain airbags. It also is devoid of any of the more advanced features such as traction control, vehicle stability control, hill start assist, trailer safety control, brake assist, downhill assist control, and differential lock. 

But indeed if you are on a budget, and you will be using this SUV for your odd mall crawl and city slicking, you won’t need all those features because the Fortuner in this configuration is a good overall package, but of course, it gets better up the ladder. 

So let’s say you make it to the finals, and can now get the Fortuner at its best with all the bells and whistles. It’ll cost you an arm and a leg, but know that the car will be strapped to the gills with all forms of adornment that can only be found in higher class luxury cars. To get into what we regard as the “premium” variants, you’d have to pay at least P224,000 to get into the next model. Going for the 2.4 V of the Fortuner nets you a lot more. At P1,911,000, Toyota gives you a lot of features for your money. 

Starting with the front, you get Bi-beam LED lights with auto leveling. If you’ve ever seen a set of white lights on a Fortuner, just know that these lights will put regular halogens to shame. Getting this variant also nets you a nice keyless entry system with push start and stop. On top of that you get motorized seats that are covered in leather, one-touch windows all around, and a power tailgate that would save your precious energy for long drives ahead. The Fortuner can be a lot to handle because of its size, but the V variants won’t let you worry because Toyota’s got your back, and corners because this model will let you know with its corner sensors.

The next consideration is whether you can go for a 4x2 or a 4x4 variant. Note that with the 4x4 V variant you get a bigger engine at 2.8L which lets you push out more torque at 450 Nm. With regards to the interior, there isn’t much of a  difference between the 4x4 and 4x2. The most notable difference would probably be the dial that controls the 4X4 system. At P339,000 more, however, this gets us thinking. 

Verdict Fortuner

Announcing the winner is not easy for this one. Although cheaper is better, we cannot stress how much of a difference diesel makes in the long run. We also considered that the car will be used as a workhorse for anything and everything you throw at it. Hauling supplies, such as groceries, would be so much easier with more torque. We usually tout our runner ups as budget oriented choices because money does not grow on trees. The 2.4 G DSL AT Toyota Fortuner takes the prize here. It’s not that expensive, and for less than P1,700,000, it’s not a bad purchase. It’s not overly equipped and you do get what you pay for. 

And finally, for our champ. This was tough. While we do appreciate the 4x4 variant, you’d have to ask yourself, how often will you need to use it? The V spec of the Fortuner is a little confounding because of the 4x2 versus 4x4 debate stated prior. Think long and hard about the use case for the car. If you will be going off-roading, or if you will need all four wheels receiving power from the engine when the rainy season is at full tilt, then get the 4x4. However the majority of the time you’ll be leaving it in 2WD anyway. But if you’re not going to the trail on the weekends, we have a different suggestion. 

The 4x2 2.4 V DSL AT Toyota Fortuner is the champ for this edition of Which Variant. Note that a 4x4 system is heavy, so you’d be basically canceling out your extra 0.4L displacement gain over the top-of-the-line variant by bolting on more stuff to the car. You’d also be out over P300,000. With that money, you can probably buy your groceries for an entire year. Note that this is the champ for those of us that use our SUVs ironically, meaning on Philippine roads, crawling in EDSA or in the mall, and nothing else. 

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