Facelifts in automotive term comes in many forms. An existing model hat has been endowed with a new engine, gearbox or running gear without any changes to its aesthetics can be considered to have gone through a facelift while there are some facelifts whereby a car’s looks inside and/or outside are altered but the mechanical bits left untouched. The latter applies to the recently facelifted Toyota Fortuner.
First launched in 2004, the Fortuner is Toyota’s ASEAN made large SUV model based on the Hilux pick-up truck. Prior to this latest facelift, the Fortuner had been updated twice previously since it was introduced seven years ago. The first model featured an all-wheel drive drivetrain but in 2007, Toyota updated the Fortuner under the skin by deleting the four-wheel drive hardware and transfer case thus making the Fortuner a two-wheel drive model. Toyota obviously reckoned back then that the typical Fortuner buyer will hardly take their SUVs off tarmac, so hence the deletion of the all-wheel drive feature in the new model then.
Two years after the introduction of the two-wheel drive Fortuner, Toyota updated its large SUV’s exterior with a new front fascia as well as more contemporary looking tail lamps and minor changes to the interior. The recently updated 2011 Fortuner features even more extensive exterior changes than the 2009 facelift.
Up front, the Fortuner gets a bolder nose that seems to ape a Land Cruiser Prado’s. There is a new, more prominent chrome grille that makes the Fortuner appear wider at the front. The grille is complimented by new headlamps as well as a redesigned bumper. From the sides, the new car is instantly recognisable by its new alloy wheels which feature an elegant double-spoke design. The rear features a new bumper as well as new tail lamps – the latter’s clear lenses somehow reminds us of the ones from the first generation Harrier/Lexus RX300.
The tail lamps might be an acquired taste but all in all, the updates have given the Fortuner a classier and more elegant feel that makes it look more expensive than before.