Sometimes things just happen ..we just find ourselves at the right place at the right time when something really special happens!
This is a small write-up of what we (read the Mrs.and I)experienced in our run-up to buying one of the most sought after ,tried and tested SUV,s in the Indian market .I am a happy owner of a 2005 M800,and I have had very good experience with this humble car.I have worked on my car(DIY) to maintain it in ship-shape and really applaud its ability to still be able to keep up with current hatchbacks.Simplicity in its mechanics,bullet proof reliability and ease of maintenance have made it a best companion on my city rides and even long highway drives.
But sometimes we long for that extra safety, space, toughness and comfort when we drive our loved ones in the mean city roads or on the rough highways.
On our way back from our recent vacation to Masinagudi , the M800 as usual performed impeccably.We had seen numerous Innovas and scorpios and XUV on the highways which just demolished their path on the highway.But there was one who never seemed to slow down no matter how rough the road was and it was the mighty Toyota Fortuner.
Wife and me were just casually discussing about how we have to plan to upgrade from the basic car we had to a more "safer" car as we know how dangerous things could get on the highway in just a blink of an eye.
Entering Bangalore on the home stretch through Kanakapura road we noticed a Toyota-U-Trust showroom and decided to just casually drop in to look at their display.
Wife and me looked at the Innovas and Camrys on display but never felt convinced to go for them as we had somehow decided even without discussion that we wanted a Fortuner .We met the manager Mr.Antony and the sales assistant(SA) Mr Mohan Kumar.We spoke with him about our hunt for a fortuner and also our budget .He was keen to help but also mentioned that Fortuners were in high demand due to the "election season"in Karnataka but assured to keep me informed if a genuine vehicle was available through their networks.I was very specific with my needs. Toyota fortuner 2009-2012 model,Manual transmission(MT),4x4 with low gear .He laughed and told me that I had to be indeed very lucky to find a good one as its the highest sought after model amongst pre-owned fortuners due to the Brute looks and VFM
.Any ways with very positive vibes we exited the showroom gates in our humble M800,when a white first gen fortuner drove in through the entry .Wife jokingly said "look there is our new car"!
We smiled and drove back home with the fortuner we just saw now being the topic of discussion.We reached home and just unloaded the luggage when we got a call from SA who asked us to get to the showroom if we wanted to look at a fortuner which just came in.With excitement and in heavy rains we drove back to the showroom which is not very far of from our home.Jumped out from the car and saw a magnificent white fortuner .My heart was pounding as i walked closer to the beast !Yes its massive when compared to my M800. The SA handed me the keys and told me to take a short drive around the showroom parking as it was closing time.
Wife in the passenger seat,and me in the driver and SA in the rear seat ;my heartbeat was racing when i started the beast to life.What a feeling ,the high ride height ,the sound of the massive diesel,it was just overwhelming for me as i had never driven such a huge vehicle ever in my life.Managed a drive around the parking and nowhere did i feel out of place;the gear shifts were crispy smooth,cabin was quiet,seating felt great ,controls were easy as it was a Japanese car like my M800.
We were just floored with the sheer presence of the beast and the ride just made it more pleasurable!
Finished the short drive,my hands were trembling when i returned the key back to the SA.He told me he will call the next day after the service engineers examine the car in detail and also give me a price quote. OK.We agreed and meanwhile it was getting very dark but i was able to find a few scratches on the bumper and rear door which i pointed out to him.He assured me it will go for a refurbish ,painting and denting and service as per the Toyota used car quality assurance."Sir,this is Toyota don't worry"
Next day was at work and was looking at the clock feverishly as to why a the SA dint call ? was it a illegitimate vehicle? was it accident /flood damaged ? did somebody else buy it of from the shelf ..so may thoughts ran through my mind .
At 4.30 PM SA calls and asks me if I can visit the showroom .I asked him if about if the car was damage free and he reassuringly said the car was purchased and serviced at their showroom with full service history for my reference.The owner of this car was exchanging for latest model fortuner.
Good .I went to the showroom looked at the car in daylight and diligently inspected the car inside and out .I had read on many forums and YouTube videos on purchasing a used car. Didn't find much amiss with this car;except for the few scratches and dings ;the interior was leather and was in good shape for a car that had run 1,33,000 kms .The vehicle was little out of my budget from the quoted price but they had a non -negotiable clause to it .
Went home heavy and did some online research on similar cars with age and Kms and actually the price was quite competitive. Also some on my friends who are owners of Fortuners also gave their opinion that its a good price and that resale prices are very good for Toyota vehicles .
So with assurance that the vehicle will be fully refurbished to my levels of expectation I paid the token advance of 20k.The wait started ..one whole week
Finally the car came from refurbish and I was again taken for car inspection .This time I took along my friend also and we went for a longish test drive where he put the car through its paces .He clearly told me that it was really well maintained vehicle and it was driving well mechanically . There were still some untouched spots which I pointed to SA and manager and they have promised to address it during my service visit .I was also unhappy with the shape of the tires all round and its the first thing on my agenda to be addressed .Please let me know your kind suggestions for tires replacement.
Took the car home also for a test “park” to see how I would be able to park this beast and manoeuvre it. My father looked at it and told “this looks like a truck why such a big vehicle!” I am really impressed how easy the vehicle can be manoeuvred through crowded areas and tight spots .
Finally the car was dropped back to the showroom and arrangement of funds to pick up the car were started . The final payment was made to Toyota and the RTO documents transfer applied which Toyota would handle .
Finally the special day arrived when we arrived to the showroom in cab to drive our beast back home. All the documents were again verified and I went through the service history of the vehicle once again and got my doubts clarified .A formal mandatory ceremony ,and the keys were received by my father and we posed away for the photos. Still it hadn’t sunk that we have just bought our own Beast !
The SA explained operation of Stepney and other features most of which I had already understood through online content. Also a copy of owners manual,helped with understanding lots of other features in the car. The showroom gave a complimentary 300 rs worth of diesel (the tank capacity is 80 Litres)
.Straight away drove to nearest fuel station and tanked up for Rs 4000.Then it was taken to the temple for seeking blessings of the almighty; formalities done .Straight away came home and parked the beast in its new abode . My Likes :
1. Safety and security: fantastic respect which is immediately noticeable. Autorickshaws and pesky two-wheelers stay away .You feel very confident on highway driving with its massive road presence. Handling characteristics are good but not to forget body roll can be unnerving at times !
2. Loads of space and excellent seating comfort especially when you are coming from likes of M800.
3. The AC is simply fabulous being automatic and chills rapidly. Even the heating works superb with Bangalore weather being on the colder side after rains.
4. Visibility of the road and all round is excellent with large windows and rear view mirrors .The fender mirror also helps to gauge distance on the left side and front bumper distance to obstacles .
5. Mileage is hovering at around 10.2-10.4kmpl and in city driving conditions with full time AC. Impressive for a 2 ton vehicle !
6. Great pulling capacity ;easily could carry 8 persons during recent visits from relatives .The car felt light to steer in heavy B2B traffic .
7. Decent music system although I am not an audio buff .There is automatic volume control depending on vehicle speed .
8. Headlights are very bright and offer good night visibility ;also the height helps to avoid high beams of Cabs and tempos.
Immediate upgrades contemplated :
- New floor matt for the interiors as the OEM carpet gets easily soiled. Please do suggest mats/brands for my car
- Dash-camera for security reasons and to collect data on future trips
- Upgrade the tires maintaining OEM rims and tire size before undertaking any long drives.
- I am still getting used to driving this behemoth of a SUV around the city .
This thread will be having a lot of forth coming updates and exciting photographs through its ownership.I have just added a few for starters.Wish me all the best with the beast