The Japanese car market wasn’t always the technical and engineering Mecca that it is today. Look back to the sixties and the Japanese were learning from their European counterparts. Design, engineering, it was all heavily influenced from the European cars of the day. Back then Jap cars were only seen as the affordable, often cheap imitators. The story is very different today and that role is filled by the Koreans who, just a few years back were offering cheaper versions of what the Japanese had on offer. Over time Korean products have improved drastically and they have firmly established themselves as one of the biggest players in the game. They are here to stay and are constantly creeping closer to becoming the benchmark in the market.What we have here is a Korean challenger to one of our favourite Japanese cars - the Toyota Fortuner. It’s no secret that we love our big SUVs and that the Toyota Fortuner is one of our market favourites. Toyota launched a refreshed version of the Fortuner in January 2012 and while it was largely a cosmetic upgrade the car also came with a new automatic version. Mahindra also had their own SUV (Mahindra acquired SsangYong back in 2011) the SsangYong Rexton on display as well. We drove the car in October 2012 and realised that with a price hovering at around Rs 19.7 lakh and an automatic gearbox it was barking right up the Fortuner’s tree.