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Toyota has just announced an all-new SUV for the Australian market – the Fortuner. Based on the newest version of the venerable Hilux pickup truck, the Fortuner is a rugged, body-on-frame SUV with seating for seven that’s powered by the same turbodiesel engine found in the Hilux and comes standard with a part-time, two-speed 4WD system and electronic locking rear differential.
Tony Cramb, Toyota Australia’s executive director of sales and marketing, says the Fortuner is the brand’s diesel alternative to the Kluger, Australia’s version of the Highlander. The Fortuner is also far more rugged and trail-ready than the unibody Kluger while slotting under the surprisingly similar Land Cruiser Prado in terms of luxury and price. Though both the Prado and Fortuner are traditional SUVs with three rows of seats for seven people, the two vehicles will appeal to different audiences.
The Fortuner will arrive in Australian dealerships in October 2015 as a 2016 model and sale for a price that is still undisclosed. Early estimations suggest a starting price of around $45,000.
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The new Fortuner carries a rugged look with its angular grille dressed in chrome, short front overhang, tall ground clearance, and high beltline. The kink in its window line provides some visual interest to the flanks and helps break up the longish sides, though it likely creates more of a blind spot for the driver.
The kink in its window line provides some visual interest to the flanks and helps break up the longish sides.
The Fortuner’s rear end boasts some very interesting taillights with a bit of chrome accenting between them. More chrome is seen on the tailgate that wrapped around from the side windows.
Down low, the step bumper provides easier access to the roof and a stepping point for getting into the rear cargo area. Side steps below the doors also aid in entry and exits.
Depending on trim level, the Fortuner comes with either 17- or 18-inch alloy wheels. The two higher trim levels come with a roof rack, fog lamps, and reverse parking sensors. Every trim level comes with a rear-view camera. Those trim levels include the base GX, midgrade GXL, and the range-topping Crusade.
The Crusade comes with extra features, including bi-LED headlights, LED daytime running lights, a power-operated rear hatch, and the 18-inch wheels. For those Australians who want accessories like bull bars and such, Toyota will be launching their own line of accessories that are fully compatible with the Fortuner’s safety systems.
Note: 2016 Toyota Hilux interior pictured
Toyota has yet to release any photos or detailed information on the Fortuner’s interior, but its suspected it will look very similar to the 2016 Toyota Hilux interior pictured here.
All trim levels come with front and rear air conditioning, seven airbags, hill-start control, and an emergency stop light for hard braking situations.
If that’s the case, the Fortuner will have a well-designed gauge cluster with two analog gauges flanking a center information screen. A large touch-sensitive infotainment screen dominates the center dashboard and operates all the typical functions like radio, navigation, and vehicle settings.
All trim levels come with front and rear air conditioning, seven airbags, hill-start control, and an emergency stop light for hard braking situations. For those looking for adventure, the Fortuner comes with an air conditioned cooler box that keeps food and drinks cool or warm.
Seating is arranged in a 2+3+2 format with the second and third row seats offering a flat load surface when folded down. Expect the second row to be split in a 60/40 fashion to give more options when balancing cargo room with passenger counts.
The Fortuner will come with one engine option: Toyota’s 2.8-liter 1GD four-cylinder turbodiesel. Paired with the six-speed automatic transmission, the engine produces 174 horsepower at 3,400 rpm and 331 pound-feet of torque between 1,600 and 2,400 rpm, just as it does in the Hilux pickup.
The engine produces 174 horsepower at 3,400 rpm and 331 pound-feet of torque between 1,600 and 2,400 rpm, just as it does in the Hilux pickup.
Fortuner buyers can opt for a six-speed manual transmission as well, though the engine’s torque rating falls to 309 pound-feet between 1,400 and 2,600 rpm.
The manual transmission is also shared with the 2016 Hilux, meaning it has active rev matching for downshifts.
This eliminates the need to blip the throttle to increase engine revs in order to downshift – simply downshift and the electronics will perfectly match the engine’s speed for the next gear down.
Behind both the manual and automatic transmission is that two-speed transfer case. The part-time system offers conventional RWD, 4WD high range, 4WD low range, and a neutral position.
The drivetrain also includes Toyota’s electronic locking rear differential. Downhill decent control comes standard on the GXL and Crusade models.
While the Fortuner is based on the Hilux pickup, truck, the SUV dumps the truck’s rear leaf springs for a more sophisticated and smoother-riding five-link suspension with coil springs managing the solid axle. A double wishbone suspension up front makes easy work of rough terrain and curvy roads. Both ends have stabilizer bars that keep body roll under control.
Even with a coil spring rear suspension, the Fortuner is able to tow 6,613 pounds with the manual transmission and 6,173 pounds with the automatic. Braking is handled by disc brakes at all four corners.
Toyota has not yet released information on the 2016 Fortuner’s pricing, though the SUV is expected to have a starting price of around $45,000. We’ll bring you the latest information once that it becomes available.
Like the Fortuner is to the Hilux, the Everest is the SUV version of the Ford Ranger. The three-row, body-on-frame, diesel-powered SUV is sold not only in Australia, but also in China, New Zealand, India, and parts of Africa. It has three engine options, including a 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline mill, a 2.2-liter turbodiesel, and its range-topping 3.2-liter five-cylinder turbodiesel. All three engines can be had with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
Ford’s Land Rover-like Terrain Management system offers different modes for conquering varying terrain and off-road conditions. The Everest’s independent front suspension and solid rear axle suspension gives it comparable running gear to the Fortuner, though Ford uses an innovated Watts link to keep the rear axle in place.
Read our full review here.
In accordance to General Motor’s typical badge engineering methods, the MU-X is basically a Chevrolet Colorado 7 SUV dolled up as an Isuzu. That’s not a bad thing, however, as the MU-X features the 7’s body-on-frame design and four-wheel-drive setup. The Isuzu doesn’t share the Colorado’s 2.8-liter turbodiesel; instead it uses a 3.0-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel making 174 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque and sends power through a five-speed automatic transmission.
The MU-X offers a generous amount of interior room for all three rows, though the third should still be left for smaller passengers. Fold the seats down, and the MU-X offers the traditional flat cargo floor. Though the MU-X is a bit older than the Ford and now Toyota, it still offers a decent choice for Australian customers.
The Fortuner appears to be an honest, body-on-frame SUV with traditional SUV characteristics and abilities. Its competent 4WD system and tall ground clearance, along with its 6,613-pound towing capacity make it far more rugged than Toyota’s own Kluger crossover, yet more affordable than the Land Cruiser Prado. Such a vehicle should sell extremely well in Australia and offer the Ford Everest and Isuzu MU-X a run for their money.
Sadly, there is nary a chance Toyota will ever bring the Fortuna to the U.S as it competes too closely with the 4Runner. What’s worse, the Fortuna’s diesel engine will also likely remain outside the U.S. as its current power ratings aren’t competitive and would likely not pass current emissions standards.
Nevertheless, the Fortuner seems to be a fantastic new product from Toyota that the Australian market should wholeheartedly accept. Its Hilux bones and bulletproof diesel engine, along with its rugged capabilities, should make it a favorite among long-time Toyota fans.
Toyota today staged the simultaneous global reveal of a new seven-seat family SUV that will arrive in its Australian dealer showrooms towards the end of October.
Known as Fortuner, the new SUV will expand Toyota’s market-leading SUV line-up to six vehicles - joining RAV4, Kluger, FJ Cruiser, LandCruiser Prado and LandCruiser 200 Series.
Toyota Australia’s executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said the world premiere, staged simultaneously in Australia and Thailand, heralds a stylish and refined vehicle that is remarkably tough and offers genuine 4WD ability.
"Fortuner’s strength and refinement ensures it is equally at home on the school run as on the toughest off-road trails found in Australia," Mr Cramb said.
"Fortuner shares the rugged underpinnings of the ’unbreakable’ HiLux, allowing owners to travel to - and return from - places many other SUVs simply can’t go.
"At the same time, Fortuner’s unique design suits the advanced tastes of modern SUV buyers while being equipped with a comprehensive list of features appreciated by families and business owners.
"Fortuner provides a diesel alternative to the petrol-only Kluger range as the new entry point for customers looking to purchase a large Toyota diesel SUV."
Toyota sells more SUVs in Australia than any other brand, having delivered more than 50,000 in each of the past three years. No other company has sold 40,000 SUVs in a single year.
Fortuner will be offered in Australia in three grades - GX, GXL and Crusade - all powered by Toyota’s new 2.8-litre direct-injection four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine that develops up to 450Nm of torque^.
A new six-speed manual gearbox includes ’intelligent’ technology on GXL and Crusade grades to ensure smoother shifting by matching engine speed to transmission speed. A newly developed six-speed automatic transmission is also available.
All variants are fitted with trailer sway control, which is designed to assist if a towed vehicle becomes unsettled by crosswinds, bumpy roads or sharp turns of the steering wheel. Maximum braked towing capacity will be three tonnes for the manual and 2.8 tonnes for the auto*.
A part-time 4x4 during day-to-day driving, owners can turn a dial to access Fortuner’s impressive four-wheel-drive ability in high or low range.
The suspension package was developed and tuned by local engineers to meet Australia’s harsh conditions, with double wishbones at the front and a five-link, coil-spring configuration at the rear for impressive handling stability and ride comfort on all surfaces. Front and rear stabiliser bars suppress body roll.
The vehicle’s off-road prowess is enhanced by a rear differential lock with the componentry placed within the differential housing for greater off-road protection.
Significant local development was also applied to ensure optimum tuning of the stability and active traction control electronics for local conditions, particularly for use on gravel. Drivers can disable the electronics for specific off-road situations, such as driving in slippery mud or sand.
A reversing camera is standard across the range, as are seven airbags, hill-start assist control and an emergency stop signal. Toyota expects Fortuner to attract the top five-star safety rating.
All variants will feature front and rear air-conditioning, large touchscreen audio displays, Toyota Link connected mobility#, side steps, 17 or 18-inch wheels, disc brakes front and rear, and an air-conditioned compartment that helps keep drinks and food warm or cold.
The two higher grades are fitted with roof rails, fog lamps, reverse parking sensors, keyless smart entry and start, and downhill assist control.
At the top-of-the-range, features include bi-LED headlamps and LED daytime running lamps, a power back door and 18-inch alloys with highway tyres.
Fortuner will come to Australia with a comprehensive and integrated range of Toyota Genuine accessories developed and rigorously tested locally.
"These accessories - including alloy and steel bull bars compatible with the vehicle’s safety systems - build on the strong global platform and specifically meet the needs of Australian buyers," Mr Cramb said.