Circa-$45K pricing projected as the 7-seater Toyota Fortuner takes aim at Holden Colorado 7 and co.
THE MODERN-DAY Toyota 4RUNNER is here, as the Japanese giant attempts to fill yet another niche in its ever-expanding SUV line-up with the strangely named 2015 Toyota Fortuner.
Based heavily on the next-generation Toyota Hilux that will launch alongside it in October, the body-on-frame Toyota Fortuner will be pitched as a lifestyle diesel alternative to the resolutely petrol-only Toyota Kluger, and as such will be offered in a three-row, seven-seater, family-friendly configuration.
Toyota is staying mum on pricing, but expect the base Fortuner to follow the Holden Colorado 7, Isuzu MU-X, and Mitsubishi Challenger in the low-to-mid $40,000 region. In contrast, the more sophisticated Prado currently kicks off from $51,990 in GX 3.0D manual guise, while the upcoming Ford Everest starts at $54,990.
Powering the Toyota Fortuner is the Hilux's all-new 1GD-FTV 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel, producing around 130kW of power and up to 450Nm of torque. Drive is sent to the rear wheels predominantly via either a six-speed manual or six-speed torque-converter auto, with a part-time four-wheel drive system and lockable rear differential included for when the going gets tough.
Unlike the Hilux, the Fortuner junks the leaf-spring rear suspension system for a five-link coil spring arrangement, though the separate chassis construction is very much off-road capable.
Significantly, an undisclosed amount of local tuning in Australia will ensure ‘comfortable on-road ride and handling characteristics, according to one Toyota spokesman. Apparently it is so effective that overseas markets in Asia and the Middle East will also adopt it.
The Fortuner’s towing capacity ranges between 2800kg and 3000kg according to transmission, with Trailer Sway Control, stability control, seven airbags, hill-start assist control, four-wheel disc brakes, and emergency stop signal also fitted as standard.
Along with the three-row seating and four-wheel drive, the base GX will boast a reversing camera, front and rear air-conditioning units, touchscreen multimedia with Bluetooth and Toyota Link connectivity, and a cooler box. Tyres are either off-road biased 17-inch on GX and mid-range GXL, while the top-line Crusade gains on-road 18-inch items, as well as Bi-LED headlights with daytime running lights, and an electrically operated tailgate.
Toyota Australia sales and marketing boss, Tony Cramb, says the Fortuner is an essential addition to the T-brand’s six-strong SUV line-up.
“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,” he stated.
More details will be divulged closer to the Fortuner’s late October launch.
The Fortuner range can trace its roots to the 4Runner of the mid-’80s (pictured below), which morphed with successive Hilux updates as the Surf and – from 1998 – the Sport Rider in Asian markets. The Fortuner nameplate was finally introduced with the outgoing Hilux version in 2005.
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