Set to roll onto showroom floors for the first time this month, the new addition to Toyota’s range of offroad SUVs, the Fortuner, is a 21st century incarnation of the classic 4Runner, and it looks set to be a game changer.
To start with, this ain’t just another mid-sized 4WD/car hybrid designed for the school run. The Fortuner is a vehicle with serious offroad credentials and is set to hold plenty of appeal for the touring sector.
Size-wise, the Fortuner comes in a touch more compact than the 150 Series Prado, with a similar body shape and size to the Kluger. The similarities with the family favourite end there, however, as the Fortuner has much more in common with the current model Hilux than any other vehicle in Toyota’s current range.
The Fortuner sits abreast a slightly shortened version of the Hilux’s rugged ladder frame chassis, and will be powered by the same 2.8L IGD-FTV turbo diesel that the current ‘lux comes equipped with. This impressive 130kw power plant can output 450nM of torque in the six-speed manual configuration, while the automatic model will be capable of a slightly subdued 420nM.
Talking of diesel, the Fortuner is a well-timed venture by Toyota. This is clearly a vehicle designed for and marketed to Australian tastes. In perhaps a sign of good things to come, international car manufacturers may finally be beginning to sit up and pay attention to Australian diesel culture. Potential buyers who were disappointed at the lack of diesel options available in other current range Toyota SUVs such as the FJ Cruiser and Kluger will rejoice in the three variant diesel-only range.
4WD mode can be engaged electronically and, in a sign this vehicle is actually designed for proper offroad use, all three variants will come equipped with a mechanical rear diff lock. The base GX variant and mid-range GXL will both come standard with 17-inch wheels and a set of all terrains, while the benchmark Crusade variant rides a set of 18-inch alloys shod with highway terrain rubber.
The vehicle’s seven seater configuration will no doubt appeal to those with young familes, although for touring purposes the back row of seats will almost always be left at home to free up storage space.
Camper trailer, caravan and boating enthusiasts will be pleased by the manual model’s maximum braked tow rating of 3000kg. Automatic models will attract a lower 2800kg rating, which is ample for all camper trailers and most mid-sized boats and caravans. All versions come standard with trailer sway control.
By the time this issue goes to print, we’re hoping to have gotten our hands on a Fortuner to conduct some real world testing. On paper, this looks to be an impressive vehicle with plenty to offer the offroad touring community. Watch this space over coming issues for the full comprehensive review. www.toyota.com.au