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Future models - Toyota - Fortuner

Toyota Fortuner to surface late October

Good fortune: Toyota has released preliminary details of its HiLux ute-based Fortuner SUV that will lob later this year.

HiLux-based Toyota Fortuner set to arrive this year to take on Everest, Challenger

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Toyota logo16 Jul 2015

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

TOYOTA has confirmed a late October launch for the all-new Fortuner four-wheel drive wagon, but final pricing and specification will remain a secret until much closer to the vehicle’s release.

Based on the next-generation HiLux one-tonne ute, but with a unique five-door wagon body sitting on a ladder-frame chassis, the Thai-built seven-seater will be positioned as a turbo-diesel alternative to the petrol-only Kluger large SUV, suggesting a mid-$40,000 kick-off for the base GX 4X4.

It is also likely to be positioned below the Prado which, in diesel guise, starts from $51,990 for the base GX.

According to Toyota Australia executive director for sales and marketing Tony Cramb, the Fortuner is filling a growing hole within the brand’s local 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 told Australian journalists at the SUV’s global unveiling this week, jointly held in Sydney and in Thailand.

All three grades – GX, GXL, and new Crusade – will be powered by the new M70/M80 HiLux’s 1GD-FTV 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel, delivering about 130kW of power at around 3400rpm and between 420Nm and 450Nm of torque – depending on whether it is for the six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission respectively.

One key difference between the Fortuner and its HiLux donor vehicle is the move to a five-link coil-spring rear suspension system, junking the one-tonne ute’s leaf-spring arrangement in order to provide handling and ride qualities that are closer to the newcomer’s natural rivals, the upcoming Ford Everest, Mitsubishi Challenger, Holden Colorado, and Isuzu MU-X.

A part-time four-wheel drive system will be standard on all vehicles, with on-the-fly 2WD-to-4WD capability via a console-mounted ‘on-demand dial’, a mechanical rear diff lock, and active traction control system.

Toyota says extensive local tuning has been carried out on the Fortuner, with some of the results filtering through to models sold in other countries such as South-East Asia and the Middle East.

“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,” the company said in a statement. “Drivers can disable the electronics for specific off-road situations, such as driving in slippery mud or sand.”

Towing capacity ranges between 2800kg (auto) and 3000kg, with Trailer Sway Control also being part of the package.

Among the standard features that Toyota revealed includes the three-row seating, 4WD, reversing camera, seven airbags, hill-start assist control, emergency stop signal, front and rear air-conditioning, touchscreen audio/Bluetooth multimedia, four-wheel disc brakes, a cooler compartment, and Toyota Link connectivity.

Special 17-inch off-road tyres have been developed for GX and GXL, while the Crusade gains on-road 18-inch items, Bi-LED headlights and daytime running lights, and a powered tailgate.

Additionally, an Australian-designed and made bullbar in either steel or alloy with airbag compatibility will also be made available, and represents another export opportunity for Toyota Australia.

According to Toyota Australia product public relations manager Stephen Coughlan, the Fortuner has a massive role to play in the company’s vehicle line-up.

“This is a big opportunity for Toyota in this country,” he said. “It is going to reinforce our position in the SUV market and meet the specific requirements for those who want both on-road refinement and off-road capabilities.” Toyota declined to answer any questions relating to pricing, marketing, or positioning.

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