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Toyota’s Fortuner SUV revealed in brochure

Good fortuner: The HiLux-based Toyota Fortuner could arrive here early next year to rival Ford’s Everest, Mitsubishi Challenger and Holden Colorado 7. (Source Fly-Wheel.com)

Fortuner could be Toyota’s eighth SUV and give more off-road clout than Kluger

Toyota logo30 Mar 2015

By NEIL DOWLING

LEAKED and grainy images of the HiLux-based Fortuner SUV have hit the web, revealing Toyota’s next SUV that is believed to be bound for Australia.

Published in India on automotive website Fly-Wheel.com, the brochure images show the front-end design of the seven-seat Fortuner wagon, revealing a chrome two-bar grille, sleek headlights that are similar to the Camry sedan, LED daytime-running lights and circular fog-lights.

Toyota Motor Company Australia has yet to confirm the arrival of the next-generation Fortuner that has never officially sold Down Under, despite being a staple of South-East Asian family and taxi duties since 2008.

A similar model, known as the 4Runner, was offered in Australia between 1987 and 1996.

The Fortuner would be a smart addition to Toyota’s local SUV line-up, as it is powered by a diesel engine, which its Kluger stablemate does not offer.

It would also likely be priced to compete at the lower end of the off-roader segment, potentially undercutting the cheapest seven-seat diesel Prado GX, which starts at $51,990, plus on-road costs.

Like the current generation, the 2016 Fortuner uses a HiLux ladder frame and shares its dual-range drivetrain and diesel engine.

As a seven-seater it would compete with Ford’s Australian-developed Ranger-based Everest, Mitsubishi’s Triton-based Challenger, the Isuzu D-Max-based MU-X and the Holden Colorado 7 that is based on the Colorado ute.

The current Fortuner, which is a facelift of the original that went on sale in various markets in 2005, was designed and engineered in Australia by TMCA and is built at the same Thai plant as the HiLux.

TMCA has previously said the Fortuner was under consideration for Australia, with the car-maker’s local executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb telling media in February this year that the Fortuner was “definitely something that would fit that SUV growth”.

“It’s a vehicle that we would have to consider and would be very appealing to a market like this,” he said at the time.

“We do have Kluger and Prado, but there’s definitely a case to say that the Fortuner would work well here in Australia.”

TMCA product public relations manager Stephen Coughlan was coy on the Australian future of the Fortuner, telling GoAuto this week that it was not policy to talk about future products.

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