The long awaited for “new” Fortuner is being released in the second half of this year, and although hardly likely to take Thailand by storm, it is a first time for the name plate in Australia.
If anyone in Australia is contemplating a Fortuner, they should make contact with Thailand first. Here, every second SUV is a Fortuner and the owners swear by them, especially the diesel powered ones. I had one which had clocked well over 100,000 kays and other than an alternator and the air-con compressor needing new seals, it was trouble free.
Australia sees it as based on the next-generation HiLux one-tonne pick-up, 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, being the 2.8 liter four cylinder turbo-diesel, delivering about 130 kW of power at around 3400 rpm and between 420 Nm and 450 Nm of torque.
Sales and marketing manager Tony Cramb said, “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.
One improvement over the current model is the adoption of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
The new Fortuner keeps the coil sprung rear, as opposed to the HiLux leaf springs.
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.”
The export model gets 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.
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.”