Note: Toyota has downgraded Fortuner ground clearance from 279mm to 225mm.
The first Toyota Fortuner to be sold in Australia will start from $47,990 plus on-road costs when it launches in Australia next week.
The launch of Toyota‘s HiLux-based SUV comes at a critical time for the Japanese manufacturer, with Ford also launching its ute-derived SUV, the Everest, and Mitsubishi soon to launch its Triton-based Challenger.
The seven-seat Fortuner launches in Australia with three specifications levels: the entry-level GX from $47,990, the mid-range GXL from $52,990 and the flagship Crusade from $59,990. All models will offer switchable four-wheel drive and considerably undercut the competition from the blue oval brand.
The new model will essentially sit alongside the petrol-only Kluger seven-seater, and will compete with the likes of the Isuzu MU-X (which ranges from $40,500 for the two-wheel drive entry model through to $54,000 for the flagship 4WD), as well as the Mitsubishi Challenger (which is due to be replaced soon) and, unless you listen to Ford’s marketing guys who claim the Ranger-based Everest 4WD is a Prado rival, the Everest that starts at $54,990 and tops out at an eye-watering $76,990, before on-road costs.
The new Fortuner will be offered exclusively with a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, the same powertrain seen in the larger Prado and also the new-generation HiLux ute.
That 2.8-litre produces 130kW of power and 450Nm of torque with a six-speed automatic gearbox (which is optional on all grades for an additional $2000 and features paddle shifters on GXL and Crusade models), while the six-speed manual offers a little less torque, with 420Nm.
Both gearboxes will also ‘blip’ the throttle on downshifts. An intelligent manual mode offers rev matching and blips on downshift with the six-speed manual. The engine uses a low-friction timing chain designed to last the life of the vehicle and a particulate filter.
Fuel use is pretty impressive, with a combined-cycle claim of 7.8 litres per 100km for the six-speed manual, while the six-speed automatic uses 8.6L/100km.
Much like the HiLux, the Fortuner launches in Australia with engineering input for Toyota’s Toyota Technical Centre Australia (TTC-AU) — the same team that helped develop the ride and handling of the HiLux.
The Fortuner follows the Everest’s lead with a five-link coil sprung rear suspension setup, replacing the leaf spring setup in the HiLux. The front-end features a double wishbone design.
Unlike some of its competitors, the Fortuner will be selectable four-wheel drive only (so there will be no cut-price rear-wheel-drive-only model). The four-wheel drive system features a low- and high-range transfer case, along with a mechanical rear differential lock and switchable two- and four-wheel drive.
Driving off-road is made easier thanks to Toyota’s A-TRAC active traction control system that complements other safety features across the range that include a reversing camera, seven airbags, hill-start assist and an emergency stop signal.
In terms of off-roading specifications, the Fortuner features a 30-degree approach and 25-degree departure angle. Ground clearance measures in at 225mm, while wading depth is an impressive 700mm.
When it comes to towing, Fortuner offers a 3000kg braked towing capacity for the manual and 2800kg for the automatic, which is up on the Kluger’s 2000kg towing capacity.
The Fortuner will be available with seven exterior colours, projector headlamps and LED tail lights. The interior will come with three 12V accessory sockets and a 100W, 240V power connector. There are three top-tether child seat points, along with two ISOFIX points.
Drivers can option genuine accessories that include bull bars (both alloy and steel) and a number of other accessories to improve the Fortuner’s on-road appearance. Each of these genuine accessories is compatible with Toyota’s safety systems.
Toyota Fortuner pricing (plus on-road costs):
GX manual – $47,990
GX auto – $49,990
GXL manual – $52,990
GXL auto – $54,990
Crusade manual – $59,990
Crusade auto – $61,990
Click on the Photos tab to see a full gallery of images of the 2016 Toyota Fortuner.