The Toyota Fortuner has received a welcome facelift, with a new front and rear appearance, a power boost, and an increase in towing capacity to match or exceed most of its direct rivals.
Prices are yet to be announced but rises are likely given the weakening exchange rate between the Australian dollar and the Japanese Yen.
The Toyota Fortuner will benefit from many of the changes to the updated Toyota HiLux, including a power boost for the 2.8-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder, from its current output of 130kW/450Nm to 150kW/500Nm.
Towing capacity on the pre-facelift Toyota Fortuner is rated at 3000kg for the manual and 2800kg for the auto.
However, the manual option was dropped last year.
On the updated Toyota Fortuner, the six-speed auto will be able to tow 3100kg, according to Toyota.
While the new Toyota Fortuner carries over its main bodywork, it gains bold new front and rear bumpers and a new choice of wheels.
Other key changes include the adoption of Apple CarPlay, Android Auto – with volume and tuning dials on the infotainment screen – and a digital speed display.
"Customers will appreciate the extra performance from the high-torque engine, coupled with impressive fuel economy, smoothness and quietness - whether they're on the school run or heading into the great outdoors," said Toyota Australia head of sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, in a media statement.
"The updated Fortuner retains its familiar GX, GXL and Crusade equipment grades, each displaying a unique surround for the larger black grille, restyled bumpers with a "skid-plate design" underrun, more prominent foglamp bezels, and slimmer headlamps upgraded to LEDs. Crusade is equipped with a new LED taillight cluster," the media statement said.
It is yet to be announced whether there will be changes to the current model’s service intervals of 6 months/10,000km, however most rivals – and several recent new models from Toyota – have longer, 12 month/15,000km gaps between routine maintenance.
The arrival of the new Toyota Fortuner will hopefully boost sales in a segment the Japanese car maker usually dominates.
Toyota is the market leader when it comes to heavy duty off-road vehicles, however the Fortuner is yet to resonate with Australian buyers.
Since its launch in 2015, the Toyota Fortuner has ranked between third and fifth place among its ute-derived class rivals.