Toyota will soon have another seven-seat SUV model line positioned beneath the LandCruiser Prado and alongside the Highlander.
To be known as Fortuner, the newcomer revives the Toyota 4Runner theme by being a body-on-frame vehicle based on the upcoming Toyota Hilux platform. It will be a rival for similarly ute-based vehicles such as the Holden Colorado 7 and the new Ford Everest and Mitsubishi Challenger models.
Toyota staged a simultaneous reveal of the new Fortuner in Thailand and Australia last week and Toyota Australia will launch the Fortuner in late October. Toyota New Zealand expects an early 2016 launch.
The Fortuner will give Toyota buyers a diesel engine SUV alternative to the Highlander at a more accessible price point than the LandCruiser Prado.
Toyota's new 2.8-litre direct-injection four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, which develops 130kW and up to 450Nm of torque (420Nm with the manual transmission) — already confirmed for use in the new Hilux and an upgraded LandCruiser Prado — will power the Fortuner.
Australia has confirmed it will offer six-speed manual gearbox and six-speed automatic transmission versions and the Fortuner will have a maximum braked towing capacity of 3000kg for the manual and 2800kg for auto models. It is equipped with trailer sway control, designed to assist if a towed vehicle becomes unsettled by crosswinds, bumpy roads or sharp turns of the steering wheel.
In common with Hilux, there is a part-time 4x4 system featuring low range.
The suspension package offers 225mm of ground clearance with double wishbones at the front and a newly developed five-link, coil-spring configuration at the rear with front and rear stabiliser bars to control body roll.
The vehicle's off-road prowess is enhanced by a rear differential lock with the componentry placed within the differential housing for greater off-road protection.
While details of the New Zealand range have yet to be confirmed, the Fortuner will be offered in Australia in three grades — GX, GXL and Crusade.
All variants will feature front and rear air-conditioning, touchscreen audio displays, side steps and an air-conditioned compartment that helps keep drinks and food warm or cold.
A reversing camera will be standard along with seven airbags and hill-start assist control. Toyota expects Fortuner to achieve the top five-star safety rating.
The two higher grades are fitted with roof rails, fog lamps, reverse parking sensors, keyless smart entry and start, and downhill assist control.