The news is well known by now: SA’s best-selling SUV has been extensively updated and lands on dealer floors in the 2016 second quarter when local pricing and more details will be revealed. It’s come a long way from the first model which went on sale in 2005, as these images show, but it retains its tough ladder-frame chassis and 4WD abilities.
“Solid Fluidity” is how Japan’s designers describe the new looks. ‘A bit like Rav4,’ is what the rest of us might be tempted to say about the grinning chrome grille, squinting headlights and sharply etched rear aspect. The interior, which is not yet being
revealed, ups the premium stakes. Features include upholstered sides to the vertical centre stack, a tablet-like multimedia interface, a smart entry/start system, a switch to replace the old lever when selecting 4WD, easier one-touch folding of the second-row seats, and (it seems) the same old hook-up third row seats.
Stowage has been generously provisioned with 15 places, says Toyota, while safety kit now includes kneebags, and features such as hill-start assist. Other changes include a strengthened chassis to improve torsional rigidity and safety, with a double wishbone front suspension as usual, combined with a revised four-link rear suspension that now includes an additional stabiliser bar. Engines will echo the Hilux line-up, being diesels of 2.4-litre and 2.8-litre displacement (petrol variants are yet to be disclosed) which are quieter, more fuel efficient, have great low-end torque and more power at all engine speeds: wish-list fulfilled. In keeping with the rivals, the Fortuner will be offered with a six-speed automatic, or manuals featuring a rev-matching technology called i-MT).