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Updated Toyota Fortuner here to stay

Toyota puts faith in Fortuner seven-seat SUV for long haul despite struggling sales

27 Aug 2020

TOYOTA Motor Company Australia (TMCA) has reaffirmed its faith in the Fortuner seven-seat off-roader, stating the third large SUV in its line-up was going nowhere despite relatively lukewarm sales numbers when compared to its rivals.


The HiLux-based Fortuner arrives in local showrooms this week with the largest update since the debut model first arrived Down Under in October 2015, ushering in changes both visually and under the skin.


While ute-based SUVs have enjoyed sales success in recent years, the Fortuner has lagged behind its counterparts like the Isuzu MU-X, Ford Everest and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, with just 1526 units shifted as of the end of July.


By contrast, Isuzu sold 3995 examples of its aging MU-X, Mitsubishi delivered 3558 Pajero Sports and Ford moved 3134 Everests.


Speaking to journalists at the launch of the updated Fortuner and HiLux, TMCA vice-president of sales and marketing Sean Hanley said the Fortuner was here for the long haul, despite being the third and least popular Toyota offering in the large SUV segment behind the Prado and Kluger.


“There was no consideration not to bring Fortuner back because it plays a really important role in the Toyota line-up,” he said.


“One of the strengths of the Toyota brand in Australia is its broad product offering, so whilst yes, in terms of our own sales Fortuner has quite a low sales rate, it really has an important role to play.


“It’s a credible choice, an affordable choice before (buyers) get to LandCruiser, and also it’s a powertrain alternative choice for Kluger right now so it certainly has a role to play.”


Mr Hanley also said the Fortuner could experience greater success as a lifestyle vehicle as COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease and people start exploring the country again.


“I think as we enter this new era in our future where I do believe domestic travel will take on a new meaning, lifestyle travel … when I look at Fortuner I think it will be an affordable choice for those people that want to tow, want a bit of off-road (capability), want lifestyle, this car fits sweetly into that spot for them.”


The updated Fortuner arrives with a number of mechanical changes, starting with a boost in power from its 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine, which like the HiLux has been increased by 20kW/50Nm to 150kW at 3400rpm and 500Nm from 1600-2800rpm.


Its power bump has been made possible due to changes with the turbocharger and cooling system, while the six-speed automatic transmission has been recalibrated for increased towing.


Despite the increases in power, Toyota claims a fuel consumption reduction of 11.6 per cent to 7.6 litres per 100km, while emissions are also down to 201g/km.


TMCA says it is confident that the diesel particulate filter (DPF) issues plaguing the pre-update version are in the past, and should not occur with the new iteration.


Braked towing capacity has expanded by 300kg to 3100kg, matching the best the segment has to offer.


Like the HiLux, the Fortuner’s hydraulic steering now gains a variable-flow steering pump that improves handling at both high and low speeds.


A number of subtle design changes have also been applied, including a new-look grille, redesigned front bumper and slimmer LED headlights.


Inside, all grades now score a larger 8.0-inch infotainment system (up from 7.0 inches) with a new button cluster layout, that now supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.


The 4.2-inch instrument cluster display now has expanded functionality, while the instrument panel has been given a refresh with a new font and satin finish.


The range opens at $49,080 plus on-road costs for the GX grade – an increase of $3115 – with standard kit including an air-conditioned coolbox, steering-wheel-mounted audio and phone controls, dark grey cloth trim, soft-touch instrument panel, tilt-and-telescopic steering column adjustment, six-way driver and four-way front passenger seat adjustment, and 60/40-split tumble-and-slide second-row seats.


Next up is the $54,350 GXL (up $3560), which adds satellite navigation, DAB+ digital radio, automatic climate control, keyless entry/start, downhill assist control, privacy glass, roof rails and LED foglamps.


Sitting atop the range is the Crusade which has increased in price by $3120 to $61,410, and includes eight-way power-adjustable front seats, black or fawn leather-accented upholstery, an electrochromatic rearview mirror, darker woodgrain-look trim on the centre console, a premium 11-speaker JBL sound system, and power tailgate.


GX customers can option sat-nav and DAB+ digital radio for an extra $1000, while GXL owners can upgrade to power-adjustable seats and leather trim for $2500.


Standard safety kit across the range includes a pre-collision safety system with pedestrian (day and night) and cyclist (daytime) detection, lane-departure alert with steering assist and high-speed active cruise control are all standard across the range, as are front and rear parking sensors and a locking rear differential.


2020 Toyota Fortuner pricing*

GX (a) $49,080
GXL (a) $54,350
Crusade (a) $61,410

*Excludes on-road costs

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