SET TO ARRIVE IN MZANSI: Toyota's third-generation Fortuner will arrive locally later in March 2016. Image: Supplied
Cape Town - South Africans were quick to pick-up on the worldwide popularity of SUVs.
In fact, its well-known in the local motor industry that the SUV killed the station wagon. It's easy to understand why - higher ride-height, the option of 4x4 prowess, more technology and possibly more space.
SA's best-selling SUV
Toyota SA cleverly watched global trends and in 2006 launched the Fortuner: an SUV based on its best-selling Hilux bakkie.
South Africans who weren't too keen on a bakkie as their family vehicle now had the option of a full-sized SUV from a brand they trusted.
Image gallery: 2016 Toyota Fortuner
The Fortuner quickly became the best-selling SUV in Mzansi and has undergone a few upgrades (one in 2009), and a second-generation model was launched in 2011.
In 2016, the third generation will arrive later in March. Here's what you can expect from the new SUV.
The model uses a range of newly developed engines (identical to those powering the new Hilux) , including the 2.4 and 2.8 Global Diesel (GD) series, the 2.7-litre VVT-I and 4.0-litre V6 units. The GD series engines, according to Toyota, are the main attractions as they offer improved power output, efficiency and refinement.
Watch: SA-bound Toyota Fortuner reviewed in 7 mins
The 2.4-litre GD produces 110kW/400Nm, while the 2.8 GD produces 130kW/420Nm in manual guise. Automatic transmission versions will receive a boost to 450Nm.
Toyota says its improved the fuel efficiency of the diesel engines by 9% compared to the units they replace.
Two petrol engines are on offer, including a revised version of the familiar 2.7-litre VVT-i and the livelier 4.0-litre V6. The former delivers 122kW/245Nm with a 10% improvement in fuel economy. Toyota engineers have made revisions to the smaller unit to include lighter valvetrain components, a newly shaped intake tumble port, reshaped combustion chamber to support a high compression ratio and the adoption of VVT-i for the exhaust side.
Completing the line-up is the range-topping 4.0-litre V6, delivering 175kW/376Nm.
The new Fortuner uses a new six-speed manual and automatic transmission. Available on all grades in either manual and auto configurations, have a wide spread of ratios to, Toyota says, "optimise both take-off performance and fuel economy at highway speeds".
Manual models receive Toyota's newly-developed intelligent manual transmission (iMT). The iMT matches engine revolutions for smoother shifts: especially useful when carrying heavy loads.
Entry Grade (2.4 GD-6 and 2.7 VVTi)
• Push start
• Cruise control
• Auto door lock
• Front and knee airbags
• Illuminated entry
• Chilled glove box
• Front fog lamps
• Front and rear spoilers
• Roof rails
• Side step
• 17” alloys
• Full alloy spare wheel
Standard Grade (2.8 GD-6)
• Exterior looks similar to entry
• Leather upholstery
• Front, knee and curtain airbags
• LED headlights
• Follow-me-home auto lights
• Auto air-conditioner
High Grade (4.0 V6)
• All the standard grade features
• Power back door
• Navigation system
Priced from R436 400 to about R600 000 for the range-topping 4.0 V6
More from Toyota
The Fortuner arrives locally following the launch of Toyota's best-selling bakkie, the Hilux (February 2016). Read our driving impression here.
Another cool model from Toyota is the Fortuner sprinkled with TRD magic - the new Fortuner TRD Sportivo. Check out this cool TRD-badged Fortunere here.