NEW FORTUNER FOR SA: Toyota's new Fortuner will join its Hilux sibling locally in 2016. Image: Quickpic
Cape Town - Barely hours ago Wheels24 brought you spy images of the new Fortuner that surfaced on a Thai Facebook page devoted to the vehicles - now (July 16 2015) Toyota SA has confirmed that its new SUV will arrive locally “second quarter, 2016".
"The full local range and specifications will be disclosed closer to the launch."
Ahead of its launch in Thailand in July 2015 we have details and a gallery of the new SA-bound SUV which, Toyota says, is “Fortuner’s first full-model change”.
Powering the Fortuner will be a range of 2.4 and 2.8 diesel and petrol engines (details at the launch).
IMAGE GALLERY: 2016 Toyota Fortuner
Toyota did, however, reveal: “Low-speed torque has been greatly improved. In addition to achieving more power at all engine speeds, the new engines will consume less fuel and be quieter.”
There's be a new six-speed auto. Like the new Toyota Hilux, manual-shift Fortuners will be equipped with the automaker’s 'intelligent manual transmission'.
The suspension has been improved with a new frame bolstered by cross members, side rails and suspension towers that, Toyota says, "enhance rigidity, drive quality and safety”. The suspension uses a double wishbone (front) and a four-link suspension (rear) with an additional rear stabiliser.
NEW CABIN, TECH
Toyota applied its “Solid Fluidity” design language to its new Fortuner which manifest in an assertive, high-body design with e “bulging wheel arch flares and chunky trapezoidal front bumper”.
Compared to the outgoing model, it has slender headlights integrated into the fenders, chromed wrap-around grille, three lines along its flanks, slim tail lights and a new licence-plate trim.
READ: At last! Full story of Toyota's new Hilux
The Fortuner’s interior has been redesigned for a more premium look-and-feel. The facia has a vertical centre cluster with soft “simulated leather" upholstery. The cabin has soft-touch textures and chromed trim throughout, as well as blue interior lighting and an ambient lighting function.
Depending on the derivative, the Fortuner can be equipped with a tablet-inspired multimedia interface, touch-screen display, a smart entry and start system, an electronic 4WD switch and second-row seats with one-touch operation.
The third-row seats have a fixed hook attachment for storage and, Toyota says, there are 15 similar areas throughout the SUV.
In terms of safety, it gains knee crash-bags and hill-start assistance.
NEW HILUX ON WAY
The Fortuner will join the next Hilux locally in 2016. The eighth-generation Hilux has been completely re-designed from the inside out and for the first time (at least for us) has a luxury interior.
IMAGE GALLERY: 2016 Toyota Hilux
The new Hilux and Fortuner will compete with Ford's new Ranger bakkie and Everest SUV, due for release towards the end of 2015.
HISTORY OF A TOP-SELLER
The Fortuner’s lineage is an interesting one; the SUV derivative of Hilux was launched in 1998 as the Hilux Sport Rider, built in Thailand, and initially sold only in selected south-east Asian countries.
In 2005 it was sold in 110 countries and produced in 11. To distance itself from its Hilux sibling, it gained the new moniker – Fortuner.
Toyota SA’s senior vice-president of sales and marketing, Calvyn Hamman, said the brief was simple: “Design a Fortuner than can compete in terms of style and aesthetics while staying true to its authentic SUV characteristics and genuine 4WD performance.
“I like the analogy used by the Fortuner’s executive chief engineer Hiroki Nakajima...he compares the new Fortuner to a well-made suit. The style and quality are apparent on the outside and this assures you of the fine quality and detail of the lining on the inside, even although you may not be able to see it.
"In other words, there’s nowhere I can’t go and nothing I can’t do with my Fortuner and I’m sure going to do it in style!”
NEXT-GEN FORTUNER (FINALLY): It's a been a long-time coming but Toyota will launch a new version of its popular Fortuner SUV in 2016. We'll have more details closer to the local launch. Image: Quickpic