2015 Reveal of All New Toyota Fortuner. (Crusade pre-production model shown)

Australia was one of the major countries to take part in the global reveal of the all-new Toyota Fortuner, indicating its importance to Toyota’s head office in Japan.

Based on the still to be launched Toyota HiLux, the Fortuner shares many of its body-on-chassis underpinnings and mechanical components, but has a seven-seat station wagon body. Importantly, it has a multi-link rear suspension to provide a better ride than the pickup.

The SUV unveiled to Australian motoring journalists wasn’t a production model, rather a hand-built prototype. The interior was blacked as Toyota wants to tease us by holding off on the reveal of its details. Frustratingly, the photos we were provided after the event are of what appears to be production Fortuner. Though external shots, they show tiny glimpses into the interior, but nothing of any real value.

The model shown was a top of range Fortuner Crusader, other models will be tagged Fortuner GX and GXL.

Fortuner isn’t a new name for Toyota, the first Fortuner, also based on a HiLux pickup of the day was introduced in 2005 as an Asia only workhorse. With sales now sitting at 200,000 per annum it has proven far more popular than anticipated so is going worldwide.

2015 Reveal of All New Toyota Fortuner. (Crusade pre-production model shown)

In Australia the Fortuner will compete with the recently released Holden Colorado 7 and its twin brother Isuzu MUX. Ford’s forthcoming Everest will also be in Fortuner’s sights.

Though the Fortuner could be considered a ‘grandson’ of the old Toyota 4Runner sold for many years in Australia that name couldn’t be used as the name 4Runner is already used in a late generation vehicle in USA. That model hasn’t been imported to Australia as it’s petrol powered, all Fortuners have a turbo-diesel.

Fortuner has a big bold frontal appearance that seems sure to hit the mark with many buyers. The Crusader shown had plenty of chrome plating and almost seems like a blast from the past – the heady days of the fifties. The body kicks up at rear and carries the latest fashion of slim rear windows. It has LED headlights and sits on 18-inch alloy wheels.

Toyota’s sales chief Tony Cram says Fortuner is aimed a wide variety of buyers, everything from the suburban school run to tough off-road exploring.

2015 Reveal of All New Toyota Fortuner. (Crusade pre-production model shown)

It’s powered by a four-cylinder turbo-diesel 2.8-engine that produces 450 Nm. Most will have a six-speed automatic, though a sophisticated six-speed manual that can rev match will also be on the sales list.

A serious 4WD from a maker with decades of history in the field in Australia the Fortuner will run a two-speed transfer case. Shifts between 2H and 4H can be done on the fly.

Toyota’s A-track electronic stability and traction system has been designed to aid the driver, both on-road and off. We will detail that when we get to drive the Fortuner following its launch in October this year.

The manual can tow up to 3000 kilograms, the auto’s ability is slightly lower at 2800 kg.

As is often the way, Australian engineers did a considerably amount of work on the design and tuning of the suspension of the big new Toyota. This Aussie expertise will also be used in Fortuners sold in other countries.

An Australian-designed bullbar has been produced to work with the airbags during a collision. This bullbar, as well as some other accessories, may be made in Australia and exported.

Seven airbags are standard, with the curtain airbags covering the third row seats. Toyota Australia is confident the Fortuner will achieve a five-star ANCAP when it’s tested here.

The Toyota goes on sale in Australia at a date yet to be set, but probably in October. Details given here may change, though that’s not likely. Pricing will be announced closer to launch date.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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