Level-pegging with the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport as the oldest of the bakkie-based SUVs on-sale today, a report from Brazil has alleged that Toyota will be taking the wraps off of the all-new Fortuner as early as 2023.
Effectively a preview of the next generation Hilux, which will be aligned closer with the all-new Tacoma currently undergoing testing in the United States, the Fortuner, known as the SW4 in Brazil, will continue to be offered with seven-seats, but as motor1.com Brazil states, equipped with a 48-volt mild hybrid system for the first time.
Poised to join the Hilux, Tacoma, the next generation Prado and indeed the North American 4Runner in moving to the new body-on-frame TNGA-F platform underpinning the Land Cruiser 300, Tundra, Sequoia and Lexus LX, the hybrid powertrain will consist of the 48-volt system working in unison with the 2.8 GD-6 turbodiesel engine.
As reported by Thailand’s headlightmag.com in May, the belt-driven starter/generator setup could potentially result in both power and torque increasing from the current 150kW/500Nm, though, this remains purely speculative at present.
“At this time, a (pure) diesel powertrain is not the best. It’s difficult to meet regulations. So, we need to change from diesel to a diesel-plus-hybrid system, or also another powertrain,” Toyota Chief Engineer, Yoshiki Konishi, told Autocar India in January last year.
Originally supposed to have debuted this year, only to be delayed for unknown reasons, the hybrid won’t be restricted to the turbodiesel, first reported three years ago as heading for the then still-born Land Cruiser 300.
As evident by the Tundra and Sequoia both utilising hybrid powertrains under the i-Force Max moniker, speculation is that the Fortuner will drop the long-serving 2.7-litre petrol engine for a brand-new 2.5-litre hybrid.
Despite the rumours being exactly that for now, chances are clearer details could emerge over the coming months heading into 2023 in the form of spy images as testing commences.
What is known is the Fortuner, updated locally last year, will go into production ahead of the Hilux slated to arrive either after or at the same time as the Tacoma next year.
Unlike the newly priced all-new Ford Everest, which the Blue Oval now sources from Thailand rather building locally at its Silverton Plant outside Pretoria, the next generation Fortuner will remain in-production alongside the Hilux at Toyota’s Prospection Plant in Durban.