The redesign is not exhaustive and could be better referred to as a facelift, but overall the Fortuner has changed enough to read appreciably different. The SUV is dropping its vaguely Lexus-like headlights and is replacing them with sleeker ones that seem to follow current Toyota design language.
The newly designed Fortuner looks almost like a Highlander without that big chin, but the differences between the two Toyotas are great. The Highlander uses the same platform as the Camry while the Fortuner shares platforms with the venerated Hilux pickup.
In other markets, the Fortuner is also known as the SW4, and it is manufactured in Argentina, South Africa and Thailand. Toyota Thailand even has a microsite dedicated to the redesign, and you can toggle the language between Central Thai and English.
The Fortuner, like its Hilux sibling, is sold in a number of international markets, yet I’ve never seen one rolling around in Mexico despite Hiluxes being readily spotted. Then again, I don’t see a current 4Runner in Toyota Mexico’s lineup. I think a Fortuner would fill that gap nicely. You could argue that in our market, the 4Runner is good enough for American drivers and you’d be mostly right, except that the Fortuner is arguably a less luxe, more utilitarian off-roader.
And it comes with a third row of seats, accommodating seven in all. And you can get it with a four-cylinder 2.8-liter turbodiesel engine. And you can opt for a manual transmission. So, even if it lacks retro styling or a storied badge that U.S. drivers recognize, the Fortuner is a capable off-roader that could give the new Bronco a run for its money when the pavement ends.
I can understand Toyota’s trepidation over selling its redesigned SUV in the American market alongside the 4Runner. But funny enough, there is a market where the Fortuner and 4Runner are sold side-by-side. Venture a guess at where that is.
Yup. It’s Chile. Note that the price of the Fortuner is slightly lower than the reported price of the new, redesigned model, which will start at $23,490,000 Chilean pesos, roughly $32,600 U.S. Dollars. But what sticks out is that the Fortuner sits lower in the lineup than the 4Runner in terms of cost.
I would be very interested in knowing what comparing the two would be like for the Toyota salesperson down there who has been asked to prioritize sales of the 4Runner over the redesigned Fortuner.