Just days ago, the Indian carmarket saw (virtually) the launch of the second-generation of Toyota’s money-maker Fortuner in its updated avatar. And now, Toyota has already made up its mind to reveal the SUV’s third-gen as early as next year! Most-likely.
Sources close to CarThrust have revealed that Mr. Yoshiki Konishi, Chief Engineer, Toyota Motor Corporation, has stated that, “We’ll launch it (third-gen Fortuner) next year.” Some of the key highlights of the SUV are –
- Set to ditch hydraulic power steering unit for an electric one
- Will remain to be a body-on-frame SUV
- Future powertrains will be engineered keeping electrification in mind
New power-steering unit; newer ENE architecture
The Fortuner will boast a thoroughly-revised Electronic and Electrical (ENE) architecture with several upgrades. The upcoming model will bid a goodbye to the current-gen’s hydraulic power-steering unit. Mr. Konishi has added that Toyota would like to introduce an Electronic Power Steering unit shortly, too, making the vehicle easier to drive.
Although while Toyota feels the need for an EPS unit, it will be intriguing to see how they handle the calibration of the same as the hydraulic unit of the current-gen already offers a direct-feeling and does its job pretty well.
The new-gen will also arrive with a much better version of the already-present VSC (Vehicle Stability Control), albeit this time, it will be controlled electronically, to ensure that all the terrains are being tackled comfortably.
Better connectivity & driving aids
“We are on the way to introduce connectivity features step by step”, says Mr. Konishi. While adding, “The new Fortuner will have some additional features like better digitization and ADAS.”
The current-gen of the SUV lacks the Advanced Driver Assistance System mentioned here but the next-gen will include the clever safety system. To compare that, both, Ford’s Endeavour, and MG’s Gloster, already sport some of the tech Toyota is aiming to bring with next year’s Fortuner. Endeavour & Gloster, both boast the EPS unit with the latter’s portfolio consisting of the ADAS, too.
Body-on-frame architecture to keep dominating
“Fortuner is built body-on-frame which is one of its strengths. We have no plan to change that. Customers who use the SUV for off-roading need the body-on-frame architecture for a memorable experience”, explains Mr. Yoshiki.
Powertrains to make way for hybrid tech
The recently-facelifted model of the second-gen Fortuner in India comes with either a 2.7L petrol making 166hp or a 2.8L diesel churning out 204hp. However, with the strict emission regs tightening every day, Toyota has to think about improved powertrains to fight with the implications of the heavy body-on-frame architecture.
And as a result, there is a possibility that the SUV’s next-gen might be offered with an electrified powertrain. Sounds highly unusual, though – a Fortuner in the form of an EV. Oh-dear-God!