The Toyota Fortuner, also named SW4, belongs in the medium or midsize SUV classification. Toyota built it under the IMV platform, which uses ladder frame construction, alongside other SUVs and pickup or light trucks like Innova and Hilux. The Fortuner has a three-row seating and front-engine rear-wheel or four-wheel drive layout.
Japanese and Thai engineers designed the first generation as part of Toyota's IMV project in Thailand in 2002 and started the production of the Fortuner in 2004. Toyota Australia took charge of the 2008 facelift, including the development of the second generation.
Today, manufacturing of the Fortuner takes place in several countries, including Indonesia, Argentina, India, Egypt, and Pakistan, among others. In countries where the Fortuner is not available, Toyota provides other IMV and similar SUVs. For instance, it sells the Hilux in Japan, the Land Cruiser Prado in Europe and Australasia, and the 4Runner in North America. New Zealand and the markets in South and Central America get the Fortuner plus the Land Cruiser Prado and the 4Runner.
1st Generation: AN50/AN60 (2004-2015)
In December 2004, the first-generation Fortuner made its debut at the Thailand International Motor Expo and went on sale the following year. Even as it shared the same platform as the Toyota Hilux ute, the Fortuner enjoyed a class of its own – snugly wedged between the Land Cruiser and the RAV4.
It offers a nifty 7-seat configuration for more passenger and cargo accommodation while providing comfortable legroom. The Fortuner sold with four engine variants: two petrol and two diesel engines. It also came in two options: a front-engine rear-wheel-drive or a four-wheel-drive configuration, with a 5-speed manual or 4-/5-speed automatic transmission.
Although marketed globally, the Fortuner was not available in Australia until the availability of the second generation in 2015.
Engine variants and trim levels
In the international scene, the first-generation Fortuner came with several engine choices, which include:
- 2.5-litre 2KD-FTV I4 common-rail diesel
- 3.0-litre 1KD-FTV I4 common-rail VGT diesel
- 2.7-litre 2TR-FE I4 VVT-i petrol
- 4.0-litre 1GR-FE V6 VVT-i petrol
For the trim levels, Toyota offered the Fortuner in G and G Luxury (GL) models for the rear-wheel-drive and a V model for the four-wheel-drive models. The turbo-intercooler common-rail variant comes with a functional bonnet scoop for maximum power output. In 2007, Toyota Motor Thailand discontinued the 4WD petrol model, replacing it with a scaled-down 2WD.
Facelifts (2008 & 2011)
The Fortuner received a minor facelift in early 2008, making its debut in Thailand and official introduction at the 16th Indonesia International Motor Show in July 2008.
Mostly affecting its interior, the facelift included the following modifications:
- a new light sand interior
- Bluetooth connectivity
- electronically adjustable driver seat (in the 4x4 V trim)
- new rear lights
- ceiling-installed rear air-conditioning for second and third-row sections (previously located on the sides)
- new projector headlamps and front grille, designed after the Toyota Land Cruiser 200 Series
- all-wheel-drive layout (for the first time)
- standard ABS coupled with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) plus Brake Assist technology for greater surface control and stability
From the initial three trim levels, there were now four variants to further boost the Fortuner's lineup, namely: the 2.5G 4x2, 2.7G Luxury 4x2, 2.7V 4x4, and 3.0G 4x4.
Toyota launched the freshly overhauled Fortuner in 2011 via the same route as it did in 2008 – unveiling first in Thailand and presentation at the 19th Indonesia International Motor Show. This time, however, the Fortuner has just come out from a considerable makeover including an enhanced exterior look plus upgrades to the audio/video set-up, the centre console, and the steering wheel. It also welcomed a new variable nozzle turbocharger (VNT) inter-cooled turbo engine.
This new version is now a tad longer and somewhat low-slung than its predecessor. With the fascia brushed up, the refreshed Fortuner now sported a redesigned bonnet, new headlamps, grille, fender, and bumper, and fog light casing resembling the J200 Toyota Land Cruiser.
On its backside, the Fortuner took on a new rear bumper and rear garnish plate, with redesigned taillights encased with translucent housing identical to the 2000 Lexus RX300. Not only that, the 2011 facelift version now sported sculpted fender flares over its sides, plus upgraded wheels comparable to the Toyota Hilux model year 2012, and an impressive LED-integrated side-view mirrors.
Fast forward to 2012, Toyota upgraded the 2.5-litre 2KD-FTV I4 common-rail D-4D engine with a variable nozzle turbocharger (VNT) technology, increasing power and torque by around 40% and enhancing fuel efficiency up to 30%. In effect, the Fortuner could now fully accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 11 seconds – a good 10 seconds less compared to its 3.0-litre turbocharged counterpart.
The public launching was in time to celebrate a phenomenal expedition across continents from Indonesia to Italy by a select crew on-board Fortuners.
2nd Generation: AN150/AN160 (2015-Present)
On July 16, 2015, Toyota launched the second-generation Fortuner simultaneously in Thailand and Australia.
Just like the Hilux, the Fortuner has adopted Toyota's newest 'Keen Look' design language, with sharper outlines and superior vents. Although both models share the same chassis, engine, and transmission components, there was a whale of a difference between the Fortuner's interior and that of the Hilux.
The new generation Fortuner comes strong with two new diesel engines, 1GD-FTV and 2GD-FTV. The 2.7-litre and 4.0-litre petrol engines were upgraded with dual VVT-i system to enhance power and improve fuel efficiency.
Sales of the Fortuner in Australia started in November 2015, but it was available only with the 2.8-litre 1GD-FTV ESTEC VNT I4 common-rail D-4D turbodiesel engine. Peak power for this engine teamed up with a 6-speed manual gearbox is 132 kW attained at 3,400 rpm and maximum torque of 420 Nm at 1,400-2,600 rpm. When paired with a 6-speed automatic gearbox, this powertrain reaches peak torque of 450 Nm at 1,600-2,400 rpm.
Three trim choices are available, namely: GX, GXL and Crusade. The new Fortuner provides a part-time 4WD system rather than the full-time 4WD system used in the previous model. It also enjoys sleek projector headlamps and LED daytime running lights to support a 'Follow Me Home' function for utmost convenience.
This new-generation Fortuner speaks volumes on car stability and control, where the occupants' safety and comfort are the prime concerns. Thus, Toyota has provided the following active and passive safety features to all second-generation Fortuner variants:
- all-around supplemental restraint system (SRS) airbags plus knee airbags
- all-around sensor
- all-auto power windows
- glove box with chiller function
- tilt and telescopic steering
- rear parking camera (not including G trim)
- digital car air-conditioner thermostat
- equipped with Eco-Mode and Power-Mode technology to adjust throttle responses
- Follow Me Home function (Halogen for G trim, LED for VRZ/SRZ
- All-around disc brakes for enhanced braking power