Bud­get bush bash­ers

The Advertiser - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE - JOSHUA DOWL­ING

over $60,000. Even the Toy­ota Prado is close to $85,000 in topof-the-range guise.

The new gen­er­a­tion of af­ford­able seven-seat of­froad­ers will hit the fam­ily sweet spot of $45,000-$55,000.

As with the up­com­ing Ford Ever­est and up­dated Mit­subishi Chal­lenger, the Toy­ota For­tuner is a seven-seater, although as with the oth­ers it ap­pears it’ll be a bit snug in the back if all seats are taken.

Power will come from the all-new 2.8-litre turbo diesel en­gine that is about to make its de­but in the up­dated Prado and all-new HiLux ute. Three grades will be avail­able, with a stan­dard re­vers­ing cam­era and seven airbags across the range.

The For­tuner is a spir­i­tual suc­ces­sor to the Toy­ota 4Run­ner, which was last sold in Aus­tralia be­tween 1984 and 1996 for $40,000 to $48,000.

It was even­tu­ally re­placed by the Prado.

That proved to be a wise move as the Prado be­came one of Aus­tralia’s top-selling recre­ational ve­hi­cles. It pro­vides a pop­u­lar cheaper en­try point into Toy­ota’s heavy duty four-wheel-drive range than the LandCruiser.

But its price has risen over the years and, as Aus­tralia’s ap­petite for four-wheel-drives con­tin­ues to grow, Toy­ota, the big­gest seller of SUVs, has found the need to in­tro­duce a more af­ford­able model.

Back in the 1980s the 4Run­ner was ini­tially mar­keted as a cosy two-door, five-seater ute with a fixed canopy, aimed at surfers and young cou­ples who went camp­ing. The sec­ond model was avail­able with four doors and five seats.

But it has grown up since then, and is now sold as a sev­enseater fam­ily car in Thai­land, where it is made along­side the HiLux, and other parts of Asia.

Holden and Isuzu al­ready of­fer rugged seven-seaters in their line-ups. The Holden Colorado7 and Isuzu MU-X have carved out a healthy niche. The MU-X has been par­tic­u­larly well re­ceived, out­selling big names such as the Mit­subishi Pa­jero and Nissan Pathfinder so far this year.

Ever­est to be joined by the Toy­ota For­tuner and Mit­subishi Chal­lenger. All three are based on one­tonne utes — the Ranger is the start­ing point for the Ever­est, while the For­tuner is built on the HiLux plat­form and the Chal­lenger is spun off the Tri­ton...

A NEW bat­tle­field is emerg­ing in the fight for fam­ily car buy­ers. Buoyed by the suc­cess of the one-tonne ute, which has be­come a de facto fam­ily car in re­cent years, car­mak­ers are rush­ing to bring out a new breed of af­ford­able seven-seat, heavy-duty...

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