Budget bush bashers
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...