Toyota's Hilux-Based, 4WD, Diesel 2021 Fortuner Is Proof We Miss Out on the Best SUVs
Crossovers wouldn't suck so bad if they were all like this.
We all know the indestructible Toyota Hilux is forbidden fruit for those of us in the United States. And no matter how much we beg Toyota to bring the ultra-capable, supremely-tough pickup to our shores, it'll likely never happen. What makes matters worse, though, is that there's a Hilux-based SUV named the Fortuner, and it's got everything you'd ever want in an off-roading family hauler. The updated version for 2021 makes us even more jealous.
Off the bat, the new Fortuner is especially handsome. It rides high with a body-on-frame setup, touting a design that shows refinement and plenty of rugged attitude. Really, it looks like a more utilitarian Lexus—which is a good thing.
This generation of Fortuner has actually been around since 2015, though this facelift was unveiled earlier in the week alongside the new Hilux. Luckily, it retained the high beltline of its predecessor while making the face even sharper with LED headlights. It's a change of pace compared to the Toyota SUVs sold in North America, which are still handsome if a bit long in the tooth.
The real treasure lies underneath, to be honest. In most markets, the 2021 Fortuner will be sold with a 2.8-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder as standard. It makes 201 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque—an improvement of 27 hp and 37 pound-feet over the old rig. Fuel economy is also improved as the compression-ignition lump is said to consume 17 percent less fuel than in years past, managing nearly 30 mpg.
Impressively, Fortuners equipped with the 2.8-liter turbodiesel are capable of hauling 6,834 pounds—nearly a ton greater than the current 4Runner.
Power is sent to a six-speed automatic transmission, which is the only gearbox option available. A manual would probably be the one thing that'd make the Fortuner better to enthusiasts, but since it rides on a platform on a rear-drive platform with the option for four-wheel-drive, we'll let it slide.
So, while we dream about a seven-seater diesel SUV that gets stellar fuel economy and holds its own off-road, hopefully everyone else enjoys it.
We're looking at you, Australia. You get all the good trucks.
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