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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

First hint of next Fortuner? All-new Toyota 4Runner officially debuts

Next generation Hilux's aligning with the already out Tacoma for the first time since 1995 will expand to include the 4Runner and incoming new Fortuner.

After a short teaser campaign of less than a week, Toyota, in the early hours of Wednesday morning (10 April), officially debuted the sixth generation 4Runner in the United States as the first completely new generation in 15 years.

Set to take-up station below the new Land Cruiser Prado, which will do without the latter suffix in the States, the 4Runner again serves as the SUV equivalent of the Tacoma bakkie, but the first time in its 30-year history, the likely preview of what to expect from the next generation Fortuner.

Styled by Prado and Tacoma

Sitting above the unibody Highlander in Toyota’s North American SUV range, the 4Runner becomes the latest model after the Land Cruiser 300, Sequoia, Tundra, Tacoma, Lexus GX and LX to ride on the body-on-frame TNGA-F platform the Fortuner and next generation Hilux will utilise come their launch dates next year.

ALSO READ: Preview of next Fortuner? New Toyota 4Runner debuting on 9 April

Styled to resemble the Tacoma when viewed from the front, and from the rear, the Prado as well as the outgoing model, the decidedly more compact looking 4Runner gains on all dimensions though with an overall length of 4 950 mm, height of 1 798 mm, width of 1 976 mm and wheelbase of 2 950 mm.

All-new Toyota 4Runner revealed
Rear facia still resembles that of the previous generation, but also the new Land Cruiser Prado from some angles. Image: motor1.com

Its ground clearance rated at 234 mm seating is again provided for five, though a seven-seat arrangement can be specified as an option. The claimed tow rating is 2 722 kg.

Off-road geared

Available in nine trim levels; SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Sport Premium, Limited, TRD Pro, TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, the new off-road focused Trailhunter and flagship Platinum, the 4Runner comes standard with rear-wheel-drive, with a choice of two all-paw gripping system for four-wheel-drive models.

Toyota finally debuts all-new 4Runner
TRD Pro variant gets a locking rear differential as standard, along with the i-Force Max hybrid engine. Image: Toyota USA

In the first instance, the TRD Pro, TRD Off-Road and Trailhunter variants utilise a part-time system equipped not only with a low range transfer case, but also an electronically locking rear differential in place of the otherwise standard limited slip differential.

Reserved for the luxury focused Limited and Platinum models is a full-time four-wheel-drive system with a centrally locking differential.

Toyota finally debuts all-new 4Runner
Standard on all models is an electronically lowering glass roof as part of the revised split tailgate design. Image: Toyota USA

Adding further to the 4Runner’s suite of go-anywhere technologies is the Multi-Terrain Select system with a Crawl Control mode, Downhill Assist system, and for the first time, Stabiliser Bar Disconnect which, as its name suggest, disconnects the stabiliser bar similar to the Jeep Wrangler to provide better suspension articulation when driving over obstacles.

Despite revealing its ground clearance, Toyota, surprisingly, declined to disclose the 4Runner’s breakover angle, confirming only the departure angle of 24-degrees and the approach of 32-degrees.

Off-road to the max

Besides the off-road tuned suspension on the TRD models, the newly added Trailhunter, as on the Tacoma, ups the ante further by receiving not only a bronze finished block letter TOYOTA grille, but also a 20-inch LED light bar, rock sliders, heavy-duty front and rear bashplates, an A-pillar mounted air intake, roof rack sourced from ARB and an Old Man EMU suspension with forged shock absorbers.

More Toyota Trailhunter models added
Newly added Trailhunter tops the off-road focused 4Runner range. Image: Toyota USA

Mounted on 33-inch Toyo all-terrain tyres, the added hardware translates to an increase in ground clearance of 50bmm at the front and 13 mm at the rear.

Completing the Trailhunter is an integrated 2 400-watt inverter located within the boot walls, an extended array of ARB accessories, black plastic wheel arch cladding, gloss black mirror caps and black door handles.

Interior transformation

Rumoured but not seen until now, the 4Runner’s interior mirrors that of the Tacoma design-wise with a choice of two digital instrument cluster displays; a seven-inch on the SR5, TRD Sport and TRD Sport Premium, and a 12.3-inch on the Limited and up.

All-new Toyota 4Runner revealed
Interior has undergone a complete overhaul and now resembles that of the Tacoma. Image: Toyota USA

As standard, the former trio receive an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard, with a 14-inch, shown in the most recent teaser image, being fitted to all grades from the Limited.

Standard on all nine is push-button start and keyless entry, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a split tailgate with an electrically retracting glass section and a series of type-A and type-C USB ports.

Toyota finally debuts all-new 4Runner
Interior of the TRD Pro. Image: carscoops.com

On the safety front, the upgraded Safety Sense 3.0 has been expanded to all nine models and comprises Lane Departure Warning with Steering Assist, Lane Trace Assist, Pre-Collision Warning, Traffic Sign Recognition, Radar Cruise Control, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Monitoring.

Turbo and hybrid replaces V6

Signalling a big departure from its predecessor, up front, the 4Runner adopts the same engine downsizing route as the Tacoma by eschewing the 4.0-litre V6 petrol in favour of the new 2.4-litre i-Force T24A-FTS turbo-petrol in two configurations.

More Toyota Trailhunter models added
Trailhunter gets the i-Force Max hybrid powerunit as standard. Image: carscoops.com

Fitted as standard to the SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road and Limited, the unit develops 207kW/512Nm and is paired to a new eight-speed automatic gearbox that replaces the old five-speed.

Available as an option on the TRD Off-Road and Limited, but the sole choice on the remaining trim grades, the i-Force Max combines the 2.4-litre petrol with a 1.87-kWh battery pack powering a 36 kW electric motor.

More Toyota Trailhunter models added
Special 18-inch alloy wheels on the Trailhunter wrapped in 33-inch all-terrain wheels. Picture: Toyota USA

A setup integrated into the housing of the eight-speed ‘box, the hybrid powertrain develops a combined 244kW/630Nm, making it the most powerful 4Runner ever made.

The significance for Fortuner

Set to go on-sale in the third quarter of the year with pricing speculated to start around the $45 000 (R831 000) mark, the 4Runner, while unlikely to be offered outside North America, remains significant for its likely influencing, as mentioned, of the incoming Fortuner.

This as a result of a product alignment strategy uncovered by MotorTrend three years ago in which the Hilux and Tacoma will share fundamentals for the first time since 1995, with the same applying to the 4Runner and Fortuner.

Influence of new Tacoma and 4Runner
Model realigning will result in the Tacoma and 4Runner effectively sharing fundamentals with the next generation Hilux and Fortuner. Image: motor1.com

Excluded though are the Land Cruiser Prado and Land Cruiser 300 in part to both spawning upscale Lexus variants in the shape of the since revealed new GX and LX.

As such, expect noticeable similarities between the Fortuner and 4Runner when the former reportedly debuts in 2025, the same year in which Tacoma-styled new Hilux is anticipated to make its world debut.   

Additional images and information from carscoops.com and motor1.com.

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