Toyota said to be working on new SUV based on Hilux Champ, to slot below Fortuner

Published Mar 11, 2024


The Toyota Fortuner is one of South Africa’s most affordable SUVs, but with prices starting at R673,100, it’s out of reach for many buyers.

But now it appears that Toyota is working on a more affordable alternative based on the affordable new Hilux Champ that was launched in Thailand recently.

According to Autocar India, the rugged new SUV, which will be cheaper and more basic than the Fortuner, will be revealed later this year. It will reportedly go on sale in Thailand first before being rolled out certain world markets.

There’s no word yet on whether the new SUV could come to South Africa. But given that the bakkie version is under strong consideration for our market, possibly being locally manufactured, there would surely be a strong case for the SUV version.

Questioned about the new bakkie earlier this year, Toyota SA’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Leon Theron said the company was “looking at options” to bring it into the country but said it was too early to confirm its introduction. It is strongly rumoured that the Stallion name would be used for the new workhorse on local shores.

Speaking of names, Autocar India believes the new sub-Fortuner SUV could revive the FJ Cruiser label, or it could be called something like Land Cruiser FJ.

An SUV version of the Hilux Champ makes a lot of sense since its IVM 0 platform - which is a more basic version of the architecture that underpins the current Hilux and Fortuner - is modular enough to allow for multiple body configurations.

Autocar India says the IMV 0 model is cheaper due to “design optimisation, lighter materials and rationalisation of equipment”.

The publication said the SUV version would share its retro front end styling as well as its dashboard with the Hilux Champ, but with some premium touches that will move it slightly upscale but without encroaching on Fortuner territory.

Naturally, engine choices in the new SUV would include the current 2.4-litre GD-6 turbodiesel and 2.7-liter normally aspirated petrol.

Toyota has yet to officially confirm the new SUV model, but it certainly seems to be in the pipeline and we wouldn’t be surprised if it was on the radar for South Africa too.