Dumping sand on any U.S. midsize SUV, this 2022 Toyota Fortuner GR-S is an over-the-top project from a Philippines-based tuner. We say “around here” because it is not available here. The Fortuner is the SUV spinoff of the Hilux pickup, another Toyota product not found in the U.S. Being based on the Hilux pickup, it’s got body-on-frame construction, another off-road plus.
Is this Toyota Fortuner a factory-built SUV?
A tuner shop called Autobot Offroad in the Philippines but the “Project Albino” for a customer. This Fortuna came from the factory with a 2.8-liter turbodiesel. Its only modification is a K&N air filter. So it’s still 201 hp with 369 lb-ft of torque from the factory.
Visually, the two biggest modifications are the six-inch lift and the insane Hamer bumper from Australia. The Unicorn lift is enhanced by 35-inch Nitto Mud Extreme tires wrapped around 20-inch KMC Grenade Crawl alloy wheels.
How was this Toyota Fortuner’s suspension modified?
Ride and handling are maintained with Profender long-travel shocks, Old Man Emu upper control arms, and an adjustable Hardrace Panhard rod in the rear. Combined, the White Albino towers above most off-roaders.
To drive home the off-road prowess are Hamer automatic retractable steps, a TJM snorkel, a winch, and that crazy aftermarket hood of unknown manufacture. The roof rack comes from Front Runner, with a TRD carbon exhaust pipe dumping out the rear. Inside, the stock seats are swapped for a pair of red Recaro Cross Sportster seats. Sprinkled around the cabin are red accents and stitching.
Why doesn’t Toyota sell the Fortuner here?
Toyota considers the Fortuner, Hilux, and Innova, part of its “IMV project” for emerging markets. That should mean a more stripped, less sophisticated product. But they offer some benefits that would make them attractive here, like the separate frame and body construction. And as trucks and SUVs become even more luxurious, they move away from the more utilitarian benefits of off-roaders.
And the more contemporary trucks and SUVs gain weight with the extra accouterments. They’ve also increased in size, too. There should be a strong market for them here. However, each new model means parts warehousing, service needs, and other budgets necessary to push them along.
The other problem for U.S. consideration is the chicken tax. To sell trucks here, like the Hilux, they must be built here. That presents manufacturing problems it might wish to avoid. Also, there would be a certain amount of siphoning from 4Runner and Highlander sales.
What other engines does the Fortuner come with?
The current Fortuner is a facelifted version of the second generation that debuted in 2015. A facelift happened in 2020. Besides the 2.8-liter diesel engine in this Fortuner, there are also a number of diesel offerings depending on the country. A 2.7-liter four and 4.0-liter V6 gas-powered engine are also available.
Last year Toyota cranked out well over 100,000 Fortuners worldwide. Fortuner production comes from assembly plants in both Thailand and Indonesia.