White Toyota Fortuner in a household driveway

Toyota has now added a mild hybrid setup to their top-selling Hilux and Fortuner, aiding efficiency and providing a more responsive driving experience at the same time.

For a company with such a long history of petrol-electric hybrid vehicles, Toyota sure took their time in fitting this technology to their workhorse and adventure SUV ranges. But, in line with their aim of electrifying a greater variety of their products, the Hilux double cab and Fortuner have now both received a 48-volt mild-hybrid (MHEV) setup in their top-end variants.

Related: Read this report on ALL THINGS MOTORING for more details about the Hilux and Fortuner MHEV variants.

Toyota Fortuner 2.8 GD-6 VX badge on a white Fortuner

The aim here isn’t improved output figures, but increased efficiency and better acceleration response instead. These newcomers won’t drive like traditional Toyota hybrids, either, because their basic mechanical make-up remains unchanged - there is no eCVT to contend with.

Primary motive power is still provided by the 2.8-litre GD-6 engine, from where 150 kW and 500 Nm is sent to the drive wheels (either the rears or all four) through the same 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission as before. No manual-gearbox hybrids are available, presumably because the hybrid system needs integrated gearbox control to work to its best effect.

Related: Get your new or used Toyota Hilux from this fine selection on CHANGECARS!

White Hilux agressive front grille and Toyota badge view

No extra power, but improved responsiveness

While the headline power figures remain unchanged, the driving experience should be a bit more responsive, thanks to the addition of an integrated starter/motor/generator. This motor/generator delivers up to 12 kW and 65 Nm directly to the crankshaft via a redesigned and reinforced drive belt, giving an immediate power boost to the drivetrain while the turbocharger gets up to speed in response to increased power demands.

The 48V system also allows for a more-aggressive engine start/stop functionality, because it will allow the engine to remain off for longer while giving a quicker startup when moving from rest. The difference around town should be quite profound, because these hefty vehicles hitherto needed a fair bit of prodding to come to life - a problem which should largely be offset by the immediate torque delivery from the electric motor.

Related: MotorMatters took the Toyota Hilux Raider to a game reserve to create this video.

The battery itself is very small, to fit beneath the rear seat; and weighs only 7.6 kg, making for a negligible weight penalty. It’s all waterproofed properly to safeguard the 48V electrical system, while a special anti-slip drive belt design and new two-arm belt tensioner arrangement will maintain a firm connection between the engine and electric motor even while wading through up to 700 mm of water.

Blue Toyota Hilux driving on a dirt road with tress in the background

Off-road ability will also benefit from this hybrid system, because the energy recovery system will strengthen the engine braking effect off-throttle. Conversely, the added instant torque boost will give the driver improved control in difficult off-road driving conditions, adding an extra layer of ability to the already-capable Hilux and Fortuner.

The mild-hybrid (MHEV) Hilux and Fortuner variants are already available at your nearest Toyota dealership, and retain all the enhancements which were introduced during their most recent facelifts. The Fortuner’s two-tone paintwork option also remains, carrying a price premium of R 10 500. This MotorMatters video will tell you all you need to know about the 2023 Toyota Fortuner facelift.

Related: Shop for a new or used Toyota Fortuner for sale near you on CHANGECARS.

White Hilux next to a dam with tress in the background

Hybrid Toyota Hilux prices

2.8 GD-6 Auto D/Cab Raider MHEV:  R 774 800

2.8 GD-6 Auto 4x4 D/Cab Raider MHEV: R 866 000

2.8 GD-6 Auto D/Cab Legend MHEV: R 869 100

2.8 GD-6 Auto 4x4 D/Cab Legend MHEV: R 921 800

2.8 GD-6 Auto D/Cab Legend RS MHEV:  R 967 500

2.8 GD-6 Auto 4x4 D/Cab Legend RS MHEV: R 1 023 400

Rear 3 quarter view of a white Toytoa Fortuner in a office park parking lot

Hybrid Toyota Fortuner prices

2.8 GD-6 Auto MHEV:  R 834 800

2.8 GD-6 4X4 Auto MHEV: R 918 600

2.8 GD-6 VX Auto MHEV: R 879 300

2.8 GD-6 4x4 VX Auto MHEV: R 961 800

Martin Pretorius


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