A fresh report out of India suggests Toyota will launch its next-generation Fortuner as early as 2022, with the body-on-frame SUV likely to gain a diesel-hybrid powertrain.

Despite the fact the Japanese brand has only just updated its Fortuner, Yoshiki Konishi, a chief engineer at Toyota, told Autocar India the third-generation model would be launched “next year”.

Interestingly, Yoshiki-san suggested the popular SUV would go the hybrid route.

“We need to introduce high-efficiency powertrains on our Fortuner, which depends on the region,” Yoshiki-san told the publication. “At this time, a [pure] diesel powertrain is not the best; it’s difficult to meet regulations. So, we need to change from diesel to a diesel-plus-hybrid system, or also another powertrain,” he revealed.

“We have two types of hybrids – one is a strong hybrid and the second, a mild hybrid. So, these are one of our solutions.”

Yoshiki-san also confirmed the Fortuner would remain a ladder-frame SUV rather than switching to a unibody configuration.

“The Fortuner is built body-on-frame, which is one of its core concepts. We have no plan to change that. Customers who use the SUV off-road need the current body-on-frame [set-up].”

In addition, the engineer revealed the Fortuner would ditch its hydraulic power steering arrangement for the next generation.

“In the near future, we would like to introduce EPS [electric power steering], which will make the vehicle easier to drive. If we introduce EPS, we will need a big change in the electronic platform,” he explained.

“We will introduce electronically controlled VSC [vehicle stability control] technology into the next Fortuner,” Yoshiki-san added.

As a reminder, the current-generation Fortuner was revealed in 2015 before hitting the market in South Africa at the end of the first quarter of 2016. Updates (including a power upgrade for the 2,8-litre GD-6 engine) were rolled out late in 2020. The strong-selling local range is built at Toyota’s Prospecton plant in KwaZulu-Natal.