A Toyota executive has described the refreshed Fortuner as a “something of a wolf in sheep's clothing”, saying it is both a “premium SUV” and an “off-road explorer”.

Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia vice-president for sales and marketing, said the updated seven-seater SUV was an even more polished offering than before.

"Fortuner is something of a wolf in sheep's clothing: it has the space, comfort and convenience of a premium SUV while its rugged underpinnings make it an enthusiastic off-road explorer ready for any adventure," Hanley said, describing the SUV as an “affordable choice for those who aspire to own a Land Cruiser".

The facelifted Fortuner was revealed in Thailand in June 2020, with the 2,8-litre turbodiesel engine boasting more grunt (150 kW and 500 N.m) and improved fuel consumption, while also facilitating an increased braked towing capacity.

The Japanese firm says handling has also benefited from a new variable-flow power-steering pump that offers more assistance at parking speeds and delivers a “more direct feel” at highway speeds.

Inside, the Australian-spec Fortuner gains a new eight-inch infotainment screen (operated by buttons rather than touch) with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.

The current-generation Fortuner was revealed in 2015 before hitting the market in South Africa at the end of the first quarter of 2016. The strong-selling local range is built at Toyota’s Prospecton plant in KwaZulu-Natal. Toyota SA Motors has yet to confirm when the updated model will launch locally.