Yes, there now exists a Toyota Fortuner MHEV. And yes, it’s (only) a 48v mild hybrid

There’s always been a clamor for electrified pickups and SUVs, right? Enter the Toyota Fortuner MHEV. Fresh from the release of the mildly electrified Hilux last month, the Fortuner now gets the same mild hybrid treatment that promises greater efficiency, improved driving performance, and better comfort both on- and off-road. So how exactly does it improve on its better-known diesel sibling?

Toyota Fortuner MHEV enters electrified SUV fray… in South Africa

Toyota Fortuner Mhev South Africa Info Inline 01 Min

Photo: Toyota

It seems like Toyota has heard the masses and responded to the call for a hybridized SUV. While it’s not a full hybrid – as we said, it’s only a mild hybrid – the Fortuner MHEV may very well serve as a test bed for the actual acceptance of an “electrified” offering of the well-loved badge.

The only tell-tale sign that this is the newest variant in the stable is the presence of the “48v” emblem on the tailgate. Now, for those who have been paying attention, “48v” is the most common factor between mild hybrids; that is the battery electric motor generator that keeps the vehicle’s essentials functioning while the engine cuts power off to be more, err, environment-friendly.

Toyota Fortuner Mhev South Africa Info Inline 06 Min

Photo: Toyota

Aesthetically, on the outside, there really isn’t much of a difference from the Fortuner MHEV’s stablemates. The bumpers, wheels, and even the paint scheme, most if not all of these are still standard across the range so don’t expect something like a blue Toyota badge on the bumper and rear tailgate to set the MHEV apart.

Toyota Fortuner Mhev South Africa Info Inline 03 Min

Photo: Toyota

It’s also the same treatment on the inside; there isn’t much of a difference with the interior bits and pieces. Being a mild hybrid, though, perhaps it is safe for us to expect a new screen on the gauge cluster’s MID that shows the function of the mild hybrid system.

What’s interesting is that the Fortuner MHEV retains its diesel mill under the hood. Good for about 200HP and an impressive torque rating of 500 Nm, it’s interesting how the mild hybrid system is said to add somewhere in the range of about 16HP and 65 Nm of pull to the total output. There isn’t an exact figure given as to power and torque, but alongside, these added numbers also equate to about a 10% improvement in fuel efficiency, so Toyota says.

Toyota Fortuner Mhev South Africa Info Inline 04 Min

Photo: Toyota

A mind-boggling 8-variant Fortuner MHEV lineup is already available in South Africa, and while it’s pretty far-fetched to hope that we’ll get it here in the Philippines, it doesn’t hurt to dream. We have to admit the mild-hybridization is but a gateway to full hybrid technology being put into any vehicle, and should such technology make it better, then the Fortuner MHEV might have a pretty short life if only to make way for a Toyota Fortuner HEV.

But that’s most likely in the far future. For those of us who are all for technology and every little bit to be more eco-friendly, we’ll take this as a win.

Mikko Juangco
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