Fortuner, Urban Cruiser & Vitz are all new for 2023 Toyotas
Toyota today confirmed an exciting new product push for 2023, as always. Headlined by a fresh face for the Fortuner, the totally new baby Vitz and an all-new Urban Cruiser, SA’s biggest carmaker has far more up its sleeve for the coming year, too.
Toyota still on top of the world
“Toyota is still South Africa’s favourite brand after six decades selling cars here,” Toyota SA Sales and Marketing suit Leon Theron explained at the company’s annual State of the Industry function in Johannesburg today. “2022 was Toyota’s 43rd straight year as the market leader, with a total of 132 035 new-vehicle registrations for a 24.9% market share.
“Despite our challenges, we retained a market share very close to our 25% in 2021. “It could have been bigger, were it not for supply constraints due to non-production caused by floods at our plant in Durban.” With that in mind, Theron unveiled a glut of new Toyotas due for release in 2023.
A fresh new Fortuner face
Top of the list is a restyled Toyota Fortuner. “The refreshed Fortuner will sport aggressive new styling with revised LED headlamps, and fresh front grille and bumper treatment,” Theron pointed out. “There’s also a new red and black interior trim option.” No timeline was mentioned, but new Fortuner should be on the road in the second quarter.
Next up and equally significant from a sales perspective is the all-new Toyota Urban Cruiser. “Built in Toyota’s plant in India, the new Urban Cruiser boasts an all-new SUV design, a larger body with more space, increased safety specification, climate control, cruise control and reverse camera.”
All new Urban Cruiser steps up
The Urban Cruiser, known as Toyota Hyrider in other markets, shares its base with the latest Suzuki Grand Vitara. The downscale previous Urban Cruiser shared its heart with the one class down Suzuki Vitara Brezza. Expect the bigger, better new one in SA in the second quarter.
Toyota’s new Vitz is Toyota’s third all-new major market player due in 2023. “The Vitz takes over the mantle from the outgoing Agya which has already established our presence in the A segment,” Theron pointed out.
Vitz a big step up from Agya
The new Vitz is in essence a Toyota badged Suzuki Celerio, which thoroughly impressed us on test last year. It should prove a significant step up from the unpopular and old fashioned Daihatsu based Agya.
Beyond the new volume cars, Toyota will tease SA with some other exciting new models in 2023: “The all-new Toyota Crown sedan will be available to sample in introduction, before a few units retail later this year,” Theron explained. “Under the bonnet, the Crown 2.5 E-Four Hybrid boasts a total system output of 176 kW and 4.4 l/100 km fuel consumption.”
High tech & innovation on 2023 menu too
“We will also undertake local research around the hydrogen fuel cell Toyota Mirai with other relevant players and government,” Leon Theron confirmed. “This will continue Toyota SA’s ongoing collaboration with Sasol for example, as we will elaborate in the near future.”
Moving on to Lexus, Theron confirmed that the UX BEV will be one of the first models in Toyota SA’s battery-electric portfolio. “Once we are fully prepared for BEVs go to market, the BX will lead the way with a potential range of 450 km, 150 kW of pure electric range, and a 0-100km/h sprint time of 7.5 seconds.
Mirai to explore a hydrogen future in SA
The Lexus NX will see to it that plug-in hybrids will become more mainstream over the next transitional period. “Key numbers for this one are a 60 kilometre range in full electric mode, and zero to 100 in 6,2 seconds,” Theron concluded. “We will also launch the new generation RX range. In petrol, hybrid and this plug-In hybrid that will join the local line-up later.”
All in all, today’s news is hugely significant. SA’s most popular SUVs, the Toyota Fortuner gets a welcome refresh. And the Urban Cruiser grows to become a far more all-rounded model. And the new Vitz finally provides Toyota with a most compelling entry level car. Big news indeed.