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Toyota Hilux and Fortuner revealed with muscular looks

Updates to the global duo, akin to our Tacoma and 4Runner, include fresh looks and a little more power.

Toyota Hilux
The Hilux has been Australia's best selling vehicle for four years now, so this is important to Toyota.

While the US knows the Toyota Tacoma and 4Runner as the Japanese automaker's rough-and-tough utility duo, the majority of the world looks to the Hilux and Fortuner as the poster children. On Thursday, Toyota revealed the latest updates to the two popular models for Australia.

The 2021 Hilux and Fortuner debuted online and pack updated looks and more power from a turbocharged 2.8-liter inline-four diesel engine. It's unlikely either model foreshadows changes to our Tacoma and 4Runner, but they do look quite good -- especially the Fortuner.

The Hilux sports a bigger grille and redone headlights to make for a more modern pickup, while the Fortuner's facelift seems to nab some familiar design elements found across Toyota's portfolio. There's a little bit of Highlander, a smidge of RAV4 and the taillights house shades of Camry. In my eyes, it's a good-looking SUV. To global buyers, they represent big changes since neither model has received updated looks since 2015.

As for the mechanical updates, the Hilux and Fortuner now boast 201 horsepower from their diesel engines. A gasoline-fed 2.7-liter turbo-four remains, as does a smaller 2.4-liter turbodiesel inline-four as well. For those that opt for the beefiest of the three, the 2.8-liter turbodiesel engine also packs more torque if buyers select the automatic transmission. Now, there's 369 pound-feet of torque on tap. The figure drops to 309 lb-ft for Hilux models equipped with a manual transmission. All the while, the oil burner is 11% more efficient than before, according to the automaker.

Suspension changes include new bushings, a revised leaf-spring design and tweaked shock absorber tuning to make both models more comfortable every day, but Toyota promises they'll still hold their own when it's time to take either the Hilux or Fortuner off-road. Meanwhile, max towing capacity jumps to 7,716 pounds for Hilux 4x4 models and 6,172 pounds for 4x2 models. The Fortuner can tow more, too, and sees an increase to 6,834 pounds.

Interior improvements aren't as drastic, but now, every Hilux and Fortuner boasts an 8.0-inch touchscreen display that houses Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability, a welcome addition for sure.

The new Hilux will launch this July for Aussie buyers, while the Fortuner arrives in August.

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First published June 5.