There are also EV options like the bZ4X, but of course, the company is more of a dune-bashing and rock-crawling specialist rather than a battery-pack fan. As such, the ubiquitous 4Runner has not been abandoned, even though it has grown rather long in the tooth since its current fifth generation started production back in 2009.
In other regions, the 4Runner’s counterpart for emerging markets is also based on a pickup truck – this time around that being the Hilux and not the Tacoma. In production since late 2004, the mid-size SUV is known as the Toyota Fortuner or SW4, depending on the sales venue. As part of the company’s IMV project, it features two or three rows of seats, RWD and 4WD, and in the spirit of long-running generations, it has only reached its second iteration since 2015. But what if the future holds something else in store for it rather than an all-new design?
At least across the imaginative realm of digital car content creators, that has already happened courtesy of Kleber Silva, the Brazil-based virtual artist known as KDesign AG on social media, who has recently decided to have a CGI go at imagining the SW4/Fortuner as a compact Ute/pickup truck. Yep, that’s right, this design proposal for an “unlikely” transformation is based on America’s Hyundai Santa Cruz and would certainly spring out of the digital nether as an opposing force for the popular Ford Maverick unibody compact pickup truck.
Since this project idea is merely wishful thinking, we could fill in the blanks left by the pixel master by remembering that the rumor mill is eager to see its whispers fulfilled about a potential return by Toyota to compact pickup truck affairs in the North American region. Sure, the buzz is about the hypothetical revival of the Stout nameplate. But who is to say that Toyota will not check out every possibility for the design – even a compact unibody pickup truck inspired by the remote SW4/Fortuner? As for what’s under the hood, of course, it would need to be something electrified, and the all-new Prius ‘Hybrid Reborn’ powertrain could be the perfect suspect, right?