The New Toyota Hilux Comforable, But tougher than ever
The Hilux legacy is legendary. Since its introduction in 1969, the model has etched a reputation second to none and its durability, strength and outright quality, is not questioned. The ‘bakkie’ of today needs to fulfil a multi-purpose role, and not merely as a ‘jack of all trade’.
The exterior design may not be as macho as some of the competitors but falls in line with the latest features of most manufacturers. The Hilux projects a tough stance, whilst also exuding a sense of innovation and refinement.
The front is looking modern with a prominent grille with strong horizontal bars extending towards the wrap-around headlights. Integrated fender flares add to the rugged appearance.
A slanted theme on the sides is further reinforced by the strong design line which flows from the rear combination lamps to the side profile.
The new interior combines ruggedness and practicality. Flowing metallic trim runs across the dashboard and creates a sense of style and refinement and is on par with luxury sedan vhicles.
The new high-tech touch screen features a flat-panel design, flick operation and capacitive touch technology and when switched off creates a tablet-type look and feel.
The driver instrumentation of higher grade models receives a full colour 4.2” TFT multi-information display, with easy-to-read displays and powerful shapes. The driver is able to access a raft of information, at the touch of the four-way directional buttons mounted on the steering wheel and features rake and reach adjustability, as well as thumb rests and a thicker rim.
Cool blue illumination flows throughout the cabin, from the easy-to-read instrument cluster to the very effective air-conditioning, audio system and switchgear illumination. Durable seat upholstery is found throughout the range Leather upholstery is available as an optional extra on high-grade models.
Increased interior space and greater seat comfort is welcomed, as well as the host of practical storage compartments, essential to a vehicle equally at home in both business and leisure environments.
The rear seats with a reduction in thickness of the rear seat back now provides rear occupants with 10mm greater leg room. A 12-volt power outlet is standard across the range, with a second outlet forming part of the range topping model’s specification sheet.
The new body makes use of higher tensile steel sheet (up to 590MPa). This achieves greater body strength while reducing weight. The more rigid chassis frame rugged suspension package and new body serve as the foundation for the completely revised suspension, delivering superb all round performance and comfort. Revised geometry also delivers improved rear-axle wheel articulation, with a 20% improvement in wheel travel facilitating even better off-road performance. An innovative feature of the new Hilux is Toyota’s Pitch and Bounce Control system, which automatically adjusts engine torque in direct response to road surface conditions.
The Hilux is available in part-time four-wheel-drive derivatives. A highlight of the new system is the electronic rotary 4WD switch housed within the dashboard, offering greater ease-of-use. Using the 4WD change-over switch, the driver can select between 2WD, 4WD and 4WD with low range, up to speeds of 50 km/h.
The Hilux is fitted with a number of electronic driver support systems such as Toyota’s revered Active Traction Control system (A-TRC) to provide maximum traction under all conditions. Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards during an uphill start when the driver releases the brake pedal. Downhill Assist Control (DAC) is exclusively fitted to 4x4 derivatives and regulate vehicle speed on steep, slippery or bumpy.
The new ‘Global Diesel’ series engines were developed from the ground up, and feature a number of advancements to provide a superb driving experience both on – and off road.
The GD series engines are offered in 2.4 and 2.8 litre guise, with both versions placing strong emphasis on torque output and low-speed tractability. Both variants make use of DOHC, 16-valve, four-cylinder inline and utilise Variable Nozzle Turbocharger (VNT) technology. The 2393cc unit offers 110 kW and 343 Nm. A higher output variant of the 2.4 litre is also on offer, delivering the same peak power with a boost in torque to 400 Nm, available between 1600 and 2000 rpm.
The diesel flagship, the 2755cc GD engine offers a stout 130 kW and effortless 420Nm from 1600 to 2400 rpm in manual guise – automatic transmission versions deliver 450Nm over the same rpm span.
The fuel efficiency of both engines has been improved by 9% over the units they replace. Three petrol engines are on offer, a 2 litre 4 cylinder unit employing VVT-i with 100 kW and 182 Nm. This is supplemented by a revised version of the familiar 2.7 litre VVT-i engine, delivering 122 kW and 245 Nm with a 10% improvement in fuel economy.
Completing the line-up is the familiar 4.0 litre V6, delivering a throaty 175 kW and 376 Nm.
Forming the link between the advanced new engines and the driven wheels, are all-new slick 5 - and 6-speed transmissions. Workhorse models are equipped with a rugged 5-speed manual transmission with higher grade models receiving an option of either a 6-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission.
A world first for the segment is the fitment of the intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT) on selected models. iMT effectively incorporates rev-matching technology on both up – and downshifts, to provide an ultra-smooth drive as well as assisting drivers with smooth take-offs.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Shift Control, makes use of bespoke control logic to prevent the transmission from up – or downshifting unnecessarily in response to sudden throttle opening or closures.
Diesel models fitted with the new 6-speed transmissions are badged as GD-6, with the entry level derivatives using 5 speed transmissions carrying a GD badge.
Towing capacity has been increased across the range (bar the entry level petrol model), with the 2.8 GD-6 4x4 models boasting a monumental 3.5 tonnes of tractive capability.
Selecting the Drive Mode
A first for Hilux is the fitment of the Drive Mode switch. Drivers are able to select between ECO and POWER modes based on driving conditions. ECO mode reduces power consumption in relation to acceleration, heating and cooling to improve fuel economy, whilst POWER mode offers the driver sharper acceleration response for a more engaging drive.
A Grade for All
Fitting with the advanced new design, the new Hilux offers a comprehensive spec level with some features a host of safety features including a driver airbag, ABS, Brake Assist and an anti-theft system as standard across all grades.
The new Hilux is available in four grades, being;
‘Workhorse’ grade, aimed at utility usage and provides essential specification items such as power steering, remote central locking, electric windows and the aforementioned safety specification.
The mid-grade ‘SRX’ strikes a balance between function and form adding items such as Tilt & Telescopic steering adjustment, multi-information display, a 12-volt power outlet, steering switches and USB + Auxiliary inputs.
A new addition to the range is the SR grade, which caters specifically to mining customers. It adds front side and curtain airbags as well as Vehicle Stability Control to comply with a full 5-star ANCAP safety specification level. It foregoes an audio system and side-steps due to the utilitarian nature of the vehicle.
Serving as the flagship across all three body-shapes is the ‘Raider’ grade. In this execution the new Hilux serves up a full complement of comfort, convenience and safety features – giving buyers a ‘bakkie’ with SUV-like feel.
Some of the spec highlights include automatic climate control, full colour multi-information display, touchscreen 6-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, USB, auto lights, daytime running lights (DRL), 17” alloy wheels, metallic interior trim and elegant chrome exterior accents.
Three body-shapes are offered; namely Single, Xtra and Double Cab. A standout feature of the Xtra cab is the inclusion of rearward opening access doors to facilitate easy loading into the rear compartment.
The Hilux’s is stronger and safer than ever before. This improves safety performance and occupant protection. Spearheading passive safety is a host of Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) airbags. All models are equipped with a driver airbag, with the mid-grade and single cab Raider models adding a passenger airbag to the list. Mid-grade double cabs feature front side airbags in addition to the driver and passenger units.
The Hilux is also equipped with a comprehensive array of active safety systems such as brake control systems; ABS, Brake Assist (BA) and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD). A new addition is the Emergency Brake Signal, which warns other vehicles of an emergency braking condition by flashing the hazard lights.
Selected models are further equipped with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), which is activated when sensors detect under – or oversteer conditions. Trailer Sway Control (TSC) uses both engine output and individual brake control to reign in a wayward trailer, preventing continued sway movements. The above safety systems are further supported by A-TRC, DAC and HAC described in detail in the off-road driving section.