Toyota’s perennial Hilux has now received a similar front-end treatment to that seen on the Dakar edition models that we reported on in recent months.
This includes a new trapezoidal grille and updated front valance giving the model less of that jutted underbite look of the pre-facelift model, which came under much scrutiny. Instead you now have a much more cohesive design that is almost reminiscent of the Hilux’s arch rival, the Ford Ranger.
On flagship Raider models in particular, the grille has now been embellished with chrome accents that complement the chrome door mirrors and handles. There are also full LED headlights with daytime running lights and fog lamps,
The cabin has also received some updates in the form of black piano plastic inserts on the steering wheel and a black roof lining, all of which have been lifted wholesale from the Dakar edition. A new infotainment system now incorporates satellite navigation and DVD playback compatibility over and above the Bluetooth and USB facilities.
For the bare-bones, single cab workhorse models, tweaks to align with customer demand have been implemented with the number of automatic derivatives increased with the introduction of the 2.4-litre GD-6 Raised Body SRX in six-speed automatic guise. Also, the 2.7-litre VVTi SRX has been discontinued.
The SR-grade, aimed squarely at fleet and mining customers offering a full safety kit with a lower spec level, has been expanded with the addition of a 2.4l GD-6 Raised Body manual 4×2 variant.
In response to market acceptance of the auto-equipped Xtra cab models introduced in 2017, a mid-grade 2.4 GD-6 SRX Raised Body six-speed auto has been added, bringing the Xtra cab derivative tally to six. In addition, three chassis cab variants have been reintroduced.
The popular double cab derivatives have been further bolstered with a new entry level trim, dubbed the S grade, that is pitched at heavy-duty work and foregoes comfort and luxury specification for functionality and durability.
It utilises robust PVC interior trim, a “J-deck” design (latch-type tailgate with cargo hooks) and 17-inch steel wheels shod with high-load tyres, while a black bumper and front grille distinguish the S-grade from its other siblings.
Buyers have the choice of a 2.4-litre GD-6 with 110kW and 400Nm or a 2.7-litre VVTi petrol engine with 122kW and 245Nm. The former is mated to a six-speed manual transmission while the latter receives a five-speed manual gearbox.
The SR double-cab offerings have been expanded to include a 4×2 Raised Body model and also adopt the J-deck layout and black bumper exterior design. Slotting into the middle of the double cab range is a new Raised Body 4×2 variant of the popular 2.4 GD-6 SRX auto. The previously offered petrol 2.7-litre VVTi SRX has been discontinued in favour of the 2.7-litre VVTi S as mentioned above.
We spent some time behind the wheel of the upgraded Hilux in 2.8 GD-6 Raider 4×4 six-speed manual guise and were fairly impressed with its more upmarket look, while the ride quality seems to have been slightly tweaked too as it exhibited less of the bakkie shimmy with an empty payload. The manual transmission was relatively easy to use, but for urban applications we recommend the six-speed automatic instead.
Next year, the Hilux will celebrate its 50th anniversary in SA and we can expect a special commemorative (Legend 50) edition to be introduced into the market. – Lerato Matebese