The bakkie that built South Africa has undergone its umpteenth revision and now tallies 21 derivatives – making it the near most comprehensive utility range on sale.
WORKHORSE: New styling has a tourch of 'Cruiser 200 to it.
2-, 2.7-, 2.5-, 3-, 4-litre V6
100kW @ 5 600-, 118kW @ 5 200, 75kW @ 3 600-, 120kW @ 3 400-, 175kW @ 5 200rpm
200Nm @ 1 400-, 241Nm @ 3 800-, 260Nm @ 1 600-, 343Nm @ 1 400-, 376Nm @ 3 800rpm
Five-speed manual (auto), four-speed auto
Though Isuzu markets a wider range, at KB (22) remains the most versatile, trailed by Ford’s Ranger (18) and Nissan’s Hardbody (15).
Essentially the Hilux facelift sees all-new surfacing and detail from the A pillar forward; this includes new wraparound, squared-off headlights (similar, in style, those found on the Land Cruiser 200), a revised bumper, reshaped bonnet and resurfaced front quarter-panels.
Perhaps the new Hilux’s most pronounced styling change is a three-bar grille with stepped upper-edge framing, finished in chrome.
BIGGER WHEELS, NOW, A GOOD IDEA...
Hilux acolytes will also notice those new 17-inch wheels on the Raider double-cabs. Although adventurous 4x4-types, those who sojourn deep into Africa for their annjual vacation getaway, will tell you that 15-inch wheels (and tyres) are the only reliable option for venturing beyond South Africa’s borders, Goodyear has made a concerted effort of late (the last four months) to cluster a supply of 17-inch tyres into sub-Saharan markets beyond the Republic.
This decision to cater of those adventurers who own modern SUV and 4x4 bakkies is a godsend.
Toyota’s decision to inch-up the Hilux Raider models, which run on 17-inch wheels due to the increased size of modern ABS-modulated bakkie brake rotors, should therefore not in any way inhibit cross-border adventuring. It's a win-all-round.
The Hilux cabin improvements feature a new upper dashboard design with a horizontal instrument cluster down the centre and a 15cm touch-screen multimedia interface.
UPDATED: Optitron instrumentation illumination, multimedia interface and new USB/Aux-in digital music capability are the most notable cabin upgrades…
Darker interior finishes and metal accents are also featured, with contrasting pseudo-aluminium plastic framing the upper centre ventilation ducts, multimedia interface and parts of the four-spoked steering-wheel’s surfacing.
Best of all is a (long overdue) infotainment upgrade that sees all new Hilux Raider (and SRX double and Xtrac cab) models equipped with a USB/Aux-in port to allow digital music portability, hosting and playback.
STABILITY CONTROL (FINALLY)
Beyond the styling upgrades (and infotainment modernisation), some very welcome (some would say way overdue) safety intervention system upgrades have been rolled out as part of the seventh-generation Hilux facelift.
In an attempt to counter VW’s Amarok and Ford’s new (yet to be launched) Ranger (both of which have electronic stability control and brake-pressure distribution boosted anti-lock brakes) Toyota’s face-lifted Hilux will see the current Fortuner’s stability control migrate to all three-litre turbodiesel and V6 petrol models. Buoyed by traction control, which is expected to give it a significant edge in testing off-road conditions – and make dirt road driving safe as can be at moderate speeds.
The only disappointment with the new Hilux, due to rumour-driven expectation, is that the 2.5-litre D-4D turbodiesel engine upgrade (boosting power by an amazing 31kW to 107kW and torque from 260 to 343Nm, thanks to a nozzle turbo upgrade and intercooling) will not be available on the new Hilux.
Engines, therefore, are carried over and all the diesels are fully compatible with South African (and neighbouring countries) vacillating fuel quality. In short: the new Hilux will run on 500ppm diesel without complaint.
Engine options start at two litres (100kW/182Nm) in single-cab configuration (exclusively), while the 2.7-litre, four-cylinder (118kW/241Nm) completes the four-cylinder petrol offering – available in both single and double-cab configuration, though only in 4x4 trim with the latter…For those with a sufficient fuel budget, there's the 4-litre V6, available in double-cab configuration.
The Hilux diesel range has only two engines. The 2.5-litre D-4D (good for 75kW/260Nm) and headline three-litre turbodiesel (120kW/343Nm) available in all three configurations – single, Xtra and double-cab. If you are looking for the new model addition which has swelled the Hilux range from 20 to 21 models, it’s the 2.5-litre D-4D Xtra cab.
STILL A PROPER WORKHORSE
So how does it go? Well, not that much differently from the old one, considering it’s only a facelift. Toyota chose the De Brug (or if you are a stickler for geographic accuracy, the General de Wet shooting range) military training area outside Bloemfontein to allow us to put the new Hilux to the test. The terrain was mellow Jeep track, with one long downhill where the upsized wheels (Bridgestone Dueler A/T tyres) proved their worth with greater rolling efficiency and a more composed ride.
For the rest, it’s classic Hilux.
DUST DRIFT: Hooligan behaviour can result in lurid powerslides (especially with the four-litre V6, but stability control makes the Hilux a much safer long-distance dirt-road cruiser…
We only drove the high-end V6 and three-litre D-4D double cab models and these drivetrains (despite lacking the surfeit of gears so typical of economy minded overdrive transmission these days) felt indestructible. They are also now tow rated at two tones, instead of 1.5, further increasingly the Hilux's workhorse appeal.
Something I have always liked about Hilux is its small-level transfer case, which has been carried over. A superiorly robust (and more secure shifting, especially in broken terrain, when in danger of being cross-axled) alternative than other bakkies with their push-button (solenoid actuated) transfer case engagement, it remains (to my mind) the most reassuring way to select low-range, when the terrain calls for it...
Debits? The silvery cabin finishes are a touch garish and sure to flare nasty reflections when off-roading in desert terrain as light enters and deflects around the cabin. The lack of six-speed manual (and five-speed auto on the diesel models) transmissions, in a specification comparison to rivals, does seem a touch underspecified.
The infotainment upgrades are a welcome boon, as is the presence of vehicle stability intervention – especially considering most Hilux double-cab owners travel long distances (at speed) on badly maintained dirt roads.
PETROL SINGLE CAB
Hilux 2.0 VVTi - R170 700
Hilux 2.0 VVTi S - R176 000
Hilux 2.7 VVTi RB Raider - R246 200
DIESEL SINGLE CAB
Hilux 2.5 D-4D - R196 800
Hilux 2.5 D-4D S - R201 700
Hilux 2.5 D-4D 4X4 SRX - R287 900
Hilux 2.5 D-4D RB SRX - R239 900
Hilux 3.0 D-4D 4X4 Raider - R331 700
Hilux 3.0 D-4D RB Raider - R283 800
PETROL DOUBLE CAB
Hilux 4.0 V6 4X4 Raider AT - R433 100
Hilux 2.7 VVTi RB Raider - - R309 200
Hilux 4.0 V6 RB Raider AT R363 000
DIESEL DOUBLE CAB
Hilux 3.0 D-4D 4X4 Raider - R404 700
Hilux 3.0 D-4D 4X4 Raider AT - R416 300
Hilux 2.5 D-4D RB Raider - R328 100
Hilux 3.0 D-4D RB Raider - R355 800
Hilux 3.0 D-4D RB Raider AT- R367 600
Hilux 2.5 D-4D 4X4 SRX - R333 800