Toyota's marketing slogan for the new generation Hilux is "Beyond tough" and after driving the new range there is little doubt that Toyota is spot-on with this marketing lingua.
And it is also safe to say that words such as "style", "quality", "affordability" and "stamina" should be part of the Hilux vocabulary too.
Ford, Nissan and Isuzu definitely have reason for concern as the Hilux's pricing is almost on par with the outgoing range while offering more car for your money at the same time.
Its price positioning will send Toyota's rivals to the drawing boards to revitalise new strategies to keep their products competitive. However, it will be TOUGH for them to come up with an impressive scheme to tackle Toyota's new bull by the horns.
We eagerly await the response of the opposition and the true winner at the end of the day will be the car buyer!
The Hilux range consists of three new petrol engines, four cylinder units in 2.0 and 2.7-litre guise, and for the first time this popular bakkie is also available with a class-leading 4.0-litre V6 engine.
Toyota has also introduced two new generation common rail direct injection diesel engines, in 2.5 and 3.0-litre capacities.
The South African Hilux range features 15 models. Three specification levels cater for the basic utility market (base), a mid-range added comfort level (SRX) and a luxury specification (Raider).
Then there is the choice of either double cab or
single cab and 4x2 or 4x4 drive and raised body.
Toyota claims that the latest Hilux goes "beyond the process" of vehicle evolution.
This vehicle is also the result of Toyota's revolutionary IMV (Innovative International Multi-purpose Vehicle) project aimed at global production and component sourcing that brings with it high manufacturing efficiencies and the opportunity to improve affordability through the implementation of a rigid "cost down" policy.
The design philosophy for this new Hilux required the Toyota engineering group working with executive chief engineer Kaoru Hosokawa to go beyond existing customer expectations and set a new global standard in the light commercial vehicle market.
According to Toyota one of the problems that faced designers was size versus manoeuvrability and practicality.
The larger size of the new Hilux is optimised to provide class leading passenger and utility space without any compromise in turning radius or its ability to work in tight spaces and on narrow roads. The suspension and steering geometry are similarly optimised.
At the heart of the new Hilux is a new ladder type chassis frame that draws on the experience of the previous models with their legendary durability on any terrain and in the most arduous of operating conditions.
This new chassis is both bigger and stronger and incorporates crash impact crumple zones to absorb collision energy and limit damage to the cab area.
A bigger body is pivotal to increased interior space and comfort and the larger footprint of the new Hilux has allowed this to be achieved.
The interior design is both roomy and user friendly. Luxury features, more akin to passenger vehicle expectations, abound. The cab is designed around the "safety cell" principle and offers a high level of passenger protection in the event of a crash impact.
Under the skin
For the first time in the history of the Hilux in South Africa there has been no carry over of engines from the previous generation.
Three new petrol engines, four cylinder units in 2.0 and 2.7 litre capacities, and a 4.0 litre V6 are used to power the various Hilux petrol derivatives.
All have multi-valve cylinder heads and are equipped with VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing - intelligent) and electronic fuel injection. The VVT-i system optimises the engine intake valve timing according to driving conditions to ensure the best balance between performance and fuel economy with smooth engine performance throughout the rev range.
100 kW at 5 600 r/min
182 Nm at 4 000 r/min
118 kW at 5 200 r/min
241Nm at 3 800 r/min
4.0 litre V6 (Petrol)
175kW at 5 200 r/min
343Nm at 2400 r/min to 4 800 r/min (Manual)
376Nm at 3800 r/min (Auto)
Two new generation D-4D common rail direct injection diesel engines have been introduced with the new Hilux. Capacities are 2,5 litres and 3,0 litres.
Both engines are designed to deliver fuel efficiency together with smooth and responsive acceleration from low engine speeds right through the medium and high speed ranges. These four-cylinder diesels are fitted with aluminium cylinder heads.
75kW at 3600 r/min.
200 Nm at 1 400 r/min to 3 400 r/min (Normal spec)
260 Nm at 1 600 r/min to 2 400 r/min (Hi spec)
This engine is offered in normal and Hi-spec versions depending on model derivative.
3.0 litre (Diesel)
120 kW at 3 400 r/min
343Nm at 1 400 r/min to 3 200 r/min.
Because of the Hilux's new pretty face, most Hilux loyalists and purists are probably asking is if the new Hilux has gone "soft"? The answer is "No".
The new Hilux retains the range's reputation of reliability and durability. As before it feels solid and capable, and buyers shouldn't be deceived buy the car's handsome and manicured features. It is as tough and solid as any Hilux before it.
On the launch we only drove the double cab derivatives in 2.7 and 4.0-litre petrol guise, as well as the impressive 3.0-litre turbodiesel model. Although we didn't drive the workhorse entry-level and single cab derivatives, the double cab models gave a spledid testimonial of the range.
A major selling point of the new Hilux is its great ride quality which is almost on par with that of a comfortable sedan. The Hilux's car-like on road manners are impressive and has the ability to soak up bumps without passing these on to the passengers.
All the derivatives I drove had great on-road refinement and there was not the typical jouncing of bakkies of yesteryear. Furthermore the car-like feeling was enhanced by minimal road and engine noise.
Its true colours come to light when taking it off-road as it is one of those 4x4s where you feel immediately comfortable and safe. When you tackle tough obstacles it is as good and better than any Hilux before it.
This is thanks to the redeveloped the Hilux's suspension setup too. A significant change over the previous model is that coil springs are now fitted at the front in place of torsion bars.
The rear suspension remains a leaf spring system. A power assisted rack and pinion system provides a sharp and direct steering characteristic.
All models come with a five-speed manual transmission but for the first time since the 1970s the Hilux is also available with an automatic transmission. This newly developed compact and light weight 5-speed automatic transmission is offered in tandem with the 4.0 litre V6 engine.
Electronic control provides for AI (Artificial Intelligence) shift control for comfortable driving with the transmission adapting the shift pattern according to road conditions and the driver's perceived intentions.
On manual transmissions synchromesh is now fitted to the reverse gear to eliminate grating when this gear is selected. The shift mechanism has been optimised for a smooth gear shift and precise action.
Four-wheel drive models offer shift on the fly transition from 4X2 to 4X4 mode and is enhanced with a self engaging front differential.
Although the new V6 is quite awesome thanks to loads of muscle power, the real jewel in the Hilux crown is the 3-litre turbodiesel model. The latter has more than enough oomph and never felt underpowered at all. Some great torque available at a low range complements this.
Toyota sold 151 000 of the outgoing Hilux model between October 1998 and March 2005, which is factual proof of its popularity and class-leading status. The new generation has all the good genes of its predecessor to retain the range's class-leading status.
Furthermore the Hilux is a more impressive package than its rivals as its leads the pack in terms of the quality of fit and finish, engines and ride quality.
Its most outstanding feature it its affordability as pricing is very competitive and it comes with a 90 000 km/5 year service plan. Another first is the 100 000 km/3 year warranty cover.
2.0 VVTi (SC) - R130 000
2.0 VVTi (SC) SRX - R150 800
2.7 VVTi (SC) Raised body Raider - R189 000
2.7 VVTi (DC) Raised body Raider - R228 000
2.7 VVTi (SC) 4x4 SRX - R209 500
4.0 V6 (DC) 4x4 Raider manual - R305 000
4.0 V6 (DC) 4x4 Raider auto - R317 100
2.5 D-4D (SC) - R150 000
2.5 D-4D (SC) SRX - R161 600
2.5 D-4D (SC) Raised body SRX R178 600
2.5 D-4D (SC) 4x4 - R215 000
2.5 D-4D (DC) 4x4 SRX - R254 500
3.0 D-4D (SC) Raised body Raider - R216 300
3.0 D-4D (DC) Raised body Raider - R256 900
3.0 D-4D (DC) 4x4 Raider - R293 800
DC = Double Cab / SC = Single Cab
Hilux Double Cab gallery
Hilux Single Cab gallery