The Hilux legacy is legendary. Since its introduction in 1969, the model has etched an enviable reputation for itself across the globe, where its durability, strength and outright quality, has entrenched itself in the hearts of its owners.
Nowhere is this truer than in South Africa, where the venerable Hilux nameplate is regarded, not merely as a mode of transport, but as a trusted member of the family.
“This is echoed in the sales charts where the Hilux proudly flies the flag of SA’s top selling vehicle, and serves as both a business partner and leisure transport for the family. “The new Hilux builds upon the rock solid reputation of its predecessors, and delivers a ‘bakkie’ that is tougher than ever before, while at the same time providing customers with the comfort, refinement and features of a passenger car”, says Glenn Crompton, vice president of marketing.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the new Hilux is the exterior design. The design team concentrated on creating a vehicle that would project a tough stance, whilst also exuding a sense of innovation and refinement, in order to evoke a more emotive connection between driver and ‘bakkie’.
At the front, the grille with strong horizontal bars extends towards the wrap-around headlights. Protruding, integrated fender flares add to the rugged appearance.
The cab roof has been carefully shaped to improve both its styling and practicality. It now features an aerodynamic ‘pagoda’-style V-shape which helps channel air over the roof and off the sides of the vehicle, rather than into the deck area, preventing turbulence and drag.
Redefining the Interior
The interior design of the Hilux sets new standards for a light commercial vehicle. The same design ethos of tough and advanced was used to create an interior that combines ruggedness and practicality with innovation and design. Flowing metallic trim which runs across the dashboard creates a sense of style and refinement.
Taking centre stage in the interior is the new high-tech touch screen audio system, which seems to ‘float’ from the centre of the dash. Featuring a flat-panel design, flick operation and capacitive touch technology, the advanced audio system is a marvel. When the unit is powered off, another party trick is revealed, as all illumination is suspended creating a tablet-type look and feel.
The new Hilux benefits from increased interior space and greater seat comfort, as well as a host of practical storage compartments essential to a vehicle equally at home in both business and leisure environments.
A cool feature (pardon the pun) is the Cool Box fitted to high-grade models. Taking the form of a second glove box, it cleverly uses the air-conditioner system to cool or heat items placed inside.
For buyers venturing off-road, the new Hilux is naturally available in part-time four-wheel-drive derivatives, building on the acclaim of its forefathers. A highlight of the new system is the electronic rotary 4WD switch housed within the dashboard, which replaces the previously employed ‘second gear lever’, offering greater ease-of-use as well as contributing to a ‘cleaner’ interior design.
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. Ensuring an even distribution of torque are new high-capacity Limited Slip Differentials (LSD) housed in the front and rear axles. The enhanced LSD units use a newly developed solenoid based actuator.
Absorbing the Elements
A new rugged suspension package has been developed, which addresses the need for both outstanding ride comfort and durability. The Hilux utilises a double-wishbone front suspension design and leaf-spring type suspension with twin shock absorbers in the rear.
The length of the leaf spring has been increased by 100mm to 1400mm, suppressing road surface vibration and the attachment point of the rear suspension moved to the front of the spring. Moving the attachment point 100mm forwards and lowering it by 25mm contributes to enhanced steering stability.
A Grade for All
Fitting with the advanced new design, the new Hilux offers a comprehensive spec level with some features being a world-first for the segment. A strong focus has been placed on safety specification, and as such the new Hilux features a host of safety features including a driver airbag, ABS, Brake Assist and an anti-theft system as standard across all grades.
Transmitting the Power
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.
Power to Pull
The advanced new powertrains permit the new Hilux to tow a formidable load. Towing capacity has been increased across the range (bar the entry level petrol model), with the 2.8 GD-6 4×4 models boasting a monumental 3.5 tonnes of tractive capability.
Service Intervals & Plans
All models are accompanied by a 5 year or 90 000 kilometre service plan (whichever occurs first) with service intervals set at 10 000 kilometres.
Pricing of the new Hilux remains very competitive, with some models actually being priced lower than the versions they replace, despite a significant upgrade in specification. A strong focus has been placed on maximising the value proposition of the new range and offering customers excellent value.
Toyota Hilux pricing from vehicle launch:
- Single cab: From R228 900 to R 435 900
- Xtra cab: From R333 900 to R470 900
- Double cab: From R 377 900 to R593 900