Even tougher: New Toyota Hilux

Even tougher: New Toyota Hilux gets mighty mechanical upgrade

More performance and better ride quality, are the promise with this new bakkie from the Toyota stable.

Even tougher: New Toyota Hilux

Any news concerning the Toyota Hilux is massively significant to South Africa.

Not only is Toyota’s bakkie the most popular local vehicle, it is also a crucial part of the domestic manufacturing industry, accounting for valuable foreign currency earnings and supply chain job creation.

Despite the presence of credible rivals, such as Ford Ranger and VW Amarok, the Hilux remains unchallenged as South Africa’s most popular double-cab bakkie.

Be it for family vehicle use in an urban environment or as a dual-purpose workhorse and “town” bakkie for farmers, the Hilux has earned an enviable reputation for durability. Toyota is a conservative company and product updates are carefully considered before implementation.

Hilux 2.8 GD: Hedging Toyota’s dominance

When you are the market leader by such a significant margin, it is easy for complacency to develop, but Toyota is hedging Hilux’s dominance with a range of new powertrain, technology and design upgrades.

Loyal followers of Toyota’s double-cab bakkie philosophy have always preferred their bakkies with a  bold grille outline instead of too much chrome garnishing.

Image: Supplied

Braai-side defence: More potent diesel engine

What is most notable with Toyota’s latest double-cab upgrade, is behind the distinctive new grille. Although engine outputs can never be the sole basis for comparison between different double-cab bakkies, many use it as a decision point.

Over the last few years, Ford has convincingly been able to deliver more powerful double-cab bakkies to the South African market, thanks to its two-litre bi-turbodiesel engine, boosting 157kW and 500Nm.

Those outputs and a 10-speed automatic gearbox, give Ranger a significant advantage in throttle response and overtaking acceleration, compared to the Hilux 2.8 GD’s 130kW and 420Nm.

Keen to provide its customers with adequate braai-side defence in an argument about double-cab bakkie engine prowess, the new Hilux 2.8 GD is good for 150kW and 500Nm.

Those numbers will deliver very welcome increases in dune driving and long-distance cruising performance for Hilux owners.

Image: Supplied

Superior off-road ability

It is not only a question of increasing engine power and torque. Better numbers do not always equate to superior real-world driveability.

Toyota knows its global bakkie customers and domestic terrain types. As such, engineers have made specific changes to the new Hilux, which are sure to find favour with local off-road and adventure touring enthusiasts.

To create a more active response when navigating technical off-road routes, the Hilux now uses a better bushing specification, which makes the suspension action more dynamic and responsive to terrain. The result is a smoother ride, with less jarring, over challenging off-road surfaces.

Supporting the improvements in suspension configuration at each wheel corner, is a more confident crawl speed engine performance.

‘As fast as necessary, as slow as possible’

In challenging off-road terrain, the philosophy is always “as fast as necessary, as slow as possible”.

To facilitate that, Hilux’s more powerful 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine has seen its idle speed reduce from 850 to 680rpm.

Although it might sound immaterial, the advantage of a lower idle speed is superior compression braking during steep descents and slower crawling ability, in low-range, when inching over odd-shaped rocks.

Beyond its improved engine, suspension and more purposeful styling, the new Hilux also features a better digital offering inside the cabin.

Toyota Hilux pricing

Pricing for the new Hilux 2.8 double-cab starts at R631 900 for a 4×2 Raider specification six-speed auto.

The most affordable 2.8 double-cab 4×4 prices at R706 400, with the range peaking at R 765 600, for the new Hilux 2.8 double-cab in Legend trim, which adds adaptive cruise control and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system