Toyota Hilux review
No explanation needed
Every month around 3000 Toyota Hiluxes are snaffled up by the South African consumer, both private and corporate, making it the best-selling vehicle in the country. What is it that makes the Hilux so popular?
For a start the Hilux range is extensive, allowing the customer to find exactly what they’re after, be it a chassis-cab model for a workhorse or a 4x4 double-cab lifestyle model for work and play.
The Hilux range also receives regular updates to keep its edge over competitors. A new generation Hilux was launched in 2016, with entirely new engines and a new vehicle from the road up, it was also given a few tweaks towards the end of 2018.
In the looks department, the Raider and SRX models were given a new face in the 2018 update, a bold, square grille that has thoroughly modernised the design. Where the SRX is black-themed, the Raider models have a premium chrome surround to the grille to reflect their position in the range. Full LED lights and fog lights are positioned in the refreshed bumper design of the Raiders. The Raider range was then replaced in June 2019, with the Legend 50 models.
The 2018 updates weren’t only about the appearance though, with a new full black interior carried over from the limited-edition Dakar models, as well as an upgraded touchscreen multimedia system on Raiders that now has navigation and DVD compatibility along with Bluetooth. The flagship spec level in the Hilux range until they were replaced by the Legend 50 models, all Raiders featured stylish 18” alloy wheels with 265/60R18 tyres, high-grade fabric interior trim, glovebox with a coolbox, leather steering and shift lever, automatic climate control, cruise control, a TFT colour multi-information display, 2 x 12V and 220 V power sockets, rear armrest with cupholders and seven airbags (including curtain and driver knee).
Other safety features that come as standard are Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRC), Trailer Sway Control (TSC) Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA).
The familiar 2.8 GD-6 four-cylinder diesel engine offers 130kW and 420Nm (450Nm in automatic transmission guise). Other engines on offer are the 2.7 VVTi petrol (122kW/245Nm), 4.0 V6 petrol (175kW/376Nm) and 2.4 GD-6 diesel (110kW/400Nm), model dependent.
For the majority of users, the 2.8 GD-6 engine is the pick of the bunch, offering good fuel consumption as well as power delivery. The six-speed manual gearbox features intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT). iMT effectively incorporates rev-matching technology on both up and downshifts, to provide an ultra-smooth drive as well as assisting drivers with smooth take-offs. Likewise, the six-speed automatic transmission uses technology that achieves the optimum balance of driving power and fuel efficiency by constantly evaluating gear selection. There’s also an ECO setting, for improved fuel economy, and a POWER setting for, you guessed it, increased power for a more engaging drive.
Obviously, there are 4x4 models across the Hilux range, which feature a electronic rotary 4WD switch housed within the dashboard, which replaces the previously employed ‘second gear lever’, offering greater ease-of-use as well as freeing up space in the cabin. The system allows the driver to switch between 2WD and 4WD ‘High’ on the fly, up to speeds of 50km/h.
While some drivers bemoan the disappearance of the second gear lever, the new system is far easier to use, and when we tested the 2.8 GD-6 4x4 Raider off-road it was more competent than any Hilux before it.
Finally, the success of the Hilux and its brethren could be said to be based on the wide dealer network available to Toyota buyers, a real consideration for customers who live outside the large metropolises to which other brands limit their presence.
More car-like interiors
Great range of engines
Rugged go-anywhere ability of the 4x4 models
A Hilux for every occasion