SECOND- AND THIRD-GEN
THE second-generation Hilux ran from 1972 through to 1978 and included updated styling and a more comfortable cabin. In ’75 a mid-model upgrade saw changes that included a bigger 2.0-litre petrol engine.
The Hilux line-up took off with the introduction of the third-generation model in 1978. Running through to 1983 the more spacious and refined third-gen Hilux saw the introduction of the four-wheel drive variants, a diesel engine and double-cab body. Since then more than half of the Hiluxes sold in Australia have been 4WDS, giving the versatile ute the go-anywhere ability of the bigger Toyota Land Cruiser. During the 1980s the Hilux overtook the Land Cruiser as the most popular light commercial utility vehicle in Australia, a title it has a stranglehold on today.
Like the early petrol engines the new diesel of the ’80s was no powerhouse. It made just 46kw and 126Nm from its 2.2 litres. The petrol engine grew from the 2.2-litre 20R to the 2.4-litre 22R, while the 1.8-litre continued in the 2WD model. These Hiluxes were built to work hard at low speeds, and high performance was never a priority.
The four-door double-cab added greatly to the versatility of Hilux. Not only could you now haul a load in your ute, but you could carry three passengers in the backseat. This gave the ute more appeal to private buyers, where the doublecab Hilux could serve double-duty as a workhorse during the week and be a family car on weekends. While the tray might be filled with ’barrows and tools on weekdays, it would still take push bikes, surfboards or backpacks on Saturdays, while your trusty hound could hang his head proudly from the tray on any day.