THE seventh-gen ’Lux scored a few facelifts during its tenure before it was replaced by the eighth-gen model towards the end of 2015. The new and still current model saw the venerable 1KD 3.0-litre diesel replaced with a new 1GR 2.8-litre engine that was also fitted to the Prado and Fortuner wagons around the same time. The 4.0litre petrol V6 continued to sell alongside the four-cylinder diesel in low numbers until it was axed at the end of 2017, while the 2.7-litre petrol and a 2.4-litre variant of the 1GR continue to be sold in lower specification and 4x2 models.
The huge range of current Hilux models and variants are priced from around $21,000 for the Workmate 4x2 cab-chassis, up to more than $55,000 for an SR5 4x4 double-cab. Compare that with the $2000 a brand-new RN10 Hilux would have set you back in 1969 and you can see how far they’ve come; although, a good condition, roadgoing RN10 is now rare and would fetch more than its original price if you could find one.
In the face of fierce competition from new utes – VW Amarok, Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-MAX, Mazda BT-50, Holden Colorado, Mitsubishi Triton, Nissan Navara, and a new wave of vehicles coming from China – the Hilux continues to develop to maintain its spot in the minds of fleet and private buyers, hence why it remains in the top spot on the sales charts.
THE TRADITIONAL AUSSIE UTE MIGHT BE DEAD, BUT OUR APPETITE FOR 4X4 LIGHT TRUCKS IS AS AGGRESSIVE AS EVER
WITH the Ford Ranger challenging the Hilux’s top spot in 4x4 ute sales and, in fact, taking it in 2017, Toyota isn’t resting on its laurels. Fresh Hilux variants go on sale this month with the Rogue, Rugged and Rugged X editions accessorised to appeal to a broader market than the traditional tradie and man-on-the-land buyer. Top-of-the-range utes such as the Hilux SR5 continue to grow in popularity, showing an appetite for utes that are more refined, safer and, in some ways, more sporty. New utes such as the Mercedes-benz X-class and Ford Ranger Raptor will see prices higher than the segment has ever seen before, and you can bet Toyota will deliver a Hilux to compete with them. As such, we can expect more of these top-end models to be launched to market, taking the price of the Hilux and its competitors well into the $70,000 bracket and beyond.
The traditional Aussie ute might be dead, but our appetite for 4x4 light trucks is as aggressive as ever, and as long as that is still the case, light trucks like the Hilux will continue to be an important part of the landscape.