SEV­ENTH-GEN

4 x 4 Australia - - History -

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.

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