Hilux scores a makeover
THE Toyota Hilux is king of Australia’s roads, being the biggest-selling vehicle in the land for the past four years and looking likely to make it five in a row when 2020 wraps up.
It’s even more dominant in WA, where it’s looking at its 13th straight year atop the sales podium.
So the biggest update to the range since the current eighth generation arrived in 2015 is a big deal, especially given the Ford Ranger is hot on its sales heels, and has surpassed the Hilux in 4x4 sales in recent times.
Toyota has turned to Australia for a large amount of the updated Hilux’s development and testing.
The latter was performed throughout the country, with the belief if a vehicle can handle Australian conditions (and our customers), it can succeed anywhere. After winning plaudits from global HQ for its work on the previous Rogue and Rugged X variants, the local team had extensive input into the design and engineering of the new line-up as a whole.
And there were improvements to be made, despite the Hilux’s sales dominance.
As with most ute line-ups, the range is exhaustive: 34 variants covering 4x2 or 4x4, cab-chassis and pick-up body styles and single, king and dual cab sizes.
The 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel automatic, which accounts for most sales, has had a power bump from 150kW and 500Nm, a jump of 20kW and 50Nm (a 2.4-litre diesel and 2.7-litre petrol remain available).
Fuel economy and emissions have also been improved. There was a focus on improving performance on highways and when towing, with all auto 4x4s now rated to pull 3500kg.
The torque curve is now flatter and wider and the automatic transmission’s software recalibrated to allow for better performance when overtaking or towing.
Toyota also says the engine’s diesel particulate filter — which has been a source of headaches since 2015 and has resulted in an ongoing class action lawsuit — has had its software and hardware tweaked to avoid any future problems.
Work has also been done to the suspension to improve ride quality with an empty tray after feedback that it was previously too firm. The rear end has had most of the attention, with leaf springs and shock absorbers tweaked for a more comfortable ride, but Toyota stresses there have been no concessions made to body control when a load is on board, nor wheel articulation when off-road.
There have also been changes underneath to better insulate against noise.
A new variable flow control power-steering pump allows for more direct steering feel on narrow, winding country roads, and also less resistance when parking.
When the vehicle is in 4L, the steering calibrations change settings once again.
Interior design is largely unchanged save for knobs to control the touchscreen, but new standard features include voice recognition and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto/ myToyota smartphone mirroring, while the top-spec SR5 has satellite navigation and digital radio.
More than 60 new accessories have been created and now include a lockable trundle drawer for tray top variants, a tub liner with rail capping, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a rear chassis-mounted integrated step to allow easier access to the tub. There will once again be flagship Rogue and Rugged X flagship variants.
However, they will not be arriving until later in the year.
Toyota has confirmed the more road-biased Rogue will have a remotecontrolled motorised roller tonneau cover, while the Rugged X will score a Toyota-branded bash plate and smaller, more off-road-friendly 17-inch wheels.
Both score a JBL premium audio system.
Pricing is yet to be revealed, but given the SR5+ dual cab 4x4 auto now costs from $62,420, it will likely be pushing the $70K mark, not including on-road costs.
As with other recent Toyota models, pricing is up across the board.