A fresh lick of paint can easily push up the value of a house. Cyril Klopper drove a special edition Toyota Hilux to see if a bit of spray paint here and there can make it a better set of wheels.
Is the Hilux Black Edition a response to Ford’s pitch black Ranger Fx4? Toyota categorically denies it, claiming they started planning the launch of this special edition at the beginning of 2017. South Africa’s favourite bakkie is in no way a newbie when it comes to special editions. There was the Dakar, the Legend 35, 40 and 45, as well as the Heritage editions. Naysayers will maintain it’s purely a marketing ploy by Toyota to sell more bakkies – and that’s obviously their intention – but these special editions do offer unique features not found in the standard versions. Let’s have a look.
On the outside
The Black Edition is based on the 2.8 GD-6 double cab bakkie – the flagship model – and you can choose between two- or four-wheel drive. What sets it apart from the standard GD-6 are its black grille, black inset on the front bumper, a black rear bumper, and a black roof. The hub cabs, door handles and side mirrors are painted the same colour as the bodywork. Toyota also offers a separate load bin cover and nifty 18” alloy wheel rims. The Black Edition is available in three colours: glacier white, chromium silver and graphite grey metallic. Strangely enough, it doesn’t come in black.
The seats are covered in black leather with silver stitching, and the driver’s seat is electrically adjustable. The dashboard has carbon fibre panel inlays (obviously not real carbon fibre) and it looks great. >
The Black Edition is available in three colours: glacier white, chromium silver and graphite grey metallic. Strangely enough, it doesn’t come in black.
In terms of safety, there are seven air bags and ISOFIX anchor points for car seats. There’s also an oversupply of electronic aids with three letter abbreviations such as vehicle stability control (VSC), hill assist control (HAC), trailer sway control (TSC), traction control (TRC) and electronic brake force distribution (EBD). Other cool gadgets include a big touch screen in the centre console that displays basic info like radio stations, songs and contact details straight from your phone. There’s also a smaller 4,2” screen between the speedand tachometer that shows, amongst other things, your fuel consumption, cruising range, and average speed.
Under the bonnet
No changes were made to the engine, and the Hilux Raider Black Edition is powered by Toyota’s 2,8 ℓ turbodiesel motor. This engine develops 130 kW of power, and the six-speed transmission pushes out 420 Nm of torque while the six-speed automatic comes with a 450 Nm peak torque output.
Behind the wheel
They also didn’t change the suspension. The ride is slightly bumpy, like you’d expect from a Hilux, but if you put a canopy on and load a few bags of cement, it immediately improves. The diesel engine runs silky smooth and there’s surprisingly little valve noise compared to other commercial diesel vehicles. We tested a manual, and while it’s fun playing around with the gears, the automatic transmission is still our favourite, especially when paired with a diesel engine.
In a nutshell
Only 1 000 Black Editions will be made available to the public, says Mzolisi Witbooi, product communication manager at Toyota South Africa. Which means you’ll have to hop to it if you want a Hilux with a black roof. But are the black roof and bumpers worth R27 000 more than an ordinary Hilux? Those extra rands can buy 30 tanks of diesel that you can use to travel more than 30 000 km. We’ll leave it to Toyota fans to decide. One thing is certain though; the Black Edition does look rather good.
BACK IN BLACK. The large touch screen is clearly legible even in direct sunlight. Below the touch screen are two 12 V sockets as well as two USB sockets to recharge phones or GPS devices. The pitch black interior is stylish rather than sombre and foreboding.