4 x 4 Australia - - History -

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.

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