LIMITED EDITION HILUX
Dakar desires in the Kalahari
An anniversary edition Hilux introduced overseas has given Toyota South Africa the opportunity to create another Dakar-edition to celebrate its success in the world-renowned race. It also delivered the fastest (off-)road trip Ferdi de Vos has ever experienced, courtesy of Giniel de Villiers and his South African-built Gazoo Racing Hilux …
Toyota in Europe recently introduced a limited-edition Hilux model to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the iconic Japanese pickup. This special model (also emulated in Southeast Asian countries) provided Toyota South Africa with an opportunity to create its own special derivative – another Dakar-special edition. However, unlike previous incarnations, the latest Dakar is distinguished from its “normal” companions by an attractive all-new face with a more prominent trapezoidal grille and ‘squaredoff’ design.
This large gloss-black honeycomb grille, incorporating two horizontal sections, gives the Dakar more presence and a sense of strength. The inner grille area is bordered by a metallic grey surround with threedimensional appearance, which blends into the LED headlamps. A matching black accent strip on the bonnet and stylised Dakar insignia attached to the grille complete the front design.
Other distinctive features include a different lower bumper design with large honeycomb mesh pattern and intersecting horizontal and vertical fog lamp garnishes, in matching gloss black. The fog lamps utilise LED elements and a metallic grey skid plate puts a finishing touch to the bold new front facia. Gloss-black treatment for the door handles, power-retractable side mirrors, and a grey rear bumper also sets it apart, while its interior features all-black treatment – a black roof headliner, metallic black trim accent panels, and black leather upholstery with light grey contrast stitching.
The infotainment system of the Dakar-model is upgraded with satellite navigation, while the touch-screen system also includes an on-board trip computer and customisable home screen. It has a unique instrument cluster with whitefaced gauges, orange needle pointers, and bespoke graphics.
In Toyota speak, the acronym ‘QDR’ refers to quality, durability, and reliability – terms that underpin the global Hilux marketing mantra. It is also embodied by the torturous and wildly varying conditions of the Dakar off-road race where South African built Hilux off-road race vehicles have already amassed four podiums …
So, what better place to get acquainted with the new Raider-based Dakar-model than on a desolate pan in the Kalahari Desert … during a test session of the Toyota Gazoo Racing South African team? We made our way towards Goera Pan, just over 100 km North of Upington in the Northern Cape, in a Dakar-model with exclusive Inferno Orange Metallic jacket (other colours include Glacier White, Chromium Silver or Graphite Grey) and black decals on the front doors and rear tailgate.
Employing the proven 2.8 GD-6 turbodiesel powertrain coupled to a sixspeed manual transmission (130 kw and 420 Nm) with selectable imt-function (intelligent Manual Transmission) and switch-on-the-fly four-wheel drive, the Hilux made the tar road journey feel short. Once into the red Kalahari sand, the special edition again verified the off-road prowess of the Hilux, tackling the undulant dunes in comfort, but with gusto and aplomb. The six-speed auto version proved an even better choice in the varied terrain – owing to the well-chosen ratios of its slick transmission system.
Having experienced the Dakar production-model, we were in for another treat: a ride in the purpose-built Hilux rally-raid vehicle – with none other than the 1999 Dakar champion Giniel de Villiers behind the wheel. The latest version of this space-frame vehicle that notched up a second and third place in the Dakar Rally of this year, has a powerful naturally aspirated five-litre V8 motor with mid-engine layout,