All-new Toyota Hilux - Eighth generation of the iconic bakkie is up for any challenge

There’s no doubt about it, this is a very big year for Toyota SA. Not only are they releasing an all-new version of their best-selling Toyota Hilux bakkie, but an all-new version of another popular Toyota model, the Fortuner, will also be released shortly. But first, the Hilux, which is available from dealers right now. There are a great number of changes, mostly aimed at making it a slicker and more comfortable lifestyle vehicle, as capable in the city as it is in the bundu or on the farm. We have all the critical stats and info summed up for you. Everything you need to know is right here… Ready to learn more? Let’s go!

The bakkie to beat

The Toyota Hilux is already an established icon in South Africa. Since its introduction in 1973 it has been the country’s best-selling one tonner, having sold over a million units. It is also a testimony to South African manufacturing excellence. Hilux models in their thousands are assembled at Toyota’s Prospecton plant in Durban and exported to markets around the world. For many years the Hilux looked unbeatable but that changed when Ford launched its Ranger model. Since then it has grown market share from only 9% in 2009 – 2011 to a commanding 21% in 2015, becoming the second best-selling one-ton bakkie in South Africa. So now the Hilux has serious competition! If anything this is good for the end-user because it means Toyota really had to deliver the goods for this eighth generation model.

Undoubtedly they have raised the bar with the latest Hilux - it is packed with new technology and cool features. We also think it looks pretty awesome, and that’s no small thing!     

Beefy new body with sporty appeal

The most distinct and apparent changes to the body are to the front grille, with strong horizontal bars extending to the wrap-around headlights. Protruding, integrated fender flares add to the aggressive appearance when viewed from the front. The former pronounced wheel arches are gone, the new design subtly integrates them into the bodywork. Possibly taking a leaf from the Ford Ranger’s book, there are nice chrome touches on the front grille which (model depending, but here we are talking about the D/C raised body Raider) are echoed in the side mirrors, door handles and the big lever for the rear tailgate. If you add a steel bull bar to the front and to the side sills you have a very visually appealing package that will get any red-blooded South African’s pulse racing. The overall image is that of a highly capable and sporty utility vehicle with modern appeal and minus any unnecessary frills.

Slick interiors and high tech toys

A noted effort has been made by Toyota to put the Hilux at the forefront of the trend of imbuing utility vehicles with car-like comforts and convenience. The metallic trim that flows across the dashboard and the cool blue illumination that lights up the dash and instrumentation hints at this new design sensibility, creating a rugged yet modern feel.

From a more practical standpoint, the seating has a tough and durable black patterned cloth upholstery (leather is an option) and double cab models now have a 60:40 split rear ‘tip up’ seat cushion with a handy storage compartment.

Speaking of storage compartments, the higher-spec models also get a second glove box that can be heated or cooled depending on the contents.  Further convenient storage options include pockets in the doors that will take up to a one litre bottle, two cup holders and several convenience hooks, including a ‘ceiling hook’ located above the rear seats on double cabs. A 12 volt socket is standard across the range and if you buy one of the higher spec models, you get two.

The driver’s seat height has been lifted by 10mm and there is an increased height adjustment range so head room has been improved by between 8mm and 19mm, depending on personal preference.

In terms of high tech toys, there’s a new  17.8cm touchscreen to control the audio.  Initial feedback from the motoring journalist fraternity appears to be that it’s a bit fiddly (there’s no rotary volume control for one thing, although the steering wheel has audio controls) and not that easy to operate while driving. Your experience may differ, which is why it’s always best to test drive the vehicle yourself.

Higher grade models add a full colour 4.2” multi-information display to the dash, controlled via four buttons on the steering wheel.

As mentioned the handsome 3-spoke leather bound steering wheel features audio and other controls. It is also adjustable for tilt and reach.

New engines

One of the most exciting things about the new Hilux is the all-new petrol and diesel engines. There are two new diesel engines (designated GD for ‘Global Diesel’) and three petrol engines.

The diesels now come in 2,4 litre and 2,8 litre options and both make use of DOHC, 16-valve, four-cylinder inline architecture and utilise Variable Nozzle Turbocharger (VNT) technology to deliver the torque and low-end grunt that diesel fans appreciate.

The GD engines feature an electronically-controlled, common-rail type fuel injection system that achieves higher pressure and more advanced injection pressure control. A new piston shape has been devised to match the new shape of the combustion chamber.  

Power output on the two plants is 110kW and 343Nm from the 2,4 litre engine and 130kW and 420Nm (from 1600 to 2400 rpm) from the bigger 2,8 litre.  The auto version of the 2,8 litre is bumped to 450Nm over the same range.

Perhaps even more importantly, Toyota boasts a 9% increase in fuel efficiency over the previous engines. According to Toyota, the 2,4 litre achieves a very impressive 7,3 litres per 100kms and the 2,8 litre gets 8,5 litres per 100kms.

There are three petrol engines on offer; a 2 litre with VVT-i and producing 100 kW/182 Nm is the entry level unit. Next in line is a revised version of the familiar 2.7 litre VVT-i engine, delivering 122 kW/245 Nm with a 10% improvement in fuel economy.

The 2,7 litre has been extensively revised, with changes including lighter valvetrain components, a newly shaped intake tumble port, a reshaped combustion chamber to support a high compression ratio and the adoption of VVT-i for the exhaust side. This means the 2.7 litre unit now has Dual VVT-i, with the valve timing of both intake and exhaust sides optimised to improve efficiency and power delivery.

The flagship of the petrol line-up is the familiar 4.0 litre V6, delivering a mighty 175 kW/376 Nm.

More towing power, bigger load bay

With that power on tap the new Hilux can tow a formidable load, with capacity increased across all models (barring the entry level petrol); the 2.8 GD-6 4x4 models boast a massive 3,5 tonnes of tractive capability. In addition, the load bay is now 55mm wider - for a total of 1.5m.

All-new transmissions

The new Hilux also boasts all-new 5 and 6 speed transmissions. Workhorse models get the 5 speed manual transmission and you can choose between a 6 speed manual or 6 speed auto transmission on higher grade models.

Diesel models with the new 6-speed transmissions are badged as GD-6, with the entry level derivatives using 5 speed transmissions carrying a GD badge.

A world first for the segment is the fitment of intelligent Manual Transmission (iMT) on the 2,8 litre diesel. The iMT feature incorporates rev-matching technology on both up and downshifts, providing an ultra-smooth drive as well as helping you to achieve smooth take-offs.

In keeping with the Hilux’s shift to a more lifestyle-oriented vehicle, the gear lever has also been shortened to provide a slicker (and more passenger-car like) action and feel.

Auto gearbox fans should definitely test out the new 6 speed auto transmission which sees the first appearance of ‘High-speed Gear Effective Utilisation Control’ in a Toyota vehicle.

This control logic evaluates the use of higher gears in real time based on driving conditions. For instance, taking into account vehicle loading and throttle setting, the system will pick between 5th or 6th gear in order to achieve the ideal balance between driving power and fuel efficiency.

By the same token Deceleration Downshift Control optimises downshifts when decelerating to reduce fuel consumption. This system shuts off the fuel supply to the engine as well as downshifting automatically to promote engine braking and save fuel.

Suspended in comfort

Given that it must carry heavy loads and passengers, a bakkie’s frame and suspension is a critical area and Toyota has not neglected it; the new Hilux’s frame and suspension was extensively revised in order to improve ride comfort.

The body is manufactured from higher tensile steel sheet which achieves greater body strength while reducing weight.  Improvements to the frame include 30mm thicker side rails and cross members which deliver 20% greater torsional rigidity whilst also increasing durability.

The number of connection points from chassis frame to upper body has been increased, accompanied by a 45% increase in spot welds. A new heavy-duty under-cover with additional reinforcement and increased thickness adds to the vehicle’s ability to absorb knocks from below.

The more rigid chassis frame and new body serve as the foundation for the completely revised suspension, with a view to improving ride comfort and durability.

This includes increasing the length of the rear leaf springs by 100mm to suppress road vibration and adding larger-diameter shock absorbers mounted in a new location for increased durability, stability and more effective control of small vibrations. This has also served to improve rear wheel axle articulation for better off-road performance.

Another innovative new feature is Toyota’s Pitch and Bounce Control system, which automatically adjusts engine torque in direct response to road surface conditions, reducing the pitching motion of the body to improve ride comfort and handling.

Drive Mode

Another cool new feature is the Drive Mode switch. You can select between Eco and Power modes based on the driving conditions at any given time. The Eco mode reduces power consumption in relation to acceleration, heating and cooling to improve fuel economy, while the Power mode offers the driver sharper acceleration response if you’re in a hurry or need to overtake.

New 4wd switch

Hilux owners will know that when you took the vehicle off-road in the past, you activated the low-range or 4x4 high mode using a small lever located to the right of the normal gear lever. That is now been replaced by a rotary dial.

The dial is used to select 2WD, 4WD and 4WD with low range up to speeds of 50km/h and is large enough to adjust using gloves, convenient in winter and definitely a boon in its simplicity.

The Hilux may now be considered a ‘lifestyle vehicle’ but no doubt it is still very capable of navigating SA’s rugged off-road landscapes. So for those who view it primarily as an ‘off-road lifestyle vehicle’ this is a very cool feature.

No skimping on safety

Safety has been considered in every aspect of the new Hilux. A new stronger ladder-frame chassis affords it increased deformation resistance, whilst its energy absorption performance has been increased 15% over that of its predecessor.

Airbags abound, with every model featuring a driver airbag while mid-grade and single cab Raider models also have a passenger airbag. Mid-grade D/Cs also get front side airbags. All D/C models now get a new driver side knee airbag. D/C Raider models have a total of seven airbags, including curtain shield airbags.

In addition you get the usual computer-aided braking devices such as ABS, Brake Assist and EBD. A new feature is the Emergency Brake Signal, which activates the hazards automatically in an emergency braking situation.

Some models feature Vehicle Stability Control, which uses automatic control of engine output and individual brakes to counter the effect of under or oversteer.

Spec grades for every budget

There are a mind-blowing 22 variants available in the Hilux line-up, including Single Cab (petrol and diesel), Double Cab (petrol and diesel) and Xtra Cab (diesel only).

Once you’ve selected your variant, you can then pick out the spec grade that suits your needs and budget. There are four to choose from starting with ‘Workhorse’ grade, aimed at the utility  user. This offers essential items such as power steering, remote central locking, electric windows as well as safety features (standard across all grades) like driver airbag, ABS, Brake Assist and an anti-theft system.

The ‘SRX’ grade adds items such as tilt and telescopic steering adjustment, multi-information display, a 12 volt power outlet, steering switches and USB + Auxiliary inputs.

The features found in the top of the range ‘Raider’ grade will make any enthusiast drool, and serve to give this tough bakkie a luxury SUV feel. Some of what you will find: automatic climate control, full colour multi-info display, touchscreen 6 speaker audio system, Bluetooth, USB, auto lights, daytime running lights, 17” alloy wheels, metallic interior trim and elegant chrome exterior accents.

Finally, there is a new grade, ‘SR’ which is targeted specifically at mining customers. Based on the SRX model it adds front side and curtain airbags as well as Vehicle Stability Control but doesn’t have audio or side-steps.

The new Hilux is undoubtedly a major step forward and it is clear that the engineers and designers have thought through every aspect and made improvements in practically every key area. Not only that, but they have managed to keep the prices very competitive. This, combined with the very loyal Toyota fan base and extensive dealer footprint in this country, means that the Hilux is quite likely to be a smash hit. Would Toyota have made this effort if the Ford Ranger wasn’t such a threat? Possibly not - proving once again that when competition is healthy, it’s the consumer who wins in the end.

To test drive the new Hilux, contact your nearest Bidvest McCarthy Toyota dealer today:


Single cab (Petrol)

Hilux SC 2.0 VVT-i - R228 900

Hilux SC 2.0 VVT-i with A/C - R236 400

Hilux SC 2.7 VVT-i Raised Body SRX - R309 900

Single cab (Diesel)

Hilux SC 2.4 GD - R259 900
Hilux SC 2.4 GD With A/C - R267 400

Hilux SC 2.4 GD-6 Raised Body SRX - R319 900

Hilux SC 2.4 GD-6 4X4 SRX - R379 900

Hilux SC 2.8 GD-6 Raised Body Raider - R377 900

Hilux SC 2.4 GD-6 4X4 SR - R382 900

Hilux SC 2.8 GD-6 4X4 Raider - R435 900

Xtra-cab (Diesel)

Hilux XC 2.4 GD-6 Raised Body SRX - R333 900

Hilux XC 2.8 GD-6 Raised Body Raider - R410 900

Hilux XC 2.8 GD-6 4X4 Raider - R470 900

Double-cab (Petrol)

Hilux DC 2.7 VVT-i Raised Body SRX - R377 900

Hilux DC 4.0 V6 Raised Body Raider Auto - R503 900

Hilux DC 4.0 V6 4X4 Raider Auto - R593 900

Double-cab (Diesel)

Hilux DC 2.4 GD-6 4X4 SRX - R414 900

Hilux DC 2.4 GD-6 4X4 SR    R441 900

Hilux DC 2.8 GD-6 Raised Body Raider - R468 900

Hilux DC 2.8 GD-6 Raised Body Raider Auto - R485 900

Hilux DC 2.8 GD-6 4X4 Raider - R529 900

Hilux DC 2.8 GD-6 4X4 Raider Auto - R547 900

All models include a 5 year or 90,000km service plan (whichever occurs first) with service intervals set at every 10,000km.


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