The Hilux nameplate is pretty commonly heard in this part of the world. Toyota first introduced the popular workhorse back in 1968 and have sold 16 million units globally over seven cycles of life.
It’s worth noting that the outgoing Hilux (7th-gen model) has been facelifted a number of times to what it is today, and the need for a new one is dire, especially with rivals dishing out worthy opponents like the Ranger and Triton.
Seeking to reclaim the pickup truck glory this time around is the new, eight-generation Toyota Hilux. It dons a brand new look while the mechanics all around have been improved for better performance. This means new engines, new transmission and improved chassis. Read on.
Toyota claims that the new Hilux is designed to give occupants a more focused and easier pickup to drive than before. To warrant this claim, the engineers developed the new Hilux by putting it through forests and deserts of extreme conditions, sometimes with temperatures exceeding 50°C.
So, onto the highlights. The Hilux gets two brand new engines; a 2.4-litre and 2.8-litre turbodiesel engines, replacing the current 2.5L and 3.0L oil burning lumps. The new 2.4L makes 148 hp at 3,400 rpm and 400 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 2,000 rpm, whereas the 2.8L unit makes 174 hp at 3,400 rpm and 450 Nm of torque from 1,600 to 2,400 revolutions.
These engines are less noisy, more torquey and yield better fuel economy thanks to commonrail direct injection, exhaust gas recirculation and variable nozzle turbos. It also comes with auto start/stop technology to conserve fuel whenever necessary. On that front, the Hilux will benefit from a new six-speed automatic gearbox – two cogs up from the current Aisin-made four-speed slush box.
Underpinning the car is the same ladder frame architecture but is now made with more high-tensile strength steel, including an enlarged side rail cross-section for improved comfort. Thai models are comfort biased and benefit from new shock absorbers and upgraded leaf spring suspension.
Toyota says there are three suspension setups to suit driving conditions the world over; Standard, Heavy Duty and Comfort, with the comfort setup being offered in Thailand – an indication of what’s to come when it gets launched here.
On the outside, the pickup truck will get LED daytime running lights (possibly on the higher trims only) with projector headlights, a new grille and more muscular front bumper. As for the wheels, Toyota is offering up to 18-inches for size, but the largest we have running the grounds is the 17-inch fitted to the 3.0G variants. Over the back, the tail lights have also been completely redesigned.
Inside, the Hilux comes equipped with a respectable raft of user-convenience features such as cruise control, touchscreen head unit, new instrument clusters and multi-info display. There’s also keyless entry and push-start button, but that feature will most certainly be reserved for the upper-end variants.
It’s only a matter of time now before the new Hilux finds its way here. Till then, stay tuned!
8th-Gen Toyota Hilux
7th-Gen Toyota Hilux TRD Sportivo