New models - Toyota - Hilux
Driven: Updated Toyota HiLux to remain Aus best-seller
Local engineering, design changes key to updated Toyota HiLux pick-up range
26 Aug 2020
TOYOTA’S updated HiLux pick-up range has arrived in Australia with the most significant refresh since the eighth-generation model was introduced in 2015, an update the brand says will help it retain its crown as Australia’s best-selling vehicle.
The range of changes around design, engine performance, suspension and handling were spearheaded by Toyota Motor Company Australia (TMCA), putting Toyota’s local arm at the centre of the HiLux overhaul.
Speaking to journalists at the launch of the updated HiLux, TMCA sales and marketing vice-president Sean Hanley said he expected the new model to retain its crown as Australia’s best-seller, however overall volume was difficult to predict given the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I think that HiLux will continue to do well, I think the overall HiLux sales will continue to be the number one selling vehicle in Australia as a totality,” he said.
“Whether the sales go up or down will largely depend on the market trend, but I think Toyota will continue to have a good share of that ute market.”
To the end of July, Toyota has sold 25,295 units of the HiLux, putting it on track to top the national sales table for a fifth year running.
In the development of the new HiLux, TMCA was tapped extensively for research and testing, hosting development teams from across the globe to push the new model to its limits in the range of extreme weather and terrain conditions Australia has to offer.
As a result, the changes developed in Australia, including the new exterior design, will be rolled out to other global markets, signifying the importance of Toyota’s local arm particularly in the development of off-road vehicles.
Arguably the biggest engineering change to the new HiLux has happened under the bonnet, with its 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine increasing in output from 130kW/450Nm in automatic guise to 150kW at 3400rpm and 500Nm from 1600-2800rpm.
Variants fitted with the six-speed manual continue to output 420Nm from 1400-3400rpm.
A range of changes to the turbocharger and cooling system have allowed for the increase in power output, which also comes with a claimed 11 per cent improvement in fuel economy, as well as reduced CO2 emissions.
A wider torque band was a point of focus in the engine re-tune, with TMCA targeting a more natural feel when towing and driving at highway speeds – two activities common to HiLux owners.
TMCA also said it was confident that the diesel particulate filter (DPF) problems that plagued pre-facelift models were in the past.
The HiLux’s two other engine choices – the 122kW/245Nmm 2.7-litre four-cylinder petrol unit and 110kW/400Nm 2.4-litre oil-burner – carry over unchanged.
Toyota also worked to refine the HiLux’s suspension set-up, particularly the leaf-sprung rear end which has been recalibrated to offer greater on-road ride comfort when unladen without compromising its load-carrying ability.
The hydraulic steering rack has also been recalibrated to offer a more natural steering feel and sharper handling.
Changes to engine cooling and transmission calibration has seen maximum braked towing capacity increase by 300kg to an industry-standard 3500kg in 4x4 models, while 4x2 models range from 2500kg to 2800kg, depending on the variant.
Payloads range between 980kg and 1275kg for the 35-variant range.
Inside, the HiLux range now gets an 8.0-inch infotainment system, which replaces the older 6.0- or 7.0-inch unit and introduces buttons to replace the old full touchscreen functionality, making it easier to use for those wearing gloves or with grubby fingers.
The new unit is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while SR5 grades also score satellite navigation and DAB+ digital radio.
A global exterior design program – with contributions from TMCA – has also been introduced for the HiLux, which brings its styling more in line with the rest of Toyota’s global pick-up portfolio including the Tacoma and Tundra.
As reported, the HiLux range now opens at $23,590 plus on-road costs – an increase of $1725 – and tops out at $62,420 for the SR5+ dual-cab, marking a rise of $2680.
Toyota is set to reveal the flagship Rogue and Rugged X variants imminently, which will take their place atop the HiLux tree.
TMCA has also developed a full suite of over 60 genuine accessories for the HiLux and its mechanically related Fortuner sibling, marking a $10 million investment from the company to locally design, engineer and prototype the range of added kit.
The new HiLux will be available for purchase from August 27.
2020 Toyota HiLux pricing*
*Excludes on-road costs
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