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Top-shelf Toyota HiLux gains ESC

One with the lot: Toyota's HiLux SR5 Double Cab turbo-diesel 4x4 gets ESC in a new safety upgrade.

Toyota begins HiLux ESC safety rollout from the top of the 4x4 range

6 Oct 2010

TOYOTA has started rolling out electronic stability control (ESC) on its top-selling HiLux light truck range, starting at the top with the popular SR5 Dual Cab 4x4 diesel variant.

The life-saving device is included in a bundle of electronic safety controls now standard on the vehicle, bringing it into line with offerings from Nissan, Mitsubishi and a wave of new utes about to be unveiled at the Australian International Motor Show next week.

Toyota Australia manager public relations Mike Breen told GoAuto the company intended to make ESC more broadly available on HiLux over time, but the variations between HiLux models meant this could not be done all at once.

The vast HiLux range encompasses 32 models in combinations covering two- and four wheel-drive, three body styles and three engines.

“It takes time to calibrate all the models for ESC, so that will happen over time,” he said.

For now, only the top-end HiLux SR5 Double Cab turbo-diesel 4x4 – a favourite workhorse of weekend warriors – will get ESC standard, along with traction control, brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution on its ABS brakes.

As well, this model gains 17-inch alloy wheels, replacing 15-inch items.

8 center imageFrom top: Toyota HiLux SR5 Xtra Cab, Nissan ST-X Dual Cab, Mitsubishi Triton GLX-R Double Cab and VW Amarok Dual Cab.

Prices have been held at $53,690 for the manual and $55,690 for the auto.

The move to ESC on HiLux comes a year after Mitsubishi became the first importer to introduce the lifesaving device in this ute class when it added it to the top-end 4x4 Triton GLX-R Dual Cab. Nissan followed with a similar move on its D40 Navara 4x4 Dual Cab ST-X earlier this year.

Holden’s locally made five-star-rated Ute is the only volume-selling light truck in Australia to offer ESC standard across the range.

However, that might change within a few months with the arrival of Volkswagen’s new contender, the Amarok, which is likely to also get ESC as standard equipment.

As well, both Ford and Mazda are about to spring their latest all-new one-tonne utes built on the same Ford Australia-engineered T6 platform, at the Australian motor show in Sydney next week.

Although no specifications have been divulged for the new Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50, ESC is certain to be part of the safety package at some level.

These utes pose a serious challenge to the all-conquering Toyota HiLux, which is now five years old.

As well as ESC for the top-shelf Toyota HiLux SR5 4x4 Dual Cab diesel, option packs for the volume-selling SR double-cab petrol and diesel 4x4 models have been enhanced on the eve of the show.

The $800 ABS option pack for the mid-range SR now also includes curtain airbags and new sports-style buckets seats for the driver and front passenger, fitted with side airbags.

On 4x2 and other 4x4 HiLux models where customers can choose to add ABS, the option price has been halved to $400.

On 4x2 HiLux models where ABS and a limited-slip differential are offered as a package, the option price has been cut by $300 to $700.

So far this year, Toyota has sold 30,127 HiLux utes – up 14.1 per cent on last year. The 4x4 variants have led the way, up 17.8 per cent and now account for more than 60 per cent of HiLux volume.

Toyota says it has sold more than 670,000 HiLux vehicles in Australia, topping the monthly sales charts five times, including in April this year.

More than one in every four light trucks sold in Australia is a HiLux.

2010 Toyota HiLux SR5double-cab TDI pricing:
SR5 double-cab TDI$53,690
SR5 double-cab TDI (a)$55,690

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