Juliet reviews…The Toyota Hilux

The country’s favourite double cab bakkie, the Toyota Hilux, has received an update. And not just a tiny facelift like we have come to expect from manufacturers these days, but a full-blown makeover that has made the Hilux that much more desirable. You see, Toyota knows that its best-selling bakkie has a target on its back from its rivals and so this upgrade hopes to ensure that nothing will come close to it for a while. The latest iteration of the Hilux was launched in 2016 with the Legend 50 model arriving in 2019. The Hilux took backs it title of best-selling bakkie in South Africa and Toyota has now taken things to an even higher level in terms of technology, comfort, style and performance…so basically everything.

In terms of the look, the Hilux has had enough changes to keep it looking very fresh and, in fact, much better than the pre-updated version. You’ll notice the most significant change in the front with new slim-line headlamps flanking an all-new grille and bumper design. And just to clarify, the model line-up and grade strategy has changed with the utility-focused S and SR models continuing as before, while the largest change is in the mid-range where the SRX is replaced by the Raider.

I got to put the updated Legend model through all its paces on an off-road course in the Boland. The Legend sees exterior changes that include the trapezoidal grille (outlined in black) being integrated with the front bumper, bonnet protector and skidplate with dark headlamp inserts and a centred chrome inlay with Toyota insignia. It also has a bespoke interior. The Hilux offers nine exterior colours with two news ones which are Oxide Bronze and Pearl White.

The biggest change comes in the form of the 2.8 GD-6 engine that now produces more power, something we have wanted from the Hilux for some time. It now delivers 150 kW and 500 Nm (on the auto). And believe me, you can feel it! There was nothing this Hilux couldn’t do on the track. Steep inclines were an absolute doddle. And what is noticeable is the almost serene cabin. It is really quiet and really comfortable.

The Raider and Legend models boast an all-new 8-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. The Raider adds Electrochromatic (auto-dimming) rear view mirror (standard across all Legend models). And double-cab 4×4 models have leather interior trim, electrically adjustable front seats, a 9-speaker audio system with dash-mounted speakers, keyless entry and push-button start as well as, for the first time, Toyota Safety Sense (TSS, a Pre-collision system, Lane Departure Alert and Adaptive Cruise Control).

The Double Cab Hilux pricing starts at R440 400 for the S trim and goes up to R765 600 for the 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Legend 6AT. These changes could not have come at a better time and I foresee the Hilux gaining quite a lead in terms of sales in the near future. It will be hard for its rivals to keep up. But time will tell.

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