Before a comprehensive two-day drive programme late last year, Toyota NZ General Manager -Product, Spencer Morris, told the assembled motoring writers that new Hilux ‘ is the toughest (yet) most comfortable Hilux ever.”
In comparison the Gen 7 model it replaces was touted as the most ‘car-like’ Hilux Toyota had ever built. This helped Toyota make inroads into the tradie/urban sector but it also had some traditional Hilux buyers mumbling into their beards and Swandris about the model having lost its hard ‘unbreakable’ edge.
It should come as no surprise then that Toyota has answered back with a Gen 8 model which has a stronger chassis (side rails and cross members are 30 mm bigger for a 20 percent increase in torsional rigidity), stiffer body, strengthened suspension and brakes, and all-new 2.8 litre turbo-diesel engine and six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.
The new look is more athletic than muscle-bound however it has (much) more presence ‘in the flesh’ than in photos, and – as Toyota proved on the launch – is a great blank canvas for aftermarket bars, hoops, snorkels, even built-in tray-mounted BBQs (see accessories feature in the Dec 15 mag).
The much-expanded range now numbers 21 models, nine more than the outgoing one, with four different grades available.
The S and SR grades are aimed at those who want a “working” truck, the SR5 and SR5 Limited those seeking a ute to fill a dual role as family transport, as well as business vehicle.
Toyota here expects to sell about 5,400 Hilux in 2016, about 63 percent of them being 4WD models.
Nearly 90 percent of all Hilux sold will be Double Cabs, whereas ten years ago only 77 percent of sales were Double Cabs. Meanwhile, take up of automatic transmissions across the Light Truck segment has more than doubled in the last decade from 13 to 33 percent of all Hilux sold.