IT'S been ten years since the last all-new Toyota HiLux, but the eighth generation of Australia's best-selling pickup has finally arrived.
And it has a lot to live up to. The outgoing HiLux has sold over 410,000 units in the past decade, making the model second only to Corolla in the Toyota range in terms of sales.
At today's national media launch where the all-new HiLux was introduced, emphasis was placed on the pickup's local Australian development and how Toyota had listened to current owners' wants for the new model.
Its findings were customers demanding more on-road comfort, more SUV-like traits in terms of performance, handling, safety and functionality, all while remaining HiLux tough.
So what's new with the new HiLux? For starters the range has been increased, with 31 different variants (there were 23 before).
Three 4x2 Hi-Rider models arrive with the ride-height and heavy-duty suspension of 4x4 vehicles; the 4x4 Workmate has been reintroduced and there are now more double cabs, 4x4 variants and diesel options.
Engines are the new 130kW/450Nm 2.8-litre turbo-diesel recently revealed in Toyota's new Prado; a 110kW/400Nm 2.4-litre turbo-diesel; 122kW/245Nm 2.7-litre petrol and 175kW/376Nm 4.0-litre V6 petrol.
Almost every aspect of the new HiLux has been strengthened, including a thicker frame, stiffer body, beefed-up suspension and brakes, and expanded off-road ability.
Towing capacity is up to 3500kg, while payload capacity up to 1240kg, depending on the model; 23 of the 31 HiLux variants are genuine one-tonners.
In the drive for more SUV-like features, Toyota said the new HiLux has a more compliant ride, quieter cabins and higher levels of comfort and convenience. Air conditioning, touch-screen display audios, cruise control and power windows, mirrors and door locks are standard across the range.
Meanwhile, reversing cameras are standard on all pickups, while the entire range receive seven airbags including driver's knee protection.
Price is super competitive too in the very busy ute segment. The 4x2 Workmate single cab-chassis HiLux can be had for $20,990 - up from the $18,990 of before, but Toyota said the specification value is up at least $5000. Air conditioning coming as standard now with this model (before it was a $2000 option), which makes the new model look very good value.
The 4x2 Workmate diesel price increases from $24,490 up to $24,990 - a price hike of just $500 with an estimated $5000 extra spec over the old model.
About one quarter of all HiLux sales are the 4x4 SR5 double cab diesel, and this model has around $4000 more specification over the outgoing model, but price is up from $51,740 to $53,990. An extra $2000 gets the auto gearbox.
The new Hi-Rider model starts at $39,990 for an SR manual, while the range topping SR5+ 4x4 Double Cab pickup with 2.8-litre TD and auto gearbox is yours for $57,990.
After six years of local development, Toyota's engineers said they have delivered a new rugged suspension package with enhanced underbody protection and electronic systems tuned for more effective gravel and off-road driving.
First test drives are available tomorrow and we'll report our new HiLux findings both on and off the bitumen.
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