The eighth-generation Toyota Hilux was officially unveiled in Bangkok recently, marking the start of sales of the all-new model in Thailand and it’s certainly been worth the wait.
One of the world’s best-known and best-loved nameplates, Hilux first hit dealerships in 1968, selling over 16 million in more than 180 countries. This year we will celebrate a million units sold in South Africa alone.
Completely re-designed from the inside out the all-new Hilux ushers in a radically luxurious interior wrapped in a sophisticated, chiseled new body, offering exceptional on-road performance and new technologies while remaining true to its core values of uncompromising off-road ability and, of course, legendary toughness.
But what does “tough” really mean? That’s the question Toyota asked themselves when faced with the mammoth task of creating the eighth-generation Hilux.
They realised that toughness doesn’t just come from the vehicle; it comes from the people inside. Whether you’re battling your way up a muddy track or negotiating the rigours of the urban jungle, reducing the stress of driving is just as important as withstanding the elements. That’s why the new Hilux, while improving on the model’s characteristic ruggedness and performance, redefines toughness by being more occupant-focused and easier to drive than ever before.
To truly understand what customers expect and the challenges they face on a daily basis, development teams travelled the globe from Caracas to Kommetjie, getting direct feedback from customers and driving on a wide variety of different roads to get a feel for different usage conditions. To gain inspiration for the eighth-generation Hilux, the development team drove in conditions ranging from rough, muddy forests to deserts with temperatures exceeding 50°C and flooded roads in the rainy season. Sometimes they came up against even harsher conditions than expected, which brought home the need to develop an even tougher Hilux.
The development process also reflected invaluable feedback received directly from Hilux drivers. Some wished they could make long transcontinental trips without worrying about running out of fuel. Others described how hard it is to stay alert and drive safely during grueling long-distance journeys with extended stretches of rough driving. Yet another, who uses their Hilux for forest maintenance work and frequently speaks via radio with the police and fire department, explained how a quiet cabin is essential for communication.
This led the development team to conclude that the new Hilux should not only be tougher but should also reduce stress as much as possible. Above and beyond conventional ideas of toughness, the eighth-generation Hilux boasts ride comfort that makes long, tough drives less gruelling, a quiet cabin that allows communication in any conditions, and enhanced cruising range thanks to improved fuel efficiency.
To summarise, as with the current generation, Toyota’s QDR (Quality, Durability and Reliability) still forms the backbone of the new Hilux. Fit-for-purpose is a term that aptly describes the newcomer – whether your application is leisure, workhorse, farming or general purpose, there’s a Hilux for you.
While all new, the eighth-generation Hilux will build on the current model’s success story in terms of resale value and sheer desirability. Don’t forget that the Hilux was the number one selling vehicle as well as the number one “bakkie” in South Africa in 2014. Into 2015, the current model continues to chart at the top of the bestseller list and it’s worth noting why. The seventh generation has been refined over the years and now offers a high standard of refinement coupled with exceptional value for money. It is still very much a competent package and will continue to remain a very relevant player in this market right up until the arrival of its successor.
As explained by Hiroki Nakajima, the executive chief engineer behind the Hilux (and also a managing officer of Toyota Motor Corporation): “Our entire development concept was centered on ‘redefining toughness’. We aimed to make the new Hilux ‘tougher’ based on a much broader interpretation of that word. The message we want to deliver to our customers is embodied in our slogan for the vehicle: ‘A New Era for Pickup. Every Inch a Hilux.'”
This is echoed by Calvyn Hamman, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Toyota SA: “It’s instantly recognisable as a Hilux, it feels like a Hilux, it drives like a Hilux- only better. Successfully melding innovation, sophistication and extrovert design with fanatical reliability, the all-new Hilux will be the benchmark. The Legend is set to continue.”
To achieve both greater capability and unprecedented driving stability, an all-new rigid frame with enlarged side sections and cross members that are larger and thicker have been created.
Enhanced off-road performance and comfort thanks to the upgraded leaf spring suspension and shock absorbers.
Suspension tuning was also optimised.
Newly developed engines and transmissions:
Excellent torque in all rev ranges, with significantly improved torque at low speed thanks to the newly developed 2.4- and 2.8-litre diesel engines.
Extended cruising distance enabled by improved fuel efficiency.
Reduced engine noise
Balanced torque and fuel efficiency due to newly developed six-speed automatic transmissions with more steps and optimised gear ratios to maximise engine performance.
World-first (for a pick-up) – Intelligent Manual Transmission or i-MT supports smooth shifting with rev matching technology.
The all-new Hilux launches in South Africa during the first quarter of 2016. Full local range and specs will be disclosed closer to launch timing.