The all-new Toyota Hilux, the best-selling pick-up truck in Europe, will reach the UK in July armed with a downsized, more efficient diesel engine, a stiffer chassis, and a more premium SUV-like interior.
Priced from £19,177 (excluding VAT, as it is sold as a commercial vehicle), the Hilux will be offered in three bodystyles: Single Cab, four-seat Extra Cab, and the five-seat Double Cab.
The engine is an all-new 2.4-litre turbodiesel unit. It is smaller than the 3.0-litre diesel in the previous Hilux, but torque and fuel economy have been improved. It produces 148bhp and 295lb ft from 1600-2000rpm. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, with a six-speed automatic optional on Double Cab versions. In its most fuel-efficient form (Single Cab with manual transmission) economy is 41.5mpg and CO2 emissions are 178g/km.
The Hilux, which rivals the likes of the Ford Ranger, Volkswagen Amarok, Mitsubishi L200 and Nissan Navara, is now in its eighth generation and is widely regarded as the leading go-anywhere vehicle for durability and reliability. Chief engineer Hiroki Nakajima referenced “toughness”, particularly in terms of its day-to-day usability, as the thing his team has worked on most to improve in the new model.
As such, the Hilux has been made more SUV-like to give it broader appeal.
It is built on a new ladder chassis that’s 20% stiffer than the previous Hilux’s. Toyota says the new Hilux has been tuned for improved handling, greater steering stability, and improved NVH. The suspension is double wishbones at the front, and leaf springs at the rear; it has been revised for improved wheel travel (up 20%) and an improved towing capacity of up to 3.5 tonnes (by the end of 2016, 3.2 tonnes at launch).
The bodyshell has been formed from strong but light high-tensile steel, and the number of spot welds in the body has almost doubled from the old Hilux to 288 to further improve rigidity.
The switchable all-wheel drive Hilux is also packed with electronic driver aid and safety systems. Included is a Pitch and Bounce Control system to stop those in the cabin from being bounced around over broken road surfaces, and a full suite of trickery to boost off-road performance, including an Active Traction Control System that brakes individual wheels as they lose traction and sends torque to wheels that have grip. In fact, Toyota claims the Hilux now has the off-road ability of a Land Cruiser.
That desire to be more SUV-like not only comes in changes to the body, chassis and suspension to improve ride and handling, but also to the interior, which is much plusher and tech-laden than the previous Hilux’s.
The cabin is more spacious, and its NVH is said to have been reduced to passenger car levels. Toyota has also increased the size of the Hilux’s cargo deck, and made it and the tailgate stronger. Various lockable covers and rollers can be added as options.
Four trim levels are offered for UK buyers: Active, Icon, Invincible, and Invincible X. The Single Cab and Extra Cab models are only available in the base trim, while the range-topper gets a leather upholstery and a sat-nav in the upgraded multimedia system. Alloys measuring 17in and 18in in diameter are offered.