Motoring review – Toyota Hilux: The new old faithful

2014-11-10 18:45

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What does a diamond and a Toyota Hilux have in common? Both are virtually indestructible. Agreed, the Hilux is not the prettiest boy on the bakkie block, but if you’re looking for reliability and toughness, the Hilux should be near the top of your list.

To celebrate 45 years of success, Toyota has launched its seventh-generation Hilux in the form of the well-specced, special edition Legend 45.

The first-generation Toyota Hilux appeared in 1969, had a 1.5-litre petrol engine, a single cab and cost just R1?525. Today, the new special edition Legend 45 is available in 13 different versions, comprising single, Xtra and double cab bodies, three engines and 4x2 or 4x4 choices, with prices ranging from R300?200 to R533?900.

The ultimate road trip

For the media launch, we were treated to the ultimate road trip in Legend 45s, of course. After spending a night at the glamorous Fancourt Hotel in George, we drove through various historical mountain passes – such as the Outeniqua Pass, the Montagu Pass and the Uniondale Pass – all the way to Graaff-Reinet.

Thrown in for extra fun were many kilometres of dirt roads through the vast, desolate Karoo landscape, which illustrated the Hilux’s can-do attitude.

And if you think the Hilux is only for the boys, think again. My two female colleagues and I thoroughly enjoyed flying over the bumps like Giniel de Villiers.

The Legend’s suspension is just right, the black leather interior is stylish and the seats are supersupportive. Both the available manual 3.0 D-4D 4x4 and 3.0 D-4D 4x4 auto double cab derivatives were really easy to drive, and the engines performed as well as a bestselling bakkie’s power plant is expected to.

Oh, the fun we had! Many of the local “ooms” couldn’t believe their eyes when three elegant city dames stepped out of the imposing, dust-covered Legend 45 for a tea break in Willowmore.

Giant flag project

In Graaff-Reinet, we were shuttled to the top of The Valley of Desolation for the launch of The Giant Flag project, of which Toyota is a vehicle sponsor. This project aims to create work for 700 of the local Camdeboo district’s residents by “building” a giant, 66-hectare South African flag out of 2.5?million coloured succulents, with a 4?megawatt solar field incorporated into the flag. The positive impact this will have on the environment, local community and tourism is far-reaching.

The Giant Flag’s main income will come from selling individual plants called “pixels”, which will create a virtual/digital footprint for the project. Each pixel costs $10 (R110) and will be available to the public, across the globe, to purchase. Buyers will be able to view the growth of their pixel using Google Maps. If you want to be part of the bigger picture, go to giantflag.co.za for more info and buy yourself a $10 Spekboom or cactus.

Afterwards, we went to the Giant Flag street party, with live music, local cuisine and plenty of Wit Hond, the local witblits (strong liquor). Quite a few individuals looked rather worse for wear at the breakfast table the next morning. Wearing my darkest pair of sunnies, we lazily made our way back to George Airport in the comfort and safety of the Legend?45. What happens in Graaff-Reinet, stays in Graaff-Reinet, I guess.

Prices:

Legend?45 single cab

»?2.7?VVTi 4x2 raised body?R300?200

»?3.0?D-4D 4x2 raised body?R345?100

»?3.0?D-4D?4x4?R401?200

Legend?45 Xtra cab

»?3.0?D-4D?4x2 raised body?R374?100

»?3.0?D-4D?4x4?R430?400

Legend 45 double cab

»?2.5?D-4D?4x2?raised body?R411?900

»?2.7?VVTi?4x2?raised body?R377?900

»?3.0?D-4D?4x2?raised body?R438?300

»?3.0?D-4D 4x2?raised body?auto

R452?000

»?3.0?D-4D?4x4 R495?500

»?3.0?D-4D?4x4 auto R509?300

»?4.0?V6?4x2?RB auto R451?200

»?4.0?V6?4x4 auto R533?900

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