New Hilux TOUGHER than ever

2016-03-17 06:00
The new Toyota Hilux. Photo: supplied

The new Toyota Hilux. Photo: supplied

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THE Hilux legacy is legendary. Since its introduction in 1969, the model has etched an enviable reputation for itself across the globe, where its durability, strength and outright quality, has entrenched itself in the hearts of its owners.

Nowhere is this truer than in South Africa, where the venerable Hilux nameplate is regarded, not merely as a mode of transport, but as a trusted member of the family.

“This is echoed in the sales charts where the Hilux proudly flies the flag of SA’s top selling vehicle, and serves as both a business partner and leisure transport for the family. Hilux’s sales are a testament to the trust that our customers place in the product and reinforce the Toyota pillars of Quality, Durability and Reliability,” said Calvyn Hamman, senior vice-president of sales and marketing.

Within the light commercial vehicle market (LCV), customers no longer only expect toughness and durability from their bakkie, but are placing much greater emphasis on comfort, convenience and design. The bakkie of today needs to fulfill a multipurpose role, and not merely as a ‘jack of all trades’ but in fact it needs to be a ‘master of all’.

“The new Hilux builds upon the rock solid reputation of its predecessors, and delivers a bakkie that is tougher than ever before, while at the same time providing customers with the comfort, refinement and features of a passenger car,” says Glenn Crompton, vice-president of marketing.

Perhaps the most striking feature of the new Hilux is the advanced exterior design. The design team concentrated on creating a vehicle that would project a tough stance, while also exuding a sense of innovation and refinement, in order to evoke a more emotive connection between driver and bakkie­.

At the front, a prominent grille with strong horizontal bars extends towards the wrap-around headlights, creating a powerful, unified look. Protruding, integrated fender flares add to the rugged appearance.

The interior design of the Hilux sets new standards for a light commercial vehicle. The same design ethos of tough and advanced was used to create an interior that combines ruggedness and practicality with innovation and design. Flowing metallic trim which runs across the dashboard creates a sense of style and refinement.

Taking centre stage in the interior theatrics is the new high-tech touch screen audio system, which seems to “float” from the centre of the dash. Featuring a flat-panel design, flick operation and capacitive touch technology, the advanced audio system is a marvel.

When the unit is powered off, another party trick is revealed, as all illumination is suspended creating a tablet-type look and feel.

All Hilux models are fitted with tough and durable patterned black seat upholstery tailored to their usage. All three designs offer excellent durability without compromising on design and a sense of quality. Workhorse models focus more on robustness whilst mid-grade and high-grade models pursue a feeling of luxury and modernity. Leather upholstery is available as an optional extra on high-grade models.

Underpinning the new model is an all-new frame, which is designed to combine improved handling, ride comfort, NVH performance and collision safety with outstanding durability in even the most extreme driving environments. Improvements include 30mm thicker side rails and cross members which deliver 20% greater torsional rigidity while also increasing durability.

Contributing to the durability of the new model is a new heavy-duty under-cover with additional reinforcement and increased thickness. The angle of the front section has been revised to contribute to an improved Cd value.

For buyers venturing off-road, the new Hilux is naturally available in part-time four-wheel-drive derivatives, building on the acclaim of its forefathers. A highlight of the new system is the electronic rotary 4WD switch housed within the dashboard, which replaces the previously employed “second gear lever”, offering greater ease-of-use as well as contributing to a “cleaner” interior design.

Using the 4WD change-over switch, the driver can select between 2WD, 4WD and 4WD with low range. The system allows the driver to switch between 2WD and 4WD High on the fly, up to speeds of 50 km/h. Ensuring an even distribution of torque are new high-capacity Limited Slip Differentials (LSD) housed in the front and rear axles. The enhanced LSD units use a newly developed solenoid based actuator.

Delivering on the promise of Advanced, the new Hilux is fitted with a number of electronic driver support systems to make light work of any task. A highlight is the inclusion of Toyota’s revered Active Traction Control system (A-TRC) found in the Land Cruiser family of vehicles.

Powering the new Hilux will be a range of newly developed engines, which offer improved power output, efficiency and refinement. The new ‘Global Diesel’ series was developed from the ground up, and feature a number of advancements to provide a superb driving experience both on – and off road.

The GD series engines are offered in 2.4 and 2.8 litre guise, with both versions placing strong emphasis on torque output and low-speed tractability.

The fuel efficiency of both engines has been improved by nine percent over the units they replace. The high-output 2.4 litre GD engine delivers class leading fuel efficiency, weighing in at a mere 7.3 litres per 100 kilometres. The 2.8 litre GD engine strikes a formidable balance between power and economy, returning an impressive 8.5 litres per 100 kilometre figure.

The GD engines feature an electronically-controlled, common-rail type fuel injection system that achieves higher pressure and more advanced injection pressure control. A new piston shape has also been adopted to match the new shape of the combustion chamber.

Three petrol engines are on offer, a 2 litre 4 cylinder unit employing VVT-i with 100 kW and 182 Nm forming the starting point of the petrol range. This is supplemented by a revised version of the familiar 2.7 litre VVT-i engine, delivering 122 kW and 245 Nm with a 10% improvement in fuel economy.

Revisions to the 2694cc four cylinder unit include lighter valvetrain components, a newly shaped intake tumble port, reshaped combustion chamber to support a high compression ratio and the adoption of VVT-i for the exhaust side. This in turn equips the 2.7 litre unit with Dual VVT-I, with the valve timing of both intake and exhaust sides optimised to improve efficiency and power delivery.

Further efficiency measures include the application of a Teflon coating to the connecting rod bearings and the adoption of a low-friction timing chain and oil pump.

Completing the line-up is the familiar 4.0 litre V6, delivering a throaty 175 kW and 376 Nm.

The new Hilux is available in four grades, each tailored to the specific requirements of the user’s application and usage. The entry Workhorse grade, as the name suggests is aimed at utility usage and provides buyers with the essential specification items such as power steering, remote central locking, electric windows and the aforementioned safety specification.

The mid-grade SRX strikes a balance between function and form adding items such as Tilt & Telescopic steering adjustment, multi-information display, a 12-volt power outlet, steering switches and USB + Auxiliary inputs.

Serving as the flagship across all three body-shapes is the Raider grade. In this execution the new Hilux serves up a full complement of comfort, convenience and safety features.

Some of the spec highlights include automatic climate control, full colour multi-information display, touchscreen 6-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, USB, auto lights, daytime running lights (DRL), 17” alloy wheels, metallic interior trim and elegant chrome exterior accents.

All models are accompanied by a 5 year or 90 000 kilometre service plan with service intervals set at 10 000 kilometres.

- Supplied

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