• The updated eighth-generation Hilux is causing a stir since its release this week.
• It's more powerful, but also slower.
• There's even a new RS model available in the line-up.
• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za
Liverpool and Manchester United suffering humiliating score lines. The Springboks emotion triggering the 'Chasing the Sun' documentary. You would think these are the big happenings this October, but you would be mistaken.
By far the most important news this October, for South Africans who like driving, is the arrival of a new Hilux.
Toyota has finally released the updated eighth-generation Hilux to the local market, and there is a lot to absorb. These are the five most notable features now available on South Africa's most popular vehicle.
1. It is more powerful
The headline statistic for new Hilux is that 500Nm torque rating. Although the 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine has never been weak, Ford's Ranger has always outperformed it at highway speeds.
Reconfiguring the turbocharger and common-rail diesel delivery system has unlocked the true potential of this robust Toyota 2.8-litre engine architecture. At 500Nm it now runs an equal peak torque value to the Ranger 2-litre bi-turbo, although Ford retains the benefit of four additional gears in an automatic configuration. That said, for Hilux fans, the new 2.8's 500Nm torque rating is exactly the powertrain upgrade they have been waiting for.
What do you think of the new Toyota Hilux? Please email us your thoughts here.
2. It also happens to be slower
"How is being slower, a standout feature?" Good question. In testing off-road terrain, you want to drive very slowly, using maximum torque at minimal wheel speed, to carefully clear obstacles that might damage your vehicle.
Toyota's engineers have managed to lower the idle speed of Hilux's 2.8-litre turbodiesel by 200rpm. That might not sound like much, but it does allow the bakkie to now idle at only 650rpm, which means outstanding low-range crawling ability, in first gear.
Most 2.8-litre Hilux bakkies might be ordered with this six-speed automatic, but hardened Toyota off-road enthusiasts, who prefer the six-speed manual, will be thrilled about that 650rpm idling threshold. Why? It delivers even better engine braking when descending steep gradients.
3. Small bumps bother it less
Tyre pressures might be the easiest method of improving gravel- and off-road ride quality, but new Hilux goes beyond that.
Platform engineers at Toyota wanted to improve the bakkie's ride comfort on corrugated dirt roads, the kind of which South Africa has in abundance. To create better more small bump absorption dynamics in the Hilux's suspension, there are superior specification bushings, dampers and revised spring rates.
The combination of all these mechanical upgrades reduces friction in the suspension's reaction to bumps, allowing it to move with greater freedom, especially without a load on the rear axle.
PICTURES | The updated Toyota Hilux from every angle
4. It remains pleasingly analogue
There is all the Smartphone mirroring that you'd expect in a contemporary leisure double-cab, but Hilux product planners know their customers, and it shows in the new bakkie's ergonomics.
Research has clearly shown that touchscreen volume adjustment is a fail on gravel roads and off-road terrain. Toyota's cabin architects took this lesson to heart, and as such, the Hilux's 8-inch touchscreen infotainment screen retains a conventional turn dial volume controller. Farmers everywhere will be mighty pleased with this.
5. There is even an 'RS' version
How many RS-variants can you name? Ford's fastest Focus models? A multitude of Porsches 911 GT2 and GT3s? Renault Clio and Megane hot hatchbacks? Audi's RS2 and TT RS?
Well, Toyota has now joined the fray with its new RS version of the Hilux. Available on the Legend trim level, Toyota's 'RS' is wonderfully utilitarian, instead of being an acronym, for 'Racing-Sport.'
The Hilux Legend RS acronym refers to 'roller shutter'. Toyota is offering its premium double-cab bakkie customers a motorised covered for the loadbox. It also includes superior dust sealing of the load area and central locking tailgate.
These features all combine to create a huge additional secure storage space for luggage and gear when you are on vacation or a weekend away.