• Toyota gave its Hilux an upgrade towards the end of 2020.
• The Japanese company's best-selling model received cosmetic changes across the range.
• The 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine now has more power, with figures quoted at 150kW and 500Nm.
South Africa's favourite bakkie recently underwent a significant facelift. The Toyota Hilux sports a new face and changes to its infotainment system.
But the headline is undoubtedly the power upgrade to 150kW and 500Nm from the familiar 2.8-litre turbodiesel motor.
The fuel consumption is improved thanks to a bigger turbocharger and common-rail injection system, according to Toyota.
Several upgrades to the ride comfort were made by new suspension bushes, updated spring rates and new shock absorbers. More on that later.
The Toyota Hilux Legend RS arrived on test looking sharper and muscular than ever before. I haven't had a bakkie garner this much attention since Ford's Ranger Raptor and Merc's X-Class.
In Legend RS specification, the Hilux has a new grille, incorporating a skidplate, and bonnet protector. There are new LED daytime running lights that add a distinct visual presence to the bakkie.
At almost R900 000, would you upgrade your current Hilux for the Legend RS model? Please share your thoughts using the comments section below.
Toyota has given the Legend model several interior changes, including a new 20cm touchscreen, unique accents on the gear lever, instrument cluster, switchgear and interior trim panels.
There's a new blue hue for the interior lighting, leather seats and a black roof lining to set itself apart from the Raider models. The entire range now has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.
I bet you're wondering what the RS nomenclature stands for? RS isn't a sport derivative based on the Dakar Rally machine, the acronym is short for 'roller shutter'.
A motorised cover for the loadbox is now available on the latest model. It works by pressing buttons located on the load bay sill to open and close the cover. There's a nifty dust protection seal that keeps sand and everything else that comes with driving on gravel roads.
It's a helpful addition particularly for safety reasons, as contents in the load bay are covered and away from prying eyes.
What's it like to drive?
The first thing I notice is how much more refined the Hilux feels. I didn't get to drive it on gravel roads during the test period, but its on-road manners' stock has risen like GameStop.
The tweaks to the suspension were mainly to make driving on gravel more bearable, but I immediately noticed how better damped the ride was on the road.
There's less body roll from the Hilux when cornering, and just an overall more stable feel from the steering. The extra oomph from the diesel motor is most welcome as the torque is available from the low down the rev range.
Noise, vibration and harshness levels are better than ever experienced before and the updated cabin with newer technology gives the Hilux a premium feel. Thank goodness they've retained the rotary volume knob.
All in all, the Hilux does everything a double-cab needs to and then some. The updated styling and infotainment system is nice to have, but the real winner is that engine. The combination of power, frugality, and refinement stood out in droves.
There's no doubt Toyota fans will trade up if they can afford it.
Price: Hilux Double Cab 2.8 GD-6 4x4 Legend RS AT: R851 100
Across the range, Toyota offers the Hilux with a three-year or 100 000km warranty and a nine-service or 90 000km service plan.