Toyota details tough new Hilux
Toyota's fully-detailed media release for the world launch of its eighth-generation Hilux truck this week emphasises toughness.
In many ways it appears to have been upgraded close to the standards of the almost-indestructible Land Cruiser, with a stronger ladder chassis, improved all-wheel drive system, reinforced load deck and greater towing capacity - up to 3200kg, in fact.
At the same time, however, family and leisure owners get more comfort, more features and more driver aids, active traction control, hill hold and trailer sway control.
At 5350mm long, 1855mm wide and 1855 mm high, the new Hilux is 90mm longer, 20mm wider and 5mm lower than its predecessor, with a new front end that integrates the upper grille and headlight clusters to form distinctive daytime running lights featuring 12 LEDs.
Inside, the centre stack has a tablet-style seven inch touch-screen display that works like a smartphone; it's also been brought closer to the front seats to make it easier to get to.
A new driver's instrument binnacle has analogue speedometer and rev-counter dials either side of a 4.2 inch colour multifunction display, with a switch on the height and reach-adjustable steering wheel to scroll through its menus.
The interior trim is available in three levels - tough, hardwearing fabric for business users, soft-textured fabric for mid-level grades and leather for top-end models.
The centre console box has space for 22 CDs (for those that still use them) and an optional, 220V AC power outlet, there are cup holders on the dashboard and transmission tunnel, as well as auxiliary and USB ports.
Cargo deck width is up from 1544mm to 1645mm, and the tail-gate hinges have been beefed up, as have the struts that hold it in the open position. The floor ribs have been redesigned, sill cross-members added to the floor panel and the header panel been reinforced.
The new Hilux will be available in Europe with new 2.4 and 2.8-litre turbo-diesels boasting variable-nozzle turbochargers and intercoolers, the existing 2.5-litre D-4D and an uprated version of the 2.7-litre petrol four.
The 2393cc 2.4 D-4D delivers 110kW at 3400rpm and 400Nm from 1600-2000rpm, while the 2755cc 2.8 D-4D cranks out 130kW at 3400rpm, backed up by 450Nm from 1600-2400rpm.
Rear-wheel drive 2.4s have six-speed manual 'boxes, all-wheel drive models have either six-speed manual or automatic transmissions. Nominal fuel-consumption is 7.3 litres per 100km with six-speed manual and 8.3 litres per 100km with auto transmission
The all-wheel drive 2.5 D-4D comes with only a six-speed manual; it's good for 75kW at 3600rpm and 260Nm from 1600-2400rpm, using a nominal eight litres per 100km to do it.
The new 2.8 D-4D has all-wheel drive and a new six speed automatic transmission as standard, and burns through a nominal 8.5 litres per 100km, while the uprated petrol 2.7 has all-wheel drive with either 5-speed manual or six-speed auto cogsets.
The normally aspirated petrol motor is now rated for 122kW at 5200rpm and 245Nm at 4000, at a cost of 10.4 litres per 100km with six-speed auto transmission and 10.7 litres per 100km with a five-speed manual gearbox.
All Hilux engines now also have a Drive Mode switch that lets you choose between 'Eco' and 'Power' settings. Eco mode reduces power consumption under acceleration as well as heating and cooling to improve fuel economy, while Power mode sharpens throttle response.
The length of the rear leaf springs has been increased by 100mm to 1400mm to reduce vibration and they've been mounted 50mm further apart to improve stability, especially when heavily loaded. This also allows more rear-wheel travel over rocky or uneven terrain.
All-wheel drive Hilux models have a switchable all-wheel drive system with a high-low range transfer case and limited-slip front and rear differentials, plus an electromagnetic differential lock at the rear
The traction control automatically brakes a slipping wheel and re-distributes drive torque to those which have grip, while hill descent control uses both brakes and compression to hold speed between five and seven km/h.
The new Hilux is expected to launch in South Africa during the first quarter of 2016; as soon as we have more details of the local line-up and (hopefully) prices, so will you.