Although its exact date of arrival on the local market has yet to be confirmed, the Toyota Hilux will soon receive a facelift. This is what the next iteration of South Africa's top-selling bakkie looks like and, apart from benefitting from cosmetic and equipment upgrades, the 2.8-litre GD-6 turbodiesel's outputs have been bumped up from 130 kW/420 Nm to 150 kW/500 Nm.
Thanks to images from a product presentation being leaked in April, we've had a good idea of what the updated Hilux would look like – and, earlier this week, Fernando Alonso put a disguised pre-production version of the newcomer through its paces. Toyota Australia has now confirmed that it will start selling the revised bakkie in August, but regarding a possible arrival time in South Africa, Toyota SA recently told us: "We will be getting those models, but not immediately. Our timing is quite different to Australia; they don’t source their vehicles from SA. Unique-to-SA derivatives such as the Legend 50 and Dakar bridge the gap and extend the life of our current Hilux offerings." When pushed for a date, it was suggested that Australia would likely receive this facelifted Hilux in August with South Africa's units following "months" later.
The Hilux's tail lamps are the same shape as before, but they have a revised lighting signature.
Apart from the large trapezoidal grille with thicker crossbars (grille surrounds differ by spec; we assume the high-spec derivatives will feature the contrasting grey finish), the newly-designed headlights are smaller and slimmer and include distinctive LED elements on higher derivatives. Toyota says the revised exterior styling "delivers a tough, robust on-road presence" that is "more in keeping with the global Toyota bakkie/pick-up truck family."
The updated instrument cluster now features a 4.2-inch multi-info display between the speedometer and rev counter (it apparently incorporates a digital speed readout) and higher-spec derivatives will feature an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with enhanced voice recognition functionality, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. We assume a reverse-view camera and satellite navigation will feature too.
Hilux buyers can look forward to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility on the revised touchscreen infotainment system.
Toyota engines have, at times, been criticised for offering workmanlike- (as opposed to sparking) performance in the interests of superior reliability. While the other engine's remain unchanged, the range-topping 2.8-litre 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine has, however, been upgraded with "multiple new components (as well as) enhanced cooling", the Japanese firm says.
As a result, the motor's maximum power output has been increased to 150 kW, while peak torque (on the automatic derivative) has been bumped up to hearty 500 Nm. What's more, the motor's fuel consumption is claimed to have been improved "by up to 11%" while "tuned accelerator response delivers greater driver control".
Toyota SA mentioned that the 2.4-litre turbodiesel would remain unchanged in the facelifted version.
The larger, chunkier grille design gives the Hilux a bit of a "US pick-up truck" front-end look.
Meanwhile, the suspension has been revised through the implementation of tweaked shock-absorber tuning, new bushings and an improved leaf-spring design, which is said to improve ride comfort on rough roads when carrying low loads.
In 4x4 derivatives equipped with downhill-assist control, an additional traction control feature reroutes torque to assist grip in 2H mode. Lastly, the braked-trailer towing capacity of automatic 4x4 derivatives has been upgraded to a maximum of 3 500 kg and, on 4x2 variants, all diesel-powered automatic Hiluxes are rated at 2 800 kg (an increase of up to 300 kg). Toyota South Africa does its own, localised tow rating calculations, so whether these increases in tow capabilities will be realised locally will only be seen closer to local launch.
We will update this story when more local information becomes available...