This week, Toyota South Africa, which was recently crowned #CarsAwards Brand of the Year for a second time, detailed a number of new model introductions it has planned for 2019. As the market anticipates the introduction of the updated Ford Ranger, Toyota is eager to focus the public's attention on its top-selling Hilux instead. To that end, Toyota will introduce a limited-edition GR Sport and a brace of Legend 50 derivatives in June 2019.
The Hilux is a household name in South Africa and it’s not surprising when you look at the market dominance the Hilux has fostered over the years; Toyota's bakkie range has been the best-selling vehicle in South Africa for countless consecutive months. Its lineage spans 8 generations since its local introduction in 1969 (production began in 1968), the Hilux is still praised for its reliability, robust offroad ability and excellent value retention in the used car market. Today, the Hilux is built at Toyota's Prospecton plant in Durban for the local market as well as for export.
Recently, the Hilux excelled on the international stage when the South African-built Gazoo Racing Hilux, driven by Nasser Al Attiyah and Mathieu Baumel, secured Toyota’s first Dakar win in gruelling conditions. Days later, Toyota scooped the coveted Brand of the Year title at the #CarsAwards powered by WesBank. And, of course, the Hilux is celebrating its 50th year in the South African market, which sets the scene for the Legend 50.
Only 535 units of the GR Sport
The first special Hilux that consumers can look forward to is called the GR Sport. A derivative that is offered in several markets (it's already on sale in Argentina, a spokesman said), the limited-edition GR Sport features numerous upgrades, including Gazoo Racing stickers, a bold new-look grille, a 2-tone paint finish and GR Sport 17-inch alloys shod with 265/65 all-terrain tyres.
However, there needs to be some upgrades to the performance for the "go to match the show". While the GR Sport's 2.8 GD-6 4x4 Automatic powertrain is unchanged, its suspension has been tuned up to give the derivative greater off-the-beaten-track prowess, Toyota claims.
There'll be just 535 units allocated to South African customers, so you're going to have to move fast if you want one.
Meanwhile, as the 50th anniversary of the Hilux in South Africa is a major milestone, the Prospecton-based manufacturer will celebrate the occasion by introducing a special edition Hilux Legend 50, which will effectively substitute the current Raider versions for the duration of its production run.
A local Toyota spokesperson has confirmed that the Hilux Legend 50 will come to market in June 2019 and while exact design and specification details are unknown at this stage, buyers can expect a wide range of additional kit as standard, as well model-specific design details that will differentiate the Hilux Legend 50 from the rest of the Hilux range.
Pictured here is the Toyota Hilux Invincible 50 released last year (not for SA).
The Hilux SR Sport and Legend 50 derivates are definitely worth looking out for if you are a Hilux fan. We'll bring you pricing and further details closer to the launch in the middle of the year...