The Hilux was launched in 1976, and since then Kiwis have bought over 104,000 of them. That’s roughly 2500 units a year for the last 40 years. However it’s the last 10 years that has seen the biggest change in the market, with a shift in customer focus away from sedans and hatches to light trucks and SUV’s. With sales figures like that it’s obvious that Kiwis love the Hilux, but why do they like this icon. However the new Ranger is currently the market leader, which is why Toyota needed to rethink the Hilux in an effort to restore its former glory.
If you were to buy a Hilux last year you would have had twelve options to choose from; four 2WD and eight 4WD models across two grades. This year they offer twenty one variants, nine 2WD and twelve 4WD across four grades, S, SR, SR5 and SR5 Limited, giving the customer more options to suit their needs.
Kiwis love the great outdoors, and they are not scared away from a rough or tough adventure. Their trucks need to be able to stand up to the harshest environments New Zealand has to offer. With this in mind Toyota started from the ground up. With an all-new ladder chassis with sections that are up to 30mm bigger, using stronger, thicker steel and wider use of full circumference welds, making it 20% more rigid than the previous model. The cross sections of the new side rails now match the rails from the Land Cruiser Prado. The suspension is better shielded and the underbody protection plates are 40% thicker while covering 30% more area. Up front, a thicker front stabiliser bar and larger diameter shock absorbers have been utilised to improve handling. And to improve the ride, the leaf springs were made longer by 100mm with a 50mm wider track. These updates have helped to improve the rear axle articulation by 20%. Other improvements include a switch-activated rear diff lock, increased ground clearance and a towing capacity ranging from 2.5 ton to 3.5 ton.
The new range also has two new engine options. The first is a 2.8L turbo diesel that creates 132kW at 3400rpm, and 420Nm between 1400-2600 rpm with the 6-speed manual, and 450Nm between 1600 and 2400 rpm from the 6-speed automatic. This replaces the previous 3.0L turbo diesel that produced 121kW and 352Nm. Compared with previous 1KD model, the turbocharger on the new 1GD engine is 30% smaller with a 50% faster response time and capable of delivering 80% of its maximum torque at just 1200rpm.
The new petrol engine is a 4.0L V6 with VVTI, producing 207kW at 5200 rpm and 376Nm at 3700 rpm. This is an improvement of 31Kw and 15Nm over the previous engine. Both of these engines will be paired up with one of the three transmission types, 5 and 6-speed manual and a 6-speed auto. The 6-speed manual and auto transmissions are available on SR, SR5, and SR5 Limited grades. The manual versions in SR5 and SR5 Ltd feature iMT (or Intelligent Manual Transmission) which is a new innovation that produces smoother gear shifts by matching engine speed to the transmission speed and by automatically blipping the engine for downshift, virtually eliminating shift-shock.
Customisation is the new sign of individuality, and Kiwis are really starting to embrace the custom truck lifestyle that has evolved in the US for many years. Toyota has more than 200 genuine parts and accessories available for the 2016 Hilux models. Everything from snorkels, alarm systems, fire extinguishers, satellite navigation, tray bodies on cab chassis models, decals, painting, GPS tracking systems, shelving and storage bin systems, security mesh screens, seat covers and much more.
The interior has undergone some serious changes too, from a sparsely decorated utility truck to an SUV-like interior. The seats have been upgraded, resulting in a more comfortable and natural seating position with greater control and improved visibility and sight lines for the driver. The manual gearshift lever is more compact with shorter throws for a more SUV-like driving experience. There are seven airbags and all Double Cabs have a top tether anchor and two ISOFIX child restraint anchor points to cater for the growing number of families using Hilux on a daily basis. There is a 7” touch screen display across the range which operates the audio system with auxiliary, USB input and Bluetooth functions. Satellite Navigation has been added to SR5 and SR5 Limited.
For many their Hilux is their office, so it too needs to change with the times. There are now 220 volt, 110 watt power outlets on board the SR5 and SR5 Limited models, an ideal solution for charging a laptop or power tools for added convenience.
It’s safe to say that if you chuck all of this into a pot, mix, bring to the boil and serve, you will have yourself a very tough truck indeed with a very flexible line up, able to cater for the many individually specific needs of the adventurous Kiwi.
2016 Toyota Hilux
|Front Engine, 2WD or 4WD Light Truck Ute
|From $36,990 to $70,490 NZD
|2.8 L Turbo Diesel and 4.0 L V6 Petrol Engine
|Intelligent manual transmission (i-MT) & 6 Speed Auto
|Length x Width x Height
|5335 x 1855 x 1815 mm
|2.8L Combined – 8.1 L/100km, 212 g/km CO2
3.0L Combined – 12.0 L/100km, 277 g/km CO2