Toyota Hilux sneak peek: Refining the pickup formula

SQUARED-off fender flares and reshaped doors in the all-new Hilux

SQUARED-off fender flares and reshaped doors in the all-new Hilux

TOYOTA has unveiled the all-new Hilux pickup. Designed mainly in Australia, assembled first in Thailand and aimed at the global market, the eighth-generation Hilux seeks to refine the company’s pickup formula.

What it is: The Hilux is Toyota’s pickup for the global market except for the United States. As most pickups go for a tough image, Toyota, too, has designated this as a “tough” truck, but its definition of tough isn’t limited to offroad prowess and ability to tackle bad roads. Toyota realized that customers want a comfortable ride, a quieter cabin and longer driving range.

Hiroki Nakajima, Hilux chief engineer, says: “Our entire development concept was centered on ‘redefining toughness.’ We aimed to make the new Hilux ‘tougher’ based on a much broader interpretation of that word. The message we want to deliver to our customers is embodied in our slogan for the vehicle: ‘A New Era for Pickup. Every Inch a Hilux.’”

Design: At first glance, the new Hilux could be mistaken for yet another facelift of the venerable 10-year-old current model. But the squared-off fender flares and reshaped doors are strong indications that this is an all-new vehicle.

The front borrows elements from the Toyota 4Runner, such as the beady headlamps and wide horizontal chrome grille. The headlamps are LED units.

The new Hilux will feature an enlarged side rail cross section. The stiffer frame will theoretically provide better ride comfort.

The Hilux suspension will have options for standard (for “all road conditions the world over”), heavy-duty and comfort. The comfort setting for driving on paved roads will be standard for the Thailand and, presumably, Philippine markets.

Exterior size expands to 5,335 mm length x 1,855 mm width. Wheelbase is unchanged at 3,085 mm. Tire size goes up an inch to 265/65R 18.

THE INTERIOR is also about “redefining toughness.”

THE INTERIOR is also about “redefining toughness.”

Engine and transmission: The drivetrain mentioned at the launch is a new 2.8-liter common-rail diesel with 174.58 horsepower and 450 Newton-meters.

Despite the smaller displacement compared to the current 3-liter, the new engine produces 16 more horsepower, and more importantly, 25-percent more torque.

Toyota says that the engine is designed for better low-speed torque, leading to better mileage. Engine noise has reportedly been reduced as well. The engine is mated to a six-speed automatic.

Other engines that will be available are a 2.4-liter diesel with 400 Nm (more than the current 3-liter), a 2.7-liter, four-cylinder gasoline, and a 4-liter V6 gasoline.

A six-speed manual will help eliminate shift shock by matching engine revs to engine speed. The four-wheel-drive system will apparently have push-button actuation.

Interior: The interior features a huge upgrade, with an instrument panel that would look at home in a Camry. Leather trim will be available on the “luxury seats,” as will extensive use of metallic trim. The audio head unit will feature a touchscreen interface.

The Hilux will be significant also as the basis for the all-new Innova and Fortuner, which are scheduled to follow a year after.

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