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A genuine legend: Toyota Hilux Double Cab 2.8 GD-6 4X4 Raider 6AT


Legend this. Legend that. As I might have mentioned before, has become a horribly overused word. Toyota uses it, too, specifically with the Hilux. Except in this case it's entirely apt with the vehicle having become an integral part of the South African automotive psyche since its introduction back in 1969.

And now, naturally there's an all-new Hilux, and as you've probably read, it's a vast improvement on the already excellent previous model. Indeed, on all fronts - design, durability, sophistication, fuel consumption, and more - it's a quantum leap ahead.

I recently spent a week with a Double Cab 2.8 GD-6 4X4 Raider 6AT which sits close to the top of the massive 21-model range, and it provided proof of why the new Hilux is - predictably - dominating the sales charts.

Now most of these top-spec Hiluxes are likely to be bought as lifestyle vehicles and used daily, spending a lot of time on sealed surfaces and in the urban environment. Good news then is that the cabin is up there with what you might expect in an upscale SUV, and the list of standard equipment is long and generous.

Just some of it on this Raider model numbers seven airbags - including a driver knee airbag - reverse camera, a touchscreen with DVD and video playback, a full-colour TFT multi-information display, and especially efficient climate control. Fit and finish is particularly premium, while on 4X4 models like this one there's now an electronic rotary 4WD switch housed in the dashboard.

Power comes courtesy of a new 2 755cc turbodiesel that takes over from the old three-litre turbodiesel. This unit is good for 130kW and a muscular 450Nm between 1 600 and 2 400rpm, while gearshifts are taken care of by a six-speed automatic. And with a fuel consumption of around 8.5 litres/100km, it's nine percent more efficient than the engine it replaces.

Ride quality is good by almost any standards - and brilliant for a bakkie - while naturally off road it excels, with electronic aids such as Downhill Assist Control (DAC) helping things along.

It's close to impossible to fault this machine, with its bold, evolutionary styling just adding to the allure, and for the model here you'll pay R547 900 - including a five-year/ 90 000km service plan.

A legend indeed.

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