The Toyota Hilux has been a South African institution since 1979 and the new version promises to "pick up" where its predecessors left off.

The Toyota Hilux has been a South African institution since 1979 and the new version promises to "pick up" where its predecessors left off. For the first time in the Hilux's history, the 11-model line-up will come with a completely new engine range.

The new Hilux is again available in two body styles, namely the single- and double-cab. It is significantly bigger than the model it replaces (150 mm longer and 60 mm wider) for greater occupant comfort in the cabin and a larger load space. Rear passengers, in particular, will benefit from the larger cabin space.

Although it uses a ladder-frame chassis similar to the one used before, a cross member has been added to improve the torsional rigidity and thereby improve the pick-up's handling characteristics.

The challenge to provide good on-road comfort and rugged off-road ability has been virtually solved with the provision of a new suspension system, Toyota SA claims. A new coil spring and double wishbone set-up has been introduced at the front, while leaf springs with twin shock absorbers have been added at the rear. Steering is via a revised rack and pinion system with speed-related power assistance.

For the first time in the Hilux's history it will not receive any of the previous generation's engines. There are three new petrol engines and three new diesels, counting the low- and high-torque versions of the 2,5-litre sold separately.

The base model unit is a 16-valve 2,0-litre petrol engine with VVT-I, which optimises the engine valve intake timing according to driving conditions to ensure the best balance between performance and fuel economy.

Maximum power is 100 kW at 5 600 r/min and peak torque is 183 N.m at 4 000 r/min.

Next in line is the 2,7-litre petrol powerplant that produces 118 kW at 5 200 r/min and 241 N.m of torque at 3 800 r/min.

A 4,0-litre 24-valve V6 powers the flagship model and produces maximum power of 175 kW at 5 200 r/min and peak torque of 343 N.m available between 2 400 and 4 800 r/min. The same engine is used in the flagship Raider double-cab with automatic transmission, though the torque leaps to 376 N.m at 3 800 r/min.

The V6 uses a lightweight aluminium engine block with double overhead cams.

Two new common-rail diesel engines - the 2,5- and 3,0-litre - have been introduced with aluminium cylinder heads. Depending on the model, the 2,5-litre is offered with or without an intercooler and maximum power outputs for both are 75 kW at 3600 r/min. The engine produces 200 N.m between 1 400 and 3 400 r/min without an intercooler and 260 N.m between 1 600 and 2 400 r/min with the intercooler included.

Finally, the 3,0-litre 16-valve produces 120 kW at 3 400 r/min and a powerful 343 N.m of torque from 1 400 to 3 200 r/min. This engine's turbocharger is said to have the added benefit of variable nozzle vane technology, which adjusts the flow speed and pressure of the exhaust gas flowing into the turbine.

Five-speed manual transmissions have been fitted to all models with the exception of the flagship Raider, which has a five-speed automatic gearbox. The automatic transmission has intelligent shift control that adapts the shift pattern according to the road conditions and driving style.

Low-range transfer boxes are fitted to the four-wheel drive models with both a low and high transfer ratio. Rear differential locks are fitted to all models except the entry-level petrol and diesel versions.

The initial line-up consists of 15 models with three trim levels, namely the base models, SRX with some comfort features, and the luxuriously appointed Raider.

Standard specification on the workhorse models are utilitarian, yet includes rake adjustable power steering, load-sensing proportioning valve for the rear brakes, door impact beams and a headlamp-on buzzer.

SRX models receive air-conditioning with cloth seat covers and a radio with front-loading CD player and MP3 functionality as some of its standard equipment. Raiders are equipped with colour-coded bumpers, ABS, dual front airbags, and power front windows and side mirrors, and a tailgate-mounted high level stop light.

The stylish new facia design incorporates several Lexus styling elements and the handbrake lever has been moved from beneath the facia to between the seats, not unlike the levers found in passenger cars.

For the first time, the Hilux comes with a five-year/90 000 km service plan and a three-year/100 000 km warranty.

Prices

Petrol:

Hilux 2,0 R130 000

Hilux 2,0 SRX R150 800

Hilux 2,7 Raider Raised Body R189 000

Hilux 2,7 SRX 4X4 R209 500

Hilux 2,7 Raider Raised Body Double Cab R228 000

Hilux 4,0 V6 Raider Double Cab 4X4 R305 000

Hilux 4,0 V6 Raider Double Cab 4X4 (automatic) R317 100

Diesel:

Hilux 2,5 R150 000

Hilux 2,5 SRX R161 600

Hilux 2,5 SRX Raised Body R178 600

Hilux 2,5 SRX 4X4 R215 000

Hilux 2,5 SRX Double Cab 4X4 R254 500

Hilux 3,0 Raider Raised Body R216 300

Hilux 3,0 Raider Double Cab Raised Body R256 900

Hilux 3,0 Raider Double Cab 4X4 Raised Body R293 800

Original article from Car