CarAdvice's allies at Carscoops.com have rendered the new eighth-generation HiLux based on spy images supplied to the illustrator and by basing the ute's design on the company's current styling trends.
The front-end is a big departure from the current Toyota HiLux, with a more SUV-like grille and headlight treatment that is reminiscent of both the Kluger seven-seater and also appears to have taken some cues from the Corolla small car. Fine details such as horizontal bars that run from the trapezoidal grille into the lenses of the large headlight clusters may be of the illustrator's imagination, but they certainly give the HiLux a more stylised look than ever before.
The rest of the ute's shape will stay fairly true to the current version, though the tray is expected to be wider in order to better match the pallet-swallowing well-backs of the Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50 and Volkswagen Amarok. It is expected to be offered in the same bodystyles as the seventh-generation model, with single-, space- and dual-cab variants matched to either cab-chassis or pick-up rear ends.
The current HiLux (above) is powered by 2.7-litre four-cylinder and 4.0-litre V6 petrol engines, with a 3.0-litre turbo diesel the most popular powerplant. The latter is expected to be carried over while bringing some improvements to its fuel economy and refinement, and there is a chance a smaller 2.5-litre turbo diesel may also be offered.
There's more of a question over the petrol powerplants, as it is expected the 4.0-litre V6 may not make the cut due to stricter emissions regulations. A hybrid version isn't out of the question - the company offers a petrol-electric version of its Kluger SUV in the States, and has also toyed with the idea of the hybrid pick-up in concept guise. If Toyota were to offer a hybrid ute, its launch could coincide with Mitsubishi's plans for its new-generation Triton ute that is expected to be offered in petrol-electric guise by 2016.
The new-generation Toyota HiLux ute is expected to be revealed late in 2014 or early in 2015.
Illustration courtesy of Carscoops.com