The new generation of Australia's top-selling commercial vehicle was unveiled simultaneously at a special event in Sydney as well as in Bangkok, Thailand — where the reveal was also broadcast across several public television networks.
The eighth-generation Toyota HiLux will launch with four engine options including a punchier new flagship diesel, two gearbox options (including rev matching between gears for manual gearboxes), and three model grades. There will be a total of 31 variants available, up from 23 with the old model.
Crucially, this new iteration will also match key rivals with its upgraded 3500kg towing capacity, while it will also offer a payload of up to 1240kg, and will come with a standard reversing camera and up to seven airbags.
Toyota’s light commercial here also sports a revitalised exterior designed to lend a more masculine feel and look on the road. A new Hi-Rider body will be featured on two-wheel drive models, giving customers a bigger car without the need to option the four-wheel drive package.
Undergoing hundreds of thousands of kilometres of testing globally (including in the Australian outback), Toyota is confident the latest model has the goods to take on the likes of the forthcoming Ford Ranger update, new Nissan Navara and the just-released new Mitsubishi Triton.
The HiLux has been Australia's most popular commercial vehicle for 17 years, been the leading four-wheel drive for ten years, been third outright sales for seven years, and topped the monthly sales charts 13 times. In 2014 its sales were 43 per cent higher than its closest rival.
In total, Australians have driven out of Toyota’s local dealerships with 477,000 HiLux 4x4 variants and 373,000 in 4x2 guise. Since the start of 2005, 4x4 sales have outstripped 4x2 sales by more than 100,000 vehicles.
This new eight-generation model is larger than before, offering 19mm extra shoulder room, 8mm extra head room, 15mm higher seat height and 35mm extra knee room for rear seat passengers. There's also a larger 80 litre fuel tank.
While Toyota Australia won't discuss pricing until closer to the Aussie launch, we do know the HiLux will be launched locally with the option of two four-cylinder diesel engines and two petrol engines: one four- and one six-cylinder. The engines include:
- A 2.8-litre four-cylinder intercooled turbocharged diesel engine producing 130kW of power (up 4kW) and 450Nm of torque (up 25 per cent) between 1600 – 2400rpm when matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. When matched to the six-speed manual transmission, the torque figure drops to 420Nm of torque between 1600 – 2600rpm.
- Toyota Australia wouldn't comment on fuel consumption for this engine. But, Toyota has said that fuel consumption is down on the current 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel unit.
- A 2.4-litre four-cylinder intercooled turbocharged diesel engine that produces 110kW of power and 400Nm of torque between 1600rpm – 2400rpm when matched to a six-speed automatic transmission. The same engine when paired with a five-speed manual transmission drops torque output to 343Nm between 1400 – 3400rpm.
- Toyota Australia wouldn't comment on fuel consumption for this engine, but did say this engine would be used for two-wheel drive variants.
- A 2.7-litre four-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine that produces 122kW of power, with torque up around two per cent — Toyota wouldn't be drawn on the exact figure. The engine is expected to come with the option of a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic gearbox.
- Toyota Australia wouldn't comment on fuel consumption for this engine, but did say that fuel consumption would be down below 11L/100km.
- A 4.0-litre six-cylinder naturally aspirated petrol engine that we believe will produce 207kW of power at 5600rpm — Toyota is yet to confirm the power and torque figures for this engine. The engine will be available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
- Toyota Australia wouldn't comment on fuel consumption for this engine.
Toyota's Australian engineers were responsible for developing the HiLux's suspension setup for our market as well as many regions overseas. Toyota has retained leaf springs and two shock absorbers, while increasing the length of the leaf springs. The front suspension features double wishbones with a thicker front stabiliser bar. This is aimed to give these models a more car-like driving experience, but falls behind the five-link rear suspension arrangement in the new Navara.
The HiLux range will be available in two-wheel and four-wheel drive variants. Four-wheel drive variants will come with three driving modes — two- and four-wheel drive high range and four-wheel drive low range.
Inside the cabin, a markedly more upmarket interior is said to have been designed (there are no official Australian-market images yet) with the aim of making the HiLux a more luxurious proposition for buyers. Leather seats with coloured inlay stitching, a leather steering wheel and a new iPad-esque screen adorn higher models.
Toyota has also borrowed a piece of technology from Lexus, using an LCD screen that sits between the speedometer and tachometer to display the trip computer, audio information and satellite navigation data. This screen is controlled using buttons on the steering wheel.
Technology and connectivity includes Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming, CD player, auxiliary input, USB inputs, satellite navigation (on some variants), reversing camera (standard across the range) and either manual or automatic climate control (model dependent).
Four-wheel drive modes are now selected using buttons and knobs. The old-style second gear lever has been replaced with a dial that is used to move between two- and four-wheel drive modes (two- and four-high range, and four-low range), while buttons are used to engage the centre and rear differential lock.
Rear seat passengers are afforded further comfort thanks to 35mm of extra leg room and rear air vents, making it one of the few commercial utes on the market with rear air vents. Second row passengers also get a fold down arm rest.
The HiLux comes with a host of standard safety features, including seven (front, side, curtain and knee) airbags, electronic stability control, trailer sway control and rear parking sensors. Toyota says it expects to score a five-star ANCAP rating.
Locally, the HiLux will be available in Workmate, SR and SR5 trim levels. These variants will be detailed further closer to the vehicle's launch.
CarAdvice will bring you more details as they come to hand.
Click on the Photos tab to see more images of the 2016 Toyota HiLux.
Update 22/05/2015: There was a typo regarding the 4.0-litre petrol six-cylinder engine. The power output wasn't confirmed by Toyota and the output figure specified by us is what we expect the power output to be.