Australia's best-selling car has been given a significant safety upgrade. Toyota has made autonomous emergency braking standard across the HiLux range, bringing it into line with the Ford Ranger, Mercedes-Benz X-Class, Ssangyong Musso and Mitsubishi Triton.
Alongside AEB with pedestrian detection and daytime cyclist detection, the HiLux line-up now features adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning with steering assist, and road sign monitoring. The tech was added to European models earlier this year.
Toyota is hoping the addition of this technology will make the HiLux a five-star car under ANCAP's stringent 2019 test protocols – although it's technically a five-star car now, though that score was achieved in 2015.
“This is certainly a great move for Toyota customers, the segment and more broadly, the market,” said ANCAP CEO, James Goodwin. "It is a strong example of consumer-driven change. Utes are the most popular choice among Australian consumers and no matter the use, the highest levels of safety should be provided.”
“The standard inclusion of autonomous emergency braking across the HiLux range is a welcome move and one which will make this model even more appealing to private and fleet buyers.”
Prices are up by between $800 and $875 across the range. When it introduced AEB across the Ranger line-up, Ford bumped up prices by between $250 and $600, while the safer Mitsubishi Triton range is up to $3000 pricier than the model it replaces.
Toyota's move to introduce AEB on the HiLux cranks up the pressure on its rivals to introduce the potentially life-saving technology. The Nissan Navara is offered with AEB in Europe, but the technology currently isn't available at the Thailand factory which supplies Australia.
That's expected to change late this year or early in 2020.
Holden Colorado, Isuzu D-Max, Mazda BT-50 and Volkswagen Amarok buyers are faced with a long wait for the system. The Colorado isn't offered with AEB anywhere in the world, while the next-generation Mazda BT-50 and Isuzu D-Max are currently being developed as part of a joint venture, and won't hit the market until 2021 or 2022.
Volkswagen isn't likely to significantly change the Amarok until 2022, when its next-generation model (co-developed with Ford) appears.
Along with the updated equipment list, Toyota has made some minor changes to the HiLux range. Gone are the standard 4x2 single-cab cab-chassis and dual-cab 2.4-litre turbo-diesel, replaced with WorkMate Hi-Rider models with the same body and engine configuration. The swap to a Hi-Rider brings with it a six-speed manual in place of the existing five-speed transmission.
To support the new speed-sign recognition technology, the HiLux WorkMate will get an updated instrument cluster featuring a 4.2-inch display in its centre.
The updated 4x2 and 4x4 HiLux single- and dual-cab range will hit showrooms on July 8, followed by the Rogue, Rugged and Rugged X on August 1. The 'extra-cab' range will hit the market on August 26.