The new Toyota HiLux has been officially unveiled after months of spy photos and speculation.
The biggest update to the Toyota HiLux since this generation was introduced in 2015 includes a bold new nose – with a larger grille and bumper, and redesigned headlight internals – a fresh set of wheels, and LED tail-lights on certain models.
Pricing for the new Toyota HiLux is yet to be announced, but increases are likely when the range arrives in local showrooms in late August, given the weakening Australian dollar.
The power output of the 2.8-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder has increased from the current model’s 130kW/450Nm for the automatic and 130kW/420Nm for the manual, to 150kW/500Nm for the automatic and 150kW/420Nm for the manual.
Toyota is yet to reveal if there will be any changes to current Toyota HiLux service intervals of six months/10,000km.
Most rivals have service intervals of 12 months/15,000km – and several new or updated Toyotas released in the past few years have also changed to the longer gap between routine maintenance.
Toyota HiLux towing capacity – currently 3200kg on the auto and 3500kg on the manual – is now 3500kg on both models.
In welcome but not unexpected news, the infotainment system gains Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – and volume and tuning dials, helpful on bumpy roads. The instrument cluster also gains a digital speed display, between the analogue dials.
The images show the updated Toyota HiLux carries over the same core structure and main bodywork as today’s model.
The bold new nose brings the Toyota HiLux closer to the tough truck look of the Toyota Tacoma sold in the US.
Bi-LED headlights on top-of-the-range models are expected to further improve the Toyota HiLux’s excellent low and high beam lamps.
Most new Toyota HiLux models will gain fresh wheel designs.
"The upgraded HiLux range retains a 2.4-litre turbo-diesel and a 2.7-litre four-cylinder petrol engine along with three transmissions, 4x2 and 4x4 drive, three body styles (single, extra and double cabs), two configurations (pick-up or cab-chassis) and five equipment levels (in ascending order: Workmate, SR, SR5, Rogue and Rugged X)," the media statement from Toyota says.
Toyota is yet to unveil the updated versions of the flagship HiLux Rugged X and Rogue models, but CarAdvice understands they will be shown some time in the next few months.
Under the skin, Toyota says revised suspension geometry promises even better road holding.
The suspension upgrades include "revised shock-absorber tuning, new bushings and improved leaf-spring design - provide a more comfortable ride, particularly over rough roads and with low loads while maintaining HiLux's legendary off-road capabilities", says Toyota.
Testing of the current model by CarAdvice has found the Toyota HiLux rear end is one of the most capable in the class when it comes to handling heavy loads, but the ride can be a little stiffer over bumps than some rivals.
Toyota had previously made a minor running change to the front suspension of this generation HiLux to deliver a noticeable improvement to comfort over bumps, but the company is promising even further refinement to reel in one of the perceived advantages of the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok.
The mid-life facelift for the Toyota HiLux was originally due in local showrooms in late July, but the recent pause in production – caused by the coronavirus crisis – has pushed deliveries back to late August, pending further delays.
In the meantime, Toyota dealers – having initially been worried about carrying too much stock, and asking the factory to pump the brakes on the arrival of the new model – are now concerned they will run out of HiLuxes in June, the biggest month of the year for ute sales.
The Toyota HiLux has been Australia’s top-selling car outright for the past four years in a row – since 2016 – and is on track for a fifth win, having established a comfortable lead ahead of the Ford Ranger in the first half 2020.
However, it has been an increasingly tough battle.
The Toyota HiLux remains Australia’s top-selling vehicle with a comfortable margin ahead of the Ford Ranger – when both the 4x2 and 4x4 segments are combined, as is industry practice.
However, the Toyota HiLux 4x4 has only just recently regained the lead in the year-to-date tally after the Ford Ranger 4x4 led the first four months of 2020.
Last year, the Ford Ranger outsold the Toyota HiLux in the 4x4 category for eight months in a row, its longest winning streak.
It was the second time the Ford Ranger had outsold the Toyota HiLux in the 4x4 category in the annual sales race in the past three years (2019 and 2017).
The arrival of an updated Toyota HiLux is set to reignite the battle between these top two sellers.
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