The 2021 Toyota HiLux will have sweeping changes that are more than skin deep when it arrives in Australian showrooms in August.
A confidential dealer bulletin has outlined in detail all the changes coming to the biggest update to the Toyota HiLux since this generation went on sale in 2015.
As we reported when official images were released a fortnight ago, the 2021 Toyota HiLux will gain a bold new nose, LED tail-lights on high grade models, a more upmarket interior adopting convenience items such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, volume and tuning dials (rather than solely relying on a touchscreen), and a digital speed display for the first time.
Toyota also revealed the 2.8-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder has had a power boost to 150kW/500Nm when matched to the six-speed auto – and towing capacity has increased from 3200kg to 3500kg. (The 2.8 manual still has an output of 130kW/420Nm and was already rated to tow 3500kg).
However, a 30-page document has outlined every last detail on the 2021 Toyota HiLux range.
Among the highlights: the Toyota HiLux has had a major suspension overhaul, with extensive testing in Australia.
“Australian customers will benefit from a suspension package that was initially developed and tested by (Toyota Australia),” the dealer bulletin says.
“This unique suspension package not only provides customers with the best vehicle to tackle Australia’s harshest conditions, but provides customers with a superior level of ride and handling.”
The document goes on to explain in precise detail the geometry changes front and rear, designed to improve how the 2021 Toyota HiLux handles corners – and swerve-and-avoid manouvres.
The 2021 Toyota HiLux promises to be even more capable off-road too, with greater rear wheel articulation than before thanks to redesigned leaf springs, which have new pick-up points.
Suppression of noise, vibration and harshness inside the cabin also promises to be a big step up thanks to new rubber bushings between the cab and the chassis.
A revised power steering pump has been designed to improve steering feel.
The 150kW/500Nm 2.8-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder engine has had a major overhaul, with changes to the design of the cylinder block, pistons and piston rings. There’s also a new turbocharger.
Toyota dealers have been told the 2021 Toyota HiLux with the uprated engine will have similar performance to the Ford Ranger Raptor.
There are other changes inside the cabin. The flagship 2021 Toyota HiLux Rogue and 2021 Toyota HiLux Rugged X will gain a nine-speaker JBL sound system with extra tweeters and a sub woofer. However, the CD player has been deleted across the range.
The more affordable HiLux Rugged model (based on the HiLux SR grade) has been deleted, and the manual version of the Rugged X has also been dropped.
It means the two flagship HiLux models – the Rogue and Rugged X – will be automatic-only propositions.
The 2021 Toyota HiLux Rogue is believed to borrow key styling elements from the HiLux Rocco (pictured above and below) sold in the Thailand market.
Further details on the Rogue and Rugged X were redacted from the bulletin, however the heavy duty sports bar – which can handle a 75kg downward load and a 200kg strapped load in the ute tub – has been deleted from the 2021 HiLux Rogue but retained on the Rugged X.
Both models will get redesigned alloy wheels. The Rugged X will retain 17-inch wheels and tyres for better off-road performance.
The grille of the Rugged X is said to change, and the hoopless front bar will be distinguished by new driving light surrounds.
Both the Rugged X and Rogue are said to get new over-fender flares. It is unclear what changes to the ute tub will appear on the Rogue, but the Rugged X will continue to be delivered without a tonneau cover.
The 2021 Toyota HiLux SR5 will still be available as a manual or an automatic – and will get front and rear parking sensors, to bring it in line with top-of-the-range Ford Ranger models.
Toyota has slotted in a new model between the SR and SR5 double cabs; an option pack (pictured below) on the SR grade gains alloy wheels and a smooth ute tub finish, rather than external hooks and black steel wheels.
The base model Toyota HiLux Workmate double cab retains its 2.4-litre turbo diesel (with no power upgrade), six-speed manual or auto, black steel wheels and vinyl flooring.
The speed sign recognition camera introduced in a safety update to the Toyota HiLux last year will now be able to read school zone warnings, but is not able to distinguish school zone times (unlike some luxury cars).
Dealers have been told the 2021 Toyota HiLux is in production and the first shipments will soon be on the way, with the first arrivals due in August.
However, stronger-than-expected demand – plus a six-week production line stoppage during the coronavirus crisis – have left many dealers short on runout models in the biggest month of the year for ute sales.
The Toyota HiLux has been Australia’s top selling vehicle for four years in a row; it’s unclear if the switch to the new model will jeopardise its lead over the Ford Ranger.