There’s seemingly no situation in which the Toyota Hilux stalwart bakkie isn’t appropriate thanks to its rugged underpinnings and the fact that it’s now acceptable, desirable even, to drive one around town.
What’s more is that the Toyota Hilux is as much a part of South African culture as rugby, or braai-ing, or Castle Lager; and much like Castle, the Toyota Hilux has stood the test of time – their sales and reliability figures over the last very-long-time prove that. So what is it about this particular bakkie that is so impressive?
The Toyota Hilux on the inside
Since many people drive Toyota Hilux bakkies every day, it comes as no surprise that there are some fancy interior features. A new audio display system is the centre piece of Toyota’s efforts. Designed by Toyota, the system has ports for your iPod and displays iPod cover art, track listings and song titles. Bluetooth connectivity rounds off the features of this colour screen display.
Aside from the gadgetry Toyota has used new, higher quality materials throughout the cabin and redesigned the layout to maintain a fresh look. There’s a large cabin and it is easy enough to get in and out of thanks to running boards down its length. Comfort isn’t high on the priority list though; the harsh suspension is after all geared toward carrying a heavy load rather than pampering passengers.
The Toyota Hilux on the outside
Bakkie’s are never going to be considered style icons. But that hasn’t stopped Toyota Hilux from trying to keep things looking modern by sharpening up the lines across the bonnet, elaborating on the headlights and adding flared wheel arches for a more beefy appeal. The Hilux doesn’t do enough to compete with the likes of Ford’s Ranger though.
Behind the wheel of the Toyota Hilux
To be blunt, the Toyota Hilux is a nightmare on the road – the turning circle is horrendous especially in tight parking lots, the suspension is rock hard, there’s body roll and no real feel to the steering. The only positive aspect is your ability to pavement hop.
A far more important part of the story is its ability off-road. For this part of the adventure I took the Toyota Hilux to the toughest off-road course I could find; and despite a few hair raising moments (and the odd bump), the Toyota Hilux performed admirably with its low-range ‘box, locking diffs and rugged 4×4 system. The only complaint is that it sits on a lengthy wheel base, making tight manoeuvres or steep inclines a problem.
The Toyota Hilux under the hood
The Toyota Hilux 3.0 D4D Raider motor isn’t the most powerful in its class; nor can it provide the best towing capability; nor is it the most technologically advanced. What it does boast is Toyota’s stamp of dependability, which is worth a lot to many people. And Toyota has refined the old oil burner somewhat in recent years; making it far less agricultural sounding and therefore easier to live with every day.
Personally I’m not a Toyota Hilux fan. In this market I’d rather get a Ford Ranger. Toyota has built a reputation for exceptional reliability and resoluteness that the Toyota Hilux brings to daily tasks, whether that be driving around town, or lugging sheep to the local livestock auction. And on that basis, the Toyota Hilux is very difficult to fault.
How much does the Toyota Hilux 3.0 D4D Raider cost in South Africa?
Toyota Hilux Price: R 476 300
Engine: 2982cc four cylinder turbo charged diesel
Power: 120 kW
Torque: 343 Nm
Consumption (l/100km): 8.6 (claimed)