WATCH | Why Ford, Isuzu and the rest should be wary of Toyota's new Hilux

• Toyota's new Hilux has arrived in South Africa.

• The bakkie also receives an upgrade on its engine.

• Ford and Isuzu will not have it easy against the new Hilux.

• For more motoring stories, go to www.Wheels24.co.za

By now, most of us are fully aware of the arrival and local debut of Toyota's new Hilux. The bakkie is not entirely new, but rather a heavily revised facelift.

With a fresh new design, an increase in power and uprated off and on-road abilities, the Hilux is now so much more than meets the eye.

Launched digitally ahead of an off-road excursion, Toyota made sure everyone knew what was new on its bakkie, as well as how the overall driving experience had been improved over the outgoing model.

And while the off-road session was only there to highlight the improvements made to the bakkie's drivability, there is so much more to the bakkie that will ensure its ongoing success in South Africa.

Does it 'go'?

A big talking point around the bakkie, is the additional power Toyota managed to squeeze out of its turbocharged 2.8-litre diesel engine. The four-cylinder motor now boasts an extra 20kW and 50Nm to bring the power outputs up to 150kW and 500Nm. The latter is for the six-speed automatic model, while the manual's torque figure remains unchanged at 420Nm.

This is quite telling because those 500Nm puts it on par with Ford's bi-turbo 2.0-litre diesel engine, but the Blue Oval's motor is 7kW more powerful.

READ: A newer Hilux - Toyota gives South Africa's favourite vehicle a major overhaul

Driving the bakkie off the beaten track, it is quite noticeable how much smoother power is relayed to the tyres. Wheel articulation is also improved, as well as the 4x4 system. Testing the bakkie on an incline with poor grip levels, the new Hilux was stopped midway up. With only 4x4 Low engaged and traction and stability control disabled, the bakkie managed to find enough grip to crawl up the incline without the need to activate the diff-lock.

Before this, the previous Hilux took to the same test but fell short without its diff-lock activated. This was an indication of just how much of an improvement the new model is over the outgoing one. However, the Hilux was not driven on the open road, so we will hold back on a final verdict until we've had such an experience.


Do you think the new Hilux will be a success in SA, and why? Email us with your opinion.

Toyota Hilux

2021 Toyota Hilux (Charlen Raymond/Wheels24)

Reason for concern?

When the sales figures for September 2020 were tallied, it was the Hilux that was once again the top-selling vehicle in SA with 4 252 units sold. Considering we're in the process of recovering from a pandemic, the Hilux seems to have resumed business as usual. This "picking up where it left off" is quite telling for its rivals because the new bakkie will find so much more favour from a broader audience.

The Ford Ranger and Isuzu D-Max are the Hilux's closest rivals, but it would be unwise to only count on brand loyalty for prospective buyers not to jump ship to Toyota. If the previous Hilux was a popular choice, the new one will be even more so.

READ | 3 000km later - Update on the new Ford Ranger Thunder

Yes, both Ford and Isuzu will introduce new models in early 2022, but by then this Hilux will have dominated the market even more. And even when these new arrivals are launched, it'll be a year or two before an all-new Hilux makes its appearance.

With our long-term Ranger Thunder waiting in the wings to test its metal against the new top-of-the-range Hilux Legend RS, we'll be sure to give a comprehensive report on how the two bakkies stack up against each other.