More power to Toyota Hilux

Observer writer

Friday, May 11, 2018

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THE previous seventh-generation Toyota Hilux ran unchallenged at the top of the compact pickup segment for 11 years. The introduction of the eighth and current generation in 2016 came as other manufacturers tried to unseat the Hilux. Two years on, Toyota isn't willing to relinquish its pickup crown and has already upgraded the 2018 Hilux.

Externally, there doesn't seem to be much. The Hilux's bold shark-nose styling remains the same, but gains a change towards safety and the burgeoning lifestyle use of the pickup on the higher trims, LED daytime running lights (DRL). The DRL manifests themselves as a thin strip above each projector-style headlights, adding a hint of car-like design to what essentially is a work truck. Higher trimmed models receive LEDs all around.

Inside, the Hilux needed little change. The swoopy dashboard is the standout. Hard-wearing plastics that give the Hilux its rugged reputation blend comfortably with higher-quality, soft-touch materials around the cabin. From the driver's seat, the Toyota is a pleasant thing to be in as all the key features are easily within reach. All the other data is buried in the 4.2-TFT binnacle screen and can be accessed from the steering wheel-mounted controls. Opt for a higher trim and the larger touchscreen infotainment system delivers great sound, helped along by a low exterior noise intrusion. Rear seating that places passengers a bit higher keeps them from claustrophobia during long drives. storage for work or play gear is abounds. Convenience features like keyless entry, optional leather, climate control, a chilled glove-box all carry over.

Where Toyota has upped its game is under the bonnet. Gone are the 2.5-litre and 3.0-litre turbo diesel motors. These have been downsized to newer, more efficient, and powerful engines. A 2.4-litre and a 2.8-litre turbo diesel are now the options.The drop in displacement may be slight, but the increase in performance makes up for it. For example, the 2.8-litre sees horsepower jump to 177, which is 14hp more than the older, larger engine. For diesel power, the real measurement is torque, and the new engine makes 330lb/ft from 1600 to 2400rpm. This is 50lb/ft more than the 3.0-litre and at a lower rpm.

On the road, this gives the Toyota Hilux even more urgency regardless of being paired with the manual six-speed or tiptronic six-speed automatic transmission. Off-road, the extra power gives the pickup even more capability. Terrain that would require LO mode of the 4x4 system can easily be dispatched. The extra torque makes crawling over rougher roads a breeze, making the stock tyres the only true limit to what the 2018 Toyota Hilux can handle in factory trim.

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