The Hilux has been Australia’s number one selling 4WD for a decade. This October, Toyota unveiled the next generation ‘Unbreakable’ Hilux, built by a new Chief Engineer, Hiroki Nakajima, but guided, wholly, by the same ethos that made Hilux matter in the first place.
One thing I’ve learned over the years, companies are not the products they sell. They are the people that comprise them, and the ideas that arise from these people, and often, outlive them.
In order to define what the new Hilux would be, Nakajima and his team travelled to 120 countries, or roughly two-thirds of the 190 countries currently selling the marque, to figure out exactly what the old Hilux was.
Along the way they encountered Argentinian farmers towing fuel tanks weighing over 15 tonne, Lesothan travellers trundling up the impossibly steep Sani Pass laden with fuel, food and livestock, and every other possible use humans could find for the little three-litre that could.
Nakajima’s mission, then, like every Toyota engineer before him, was to improve upon the Hilux, the only real benchmark for automotive engineering worth striving toward in the company’s eyes.
Since the inception of the LandCruiser in 1954, Australia has acted as the primary development platform for the Japanese maker: The Snowy River Hydro Scheme, Cape York, the endless deserts of the Red Centre. Thus, the majority of development work outside the laboratory for the new Hilux was conducted here.
The result is a refined workhorse, a vehicle driven by what the world is using it for while adding a few touches of style and grace along the way.
There are no screaming changes here, though. Perhaps the adage ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ is nowhere more applicable than when dealing with the ‘Unbreakable’.
Much of the changes are beneath the bonnet: a quieter, more powerful, more efficient power train has been incorporated into the range…a range with 31 variants!
There are now two diesel and two petrol engines: a 2.8L turbo-diesel, 2.4L turbo-diesel replacing the extant 3.0L, a 2.7L petrol and performance-weighted V6 petrol.
Both of the diesels are well-behaved, if a little underwhelming unless you’re in low range and the low-band torque (up to 450Nm in the 2.8L turbo-diesel) comes into its own.
Ultimately, the Hilux is as it ever was, the everyman’s truck…the indispensible as much as the unbreakable.
For more information check out www.toyota.com.au