CAPE TOWN, Western Cape – Our stint late last year (November 2020) with the flagship of the Hilux range is still fresh in our memories, and even in the face of opposition as stiff as that chasing it to the summit of double-cab Everest, we remain thoroughly impressed with just how good a job Toyota has done in breathing renewed life into what’s essentially an updated version of its AN120-generation double cab.
The 2,8-litre GD-6 turbodiesel four cylinder is now the recipient of a larger turbocharger and improved commonrail diesel injection unit that bumps the outputs up to 150 kW and 500 N.m – improvements to the tune of 20 kW and 50 N.m. As our recent testing showed, the Hilux is now a sturdy performer that comfortably bested its pre-facelift precursor. Crucially, fuel consumption has also improved markedly: the GD-6’s frugal 8,00 L/100 km showing on test bested its pre-facelift GR-Sport model by 0,40 L/100 km, even if our CAR fuel index figure rates at a less-flattering 9,60 L/100 km.
Mechanical refinement has also seen a welcome improvement. Engine clatter from idle is markedly reduced and at motorway speeds there’s pleasingly little noise permeating a cabin that’s undergone some considerable changes for the better when it comes to perceived quality and ergonomics. We rate the current Hilux’s cabin as one of, if not the, best in class.
While there’s no doubting the AN120-generation Hilux’s ability to withstand rugged workhorse and off-roading duties, the lifestyle family vehicle proviso that the Legend badge brings with it means that Toyota’s tough-as-nails bakkie also needs to exhibit a friendlier persona when away from the bundu, and in this regard things it delivers in spades.
One area where the Hilux has undergone a considerable improvement is in terms of steering feel. The fitment of a variable-flow steering rack that ups the assistance at low speeds – where town-bound bakkies can be a real, lumbering handful – and provides a bit more weight when pressing on, makes the Hilux feel altogether wieldier. Revisions to the springs and shock absorbers have also brushed up the Toyota’s road manners, which was always the achilleas heel of its forefathers. Now it possesses the fluid body control and ability to ride bumps just as eloquently as its major rivals.
So a massive boon on tarmac, and, as is tradition, the Hilux more than excels on the loose stuff. That improved steering better communicates any upcoming loss in traction and affords greater levels of responsiveness should the tail start to step out; while the suspension’s once bouncy gait now makes way for a supple, more flexible nature.
With car-like sophistication at the top end of the spectrum, such as this Legend RS model, and great value to be had lower down the model range as well, long may the Toyota Hilux legend continue in South Africa.
Price: R851 100
0-100 km/h: 10,83 sec
Power: 150 kW @ 3 000 r/min
Torque: 500 N.m @ 1 600 r/min
CAR fuel index: 9,60 L/100 km
C02: 209 g/km