As a young boy I remember growing up near Bothaville. The fancy farmer living next door bought one of the very first Hilux 4x4s in South Africa. Every afternoon we would run up to the road to watch him go by in his beautiful four-wheeled machine. After which we would usually say, “Ja boet, one day I’m going to buy one of those trokkies…”
It is now 40 years later and I only use the Hilux (lots of them, in fact) on my farm. We have one for every decade gone by, and each of them barely run in. The 1983 Hilux with 500 000 km on the odometer is only now starting to loosen up. For luxurious trips I use my 2005 Hilux Legend 35 with fancy leather seats and an air conditioner for the warmer days.
Only recently, at the Nampo show, did I meet up with the newest member of the family. It’s called the Legend 40 and it showcases 40 years of technological advancement in the LCV segment. Naturally it was the unrivalled star of the Toyota stand. Being a fan of Toyota, I was immediately drawn in.
The recipe for the new Legend bakkie is as easy as baking potbrood. Take one part legendary Hilux toughness and add one part of commemorative accessories. The key features include added visual appeal in the form of a Legend 40 roll bar, side steps, nudge bar and rear bumper. All are made from tough stainless steel, which means I can still play in the mud when the mood strikes.
The interior has some nice carpets and full leather trim. A sound system and electric windows complete the package. So this Hilux is still tough on the outside, but on the inside where no one can see, it is more comfortable than my lazyboy next to the fire.
The guys at Nampo also had some aftermarket equipment we had a look at. Say I wanted one of these bakkies; it could be fitted with all kinds of things that could help me with my day-to-day running of the farm. Then Toyota delivered the final blow to convince me. My entire family was offered a trip on an off-road course to show us what the new guy could do.
The experience immediately convinced me that I needed one. But this left me with a big problem: what engine and body style should I choose? There used to be a time when you could only choose the colour of your bakkie, but now I was spoilt with all the possible options. This must be the reason why so many people buy Toyota bakkies. Thy guy at the Nampo grounds told me that they sold 2 777 in May this year. This means that the most popular passenger car in our country isn’t even a car. Even during the tough times last year they sold like hotcakes.
I could choose a single or double cab with three possible engines and two gearbox choices. The diesel delivers a powerful punch. The 3.0 D-4D unit delivers 120 kW and 343 Nm of torque. More than enough to pull any sheep out of a hole.
The 2.7 litre four-cylinder petrol is fitted with something called VVT-i and it delivers 118 kW and 241 Nm. Both are fine examples of toughness and durability, but I decided to go for the big daddy.
Standing outside my front door at this very moment is a brand new four litre V6 petrol 4×4. It delivers a handy 175 kW and 376 Nm of torque, enough for all situations. My commute into town is quiet and comfortable and at the robots I get to show those nancy-boy hot hatches what a real car is made of. I was very lucky to get one, since all the special editions were sold out before production even ended. The Hilux legend is strong in South Africa.
As a tool it is perfect. The 4×4 prowess is amazing and I can still put a ton of things in the back. Everything I don’t want near my leather seats is thrown in the back; sheep, pigs, grain, kids, in-laws, camping equipment… you name it.
Now I can’t wait for the Legend 45 to come along. Just in time for my newest addition to get properly run in.
• This article was penned by Gerhard Horn, one of the most talented scribes to have worked at FOCUS in a long time. The highly deserving recipient of the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists’ 2010 bursary and a Hilux aficionado, Gerhard knows the motor industry very well. He’s not a farmer, but he grew up in the platteland, so he knows all about their motoring requirements and passion for the Hilux brand. He’s also a regular Nampo show attendee. Instead of writing about Toyota’s stand from the point of view of a young petrol head, we asked him to put himself in the velskoene of a typical farmer.