Indestructible: The legendary Hilux goes from strength to strength
There are things in this world that are so perfectly suited to their environment that they become de facto success tools for human endeavour. In southern Africa, where great distances and harsh terrain pose constant mobility challenges, only a handful of products can truly be described as ‘perfect long-haul travel partners’ – think biltong, Basutu ponies and the Toyota Hilux
Now celebrating its 40th year in South Africa with 37 of those years as the country’s top-selling one-ton light commercial vehicle, the Toyota Hilux is also a bona fide “home-made” product, manufactured at Toyota SA’s production plant in Prospecton, KZN. Hilux models rolling off this production line are sold both locally, in other African states, and in Europe, but it is in South Africa, Africa’s commercial powerhouse, that the word “legend” has special significance.
Designed primarily as a no-nonsense workhorse, the Hilux is now synonymous with durability and reliability, two qualities essential for the effective transport of cargo. From the utilitarian models of the 1970s to the luxurious and sporty double-cab 4×4 derivatives of the 21st century, the Toyota Hilux is the benchmark multipurpose vehicle in the one-ton segment. The Hilux has an enviable track record of “getting the job done”, be that commercially or recreationally. One merely has to ask a farmer which bakkie rules the roost oppie plaas.
Based on a ladder-type chassis frame that draws its strength from proven design principles in earlier models, the new Hilux range includes the premium, collectable Hilux Legend 40 range, which brings enhanced sophistication and striking good looks to the Hilux stable.
While the chrome-laced double-cab Legend 40 may be the Hilux head-turner, it is the 13, long-wheelbase Hilux workhorses in the range that quietly go about strengthening the brand’s legendary standing in South Africa. Available in petrol and diesel variants from the 2,0-litre fuel-injected, turbocharged Hilux 2.0 VVT-i, to the long-wheelbase Hilux Legend 40 3.0 D-4D Raised Body Raider, the range covers more ground than any of its competitors, with a commercial vehicle suitable for almost any application.
Keeping the fire burning
For commercial transporters and farmers, value for money is paramount and apart from their frugal fuel consumption and impressive power-to-weight ratios, the Hilux workhorse options come with a host of features that promote safety and comfort, including air-conditioning in selected models (or as an optional extra in non-standard fitment models), power steering in all models and ABS in three LWB derivatives,
As far as payload capacity is concerned, “the Hilux 2.5 D-4DS is capable of carrying a whopping 1 345 kg safely and economically, with a towing capacity of 750 kg (with an unbraked trailer) and 1 500 kg pulling an overrun braked trailer. The workhorse derivatives are fitted with a practical 80-litre fuel tank, ideal for long-haul duty”. Behind the sale of every new Hilux is Toyota SA’s 5-year/90 000 km ToyotaCare Service plan, backed by an extensive nationwide dealer network which, thanks to Toyota SA’s local production facility, is powered by comprehensive parts availability to ensure optimum vehicle uptime and service life.
For millions of TV viewers around the world, the Hilux is “that pick-up truck that Top Gear tried to destroy by strapping it to the top of an imploding skyscraper”. For South Africa’s bakkie-driving community, the Hilux is that trusty, indestructible workhorse with more stories of triumph over adversity to tell than one TV show can cover – a vehicle remarkable enough to be the stuff of legend.