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Worth the wait!

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Worth the wait! After much anticipation preceding its launch, the all-new Toyota Hilux is finally here! ZIPHORA MASETHE drives the 2.8 GD-6 4x4 Raider.

The eighth-generation Hilux enters the market after more than a decade since the launch of its predecessor in 2005. According to Toyota, to date 16-million Hilux vehicles have been sold in over 180 countries around the world.

The Hilux has been completely redesigned and now sports a more defined, chiseled and modern look. The chrome-look grille is long and angular, joining the sleeker headlights that pull back to the sides of the bonnet. Chrome is also sported on the side mirrors and door handles. The let down, however, is that the running boards are not quite wide enough.

While, at a glance, the new Hilux looks slimmer than its predecessor – credit to its sleek design – the pick-up model’s load bay has increased in size. It is 1 569 mm in length (19 mm longer) and 1 645 mm wide (79 mm wider). The depth of the cargo hold is 481 mm (up 20 mm). The gross vehicle mass is 2 910 kg.

The cabin has just enough leg and shoulder room. The seats could have been made more comfortable, however, but height adjustment on the driver’s seat is appreciated.

A sleek dashboard gives the Hilux interior a clean and minimalist feel, and incorporates a seven-inch touch-screen infotainment system. A reverse camera is an added convenience, as are the numerous large storage spaces.

New looks and mechanicals mean the Hilux is a new, improved beast.Safety features include: seven airbags; familiar electronic brake control systems incorporating the new Emergency Brake Signal, which warns other vehicles of an emergency braking condition by flashing the hazard lights; and Toyota’s Active Traction Control and Vehicle Stability Control systems.

The new 2,8-litre GD-6 engine is outstanding. The technical advancements have resulted in a smooth, quiet and refined powerplant. These improvements, according to Toyota, offer fuel efficiency of
7,62 l/100 km on the combined driving cycle. The GD-6 hosts impressive power and torque outputs of 130 kW and 420 Nm from a low 1 400 r/min.

While far more comfortable to use than the old model’s agricultural-feeling, five-speed gearbox, the new six-speed unit is still not that smooth to operate.

The new suspension set-up – revised leaf springs and new mounting points – does give better ride comfort, though still not quite as comfortable as others in its class. On the road the Hilux is relaxed and compliant, but firm at times. While it handles well on road, this bakkie was made for easy off-road capability – four-wheel drive can be activated at the turn of a knob.

The Hilux 2.8 GD-6 4x4 Raider retails for R529 900 with warranty cover for three-years/100 000 km, a five-year/90 000 km service plan and 24-hour roadside assistance.

Toyota has certainly made a great vehicle for bakkie lovers. The major improvements – from ride and handling, to the refined interior and powerful engine – should continue the success of the Hilux for years to come.

Ziphorah Masethe is a third-year journalism student at the Tshwane University of Technology. Her passion for writing and interest in the motoring world landed her the opportunity as the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists’ Guild Bursar for 2016. As part of the programme, Ziphorah will be deployed throughout the year to various publications, agencies, and vehicle manufacturers serving the industry. She recently spent a month with FOCUS, where she was exposed to the commercial vehicle industry.



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