HARDENED and rugged, the unbreakable HiLux has been shaved down and given a chic appeal.
The 2016 Toyota HiLux is sport utility vehicle-inspired and promises to be more family friendly when it arrives here in October.
Wraps came off the much-anticipated new HiLux in Sydney this week, as part of a global reveal where basic details were revealed.
Hailed as more "car-like" and far easier to drive, Australia's most popular commercial offering is forecast to find favour in more driveways Down Under with an improved ability for work and play.
Pricing details have not been revealed, neither have full specifications, but the HiLux will be available with four engines - two turbo diesels and a pair of petrol units - across three equipment grades (WorkMate, SR and SR5).
The HiLux will be available in single, extra and double body styles.
It's been a decade since the previous generation HiLux was launched.
The automotive world has moved on significantly since then, and expectations of the humble ute have lifted.
Internal dimensions have been improved for greater cabin comfort. The dual cab is 70mm longer and 20mm wider and that has resulted in more front shoulder and head room, greater range for seat height adjustment, along with extra rear knee room.
Windows of the model on show this week were blackened as the vehicle was essentially hand-built for display purposes, and we didn't get a chance to climb inside to get a real sense of the improved dimensions.
Toyota's new 2.8-litre four-cylinder common-rail turbo diesel is smaller in capacity than the powerplant it replaces, but torque has increased by up to 25% with a maximum of 450Nm available over 1600-2400rpm. Power is up 4kW to a peak of 130kW at 3400rpm.
The other oil-burner will be the primary engine for 2x4 variants, a 2.4-litre four-cylinder with "up to" 400Nm from 1600-2000rpm and maximum power of 110kW at 3400rpm.
Toyota has also revised its 2.7-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine, achieving gains in power and torque. Power is up more than 5% to 122kW while torque has improved about 2% with average fuel consumption dipping below 11 litres/100km.
The current 4.0-litre V6 petrol will be carried over without change.
Transmission choices will be a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic.
Matching the competition, there will be a 3.5-tonne towing capacity on some models (which is up from the current maximum of 2.5 tonnes), while HiLux will also come with a larger fuel tank (80 litres) while the payload has been improved to as much as 1240kg on some models.
At the heart of the HiLux is a stronger frame courtesy of high-tensile steel which helps reduce weight. Noise is also claimed to be better suppressed, with less road and mechanical intrusion, along with better sound-absorbing materials.
What do you get?
There will be more HiLux variants on offer, growing from 23 to 31.
Air con, cruise control, power mirrors, windows and door locks will be standard fare across the range, while multifunction infotainment, LED headlights, daytime running lamps, and keyless entry with push-button start will be among the features on top-shelf models.
Don't expect to go without modern conveniences, the man in charge of the interior also headed the development of the iQ, a compact four-seater renowned for its advanced packaging.
Depending on the grade, the utes will be fitted with 16, 17 or 18-inch wheels.
Toyota is expecting a five-star crash safety rating. Across the range will be stability and traction control, reversing camera, hill start assist, emergency stop signal, seven airbags and anti-lock brakes.
There will also be a "Hi-Rider" version for two-wheel drive variants, which offers raised suspension for those who don't want four-wheel drive prowess.
Toyota Australia's executive director of sales and marketing Tony Cramb was upbeat at this week's HiLux reveal. He said the ute would offer the best features of a workhorse ute and an SUV.
"A highlight is the Australian-developed suspension that delivers increased wheel articulation, improved handling and greater comfort so owners can enjoy stress-free driving, even with a full load," he said.
Expect better fuel economy across the range, apart from the V6 petrol.
Toyota will also have capped price servicing, but the backbone of the HiLux is reputation. It boasts enviable resale value bolstered by a reputation for longevity which no marketing campaign can buy.
Front-on, the 2015 HiLux looks to have a Kluger-like lineage. The deep front bumper and pumped out wheel arches live up to the muscular expectations, and the two creases in profile add some class. The lower grille is trademark Toyota, with the front corners raised to help avoid damage on rough roads.
Mitsubishi has recently answered the call for improved road manners with its updated Triton, and Nissan will follow suit with the Navara.
With the Ford Ranger beginning to chip into Toyota's dominance courtesy of well-regarded on-road manners, this new HiLux will answer the modern buyer needs. No longer is the ute rugged and basic…it needs to cut the mustard on work sites and then deliver for family duties after hours.
It's certainly a striking truck from all angles and will certainly have a greater appeal when it arrives later this year.
Did you know?
Born in 1968, there have been 16million HiLux utes sold globally.
Last month saw the 850,000th sold in Australia.
One out of every 20 HiLuxes produced is bought in Australia.
For the past 17 years it has been Australia's best selling 4x4.
For seven years it has been Australia's third best-selling car.
On average there have been 20,000 HiLux sales a year since 1968, that figure rises to nearly 40,000 a year over the past five years.
Model: 2016 Toyota HiLux.
Engines: 2.8-litre four-cylinder common-rail turbo diesel generating 130kW and up to 450Nm; 2.4-litre four-cylinder common-rail turbo-diesel 110kW and up to 400Nm; 2.7-litre four-cylinder petrol 122kW and 350Nm; 4.0-litre V6 petrol 175kW and 376Nm.
Transmissions: Six-speed manual or automatic.
Towing: Up to 3.5 tonnes (payloads of up to 1240kg).
Bottom line: Prices yet to be revealed, but estimated to start from about $20,000 and stretching to $60,000.
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