The Hilux bakkie is one of the top-selling bakkies in South Africa and, believe me or not, almost everyone within my broad circle of friends wants one.
For the month of September alone, the Japanese marque sold over 4 252 Hilux bakkies.
If my mathematics skills serve me well, that is about 141 bakkies leaving the showroom every day for 30 days, even with the terrible economic situation of our country.
Even with these impressive numbers, Toyota keeps on finding ways of making the Hilux standout and has recently done that with the introduction of the facelifted Hilux.
I recently spent some time putting the range-topping Legend model through its paces at the Gerotek Testing Facility in Pretoria.
The refreshed Toyota Hilux still possesses its no-nonsense stance as well as its go-anywhere and over anything attitude, yet its looks have changed. It now comes fitted with slimmer headlights, new front grille and bumper design.
The rear spawns new taillights that give the facelifted Hilux a fresh new look.
The Hilux Legend makes use of a 2.8 turbodiesel engine that has been massaged to deliver 150 kW of power and 500 Nm of torque for the automatic version we sampled.
The manual transmission-equipped versions see the torque figures dropping to 420 Nm.
For those who do not know the Gerotek Testing Facility, it features some of the most intense off-road tracks and it made so much sense as to why Toyota took us there.
The improvements on the suspension can be felt and that comes courtesy of improved ride comfort, thanks to new spring rates, shock absorbers and suspension bushes.
Music lovers like myself will find the JBL sound system very much great to have.
Our test unit was fitted with the optional ‘RS’ accessory package (referring to roller shutter) that is only available on the Legend bakkies.
The RS package adds a motorised roller shutter, graphite-coloured sports bar, rubberised Bedliner, assisted tailgate with central-locking function and dust-defence kit.
The roller shutter can be operated via buttons situated at the load bin and can be closed and opened with a press of a button.
On the road, the Legend drives with so much aplomb that you feel little to no road imperfections.
From inclines, declines, sand driving, hillclimbing, to driving through extreme mud, the refreshed Toyota Hilux carries its duties with so much ease and without any complaining.
We put to the test the reworked downhill assist control system and the Hilux can now go downhill at a much slower speed than the outgoing Hilux. This is something that gives drivers confidence when tackling off-road ventures.
Its power plant is more refined, quieter and, while its performance won’t send shivers down your spine, it is adequate.
Combine the Hilux’s on-road and its rugged off-road abilities and you will see why it always wins.
The refreshed Toyota Hilux Legend carries a price tag of R765 600.
For the record, the refreshed Hilux comes in four trim levels: S, SR, Raider and the range-topping Legend.
The utility-focused S and SR models, complete with their original front façades, remain unchanged. The largest change is in the ‘mid-range’ where the SRX is replaced by the Raider.
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