Toyota Hilux:Key 2016 model kits up

We finally get a sneak peak inside the new Hilux


MORE equipment and comfort features are arriving with the impending new-generation Toyota Hilux … but apparently not to the extent where it will upgrade to the driver-assist technology to match that implementing into the Ford that has been its greatest rival for the past two years.

That’s how it looks with Toyota having now released information and photographs of the incoming generation eight line.

The data release, part of a drip fee of information preceding full launch (expected to occur around November), primarily intends to highlight the pluses of a wholly redesigned interior yet it also, by default, provides detail about what this key model has – and what it missed out on.

The latter, notably, are the active safety features that might well be considered of heightened importance to an emergent buyer set; families and private users who are increasingly gravitating toward high-riding one-tonne traydecks as sports utility substitutes.

It’s a trend that the makers have picked on and leveraged with their top-end version of the supposedly toil-first products; the flagships in particular are increasingly eschewing their workhorse principles and the Hilux SR5 seen here certainly seems a good example of that.

But impending Ranger seems set to be the king of the crop, by having more of the car-like accident avoidance technologies than any other rival in the sector. Active cruise control and lane-departure warning, for instance, are for now Ford-exclusive treatments.

However, there’s an element of conjecture to this. Much about what Hilux faithful can expect to see is still being kept shrouded. The detail comes courtesy of Toyota Australia, as part of a big pre-launch campaign to keep up interest in the Hilux in what is a busy year for new utility releases on both sides of the Tasman.

Toyota New Zealand, meantime, is still keeping mum on how the Hilux will equip here. Asked for comment about the photos and data presented in today’s story, TNZ spokesman Morgan Dilks replied: “We haven’t released our spec yet so cannot confirm differences between the Australian variants.”

As in New Zealand, Toyota is contending with having to launch its new generation Hilux around November, a timing which puts it into the market after the release of a brand-new Mitsubishi Triton and Nissan Navara and also the facelifted Ranger.

The updated Mazda BT-50, just revealed yesterday (without its maker providing detail of its technical makeup) could also well be in the running by then. Mazda NZ will say only that it will be here “later in the year.” The BT-50 has kept its controversial nose, but with detailing tweaks; a revision that goes against earlier conjecture that a Ranger-like restyle was coming.

TNZ, meantime, is faced with setting this Hilux the task of regaining lost ground; the ute that dominated the NZ sales scene for 32 years saw that globally-significant achievement come to a sudden stop last year, when Ranger topped the sector.

The Ford is odds-on favourite to repeat this feat in 2015; 

it was the top-selling ute in June with 729 sales and year-to-date has achieved 3035 sales, against 2581 for Hilux, a tally that also makes it the country’s best-selling vehicle (a title normally comfortably held by the Toyota Corolla, which at the moment is in third behind Hilux).

However it is left looking exposed by its greatest rival, Hilux has still clearly improved considerably within the cabin, with a step up in trim treatments and technology.

The company’s information release also confirms much of what was gauged – but not specifically commented on – when TNZ allowed local journalists to look over a pre-production SR5 at its Palmerston North headquarters at the end of May. That occasion tied with the model’s global unveiling.

All versions of this Thailand-sourced line will benefit from a dash-mounted touchscreen measuring 6.1 inches in lower grades or seven inches in the flagship SR5 double-cab.
The company’s information pack confirms what was A variety of information and entertainment will be accessible via the monitor including the audio system that has up to six speakers, plus a Toyota Link connected mobility and a reversing camera that is very likely to be standard on almost all versions.

Drivers will be able to access various onboard systems such as Bluetooth-connected phones, navigation (where included) and entertainment with the touchscreen, steering wheel controls or a new voice-control system.

SR5 versions have an additional 4.2-inch digital screen between the tachometer and speedometer for displaying trip computer and fuel consumption information.

The flagship also has keyless entry/start, a ‘premium’ steering wheel  and self-levelling headlights.

Safety features are further improved with seven airbags, electronic stability control, ABS brakes, Isofix child-seat anchors and seatbelt reminders.

Toil still sets the overall tone: Toyota says the new line has more durable interiors, even though the high-spec seat is in part-leather trim and has a rich carpet coverings.

Interior space has increased for occupants and more front seat and steering column adjustment. SR5 double cab customers access electric adjustment.

Other comfort-boosting kit will include room for two 600ml drink bottles with heating and cooling, USB 

and 12-volt power sockets, a large centre storage box and electric windows and mirrors.
Every four-wheel-drive version takes an electronic transfer-case dial for shifting to low-range, while SR and SR5 have greater off-road ability thanks to a standard rear differential lock.