More muscle for Toyota HiluxFriday, September 03, 2021
SINCE the introduction of the eighth-generation Toyota Hilux, 2021 presents its biggest upgrade to date, a power bump that puts the Japanese pickup amongst the horsepower heavyweights.
The new engine comes with a facelift. The slowly evolving shark-nose styling gets revisions to keep it fresh. The new bumper doesn't alter what was already a good-looking vehicle. Inside, the Hilux remains much the same. It has a long history of being durable, reliable under extreme conditions, and able to tackle less than optimal off-road terrain. The interior reflects the first two. There is some style to the dashboard, having deep curves and aggressive angles. There is soft leather at the key contact areas, but otherwise the Hilux is filled with the hard-wearing plastic expected from a work vehicle. It's all put together solidly and will most likely last the life of the vehicle. Switchgear is similarly robust, being easily in reach and clearly defined for operation. Only the audio functions are limited to the touchscreen radio and steering wheel mounted controls.
Comfort comes from the seats and the fact that the cabin is very quiet. Once warmed up, the diesel engine disappears into the background and there's precious little wind noise at highway speeds. Convenience features are limited to the automatic headlights, single press windows, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
But no one is buying a Hilux to use it like a commuter sedan. You buy the Hilux to work it to death, and with the new 2.8-litre turbo diesel the pickup drives into the job site like the Greek Titan Atlas. This is the second engine the current generation Hilux has had, and the second iteration of the current motor. Originally launched with a three litre, it was downsized to a more powerful 2.8 litre. For 2021 that engine has received a significant mechanical overhaul to add the muscle diesel pickup owners love to boast about. Power jumps over the 200bhp mark from 177 to 201 and for the first time the Hilux joins the 500Nm club, which equates to 370lb/ft of torque. If the figures themselves weren't impressive then having all the torque available from 1,600rpm to 2,800rpm and the 201bhp available at a relatively high for a diesel, 3,400rpm. All this gives the new Hilux a massive power band.
On road, this has a dramatic effect. At low speeds the Hilux is barely bothered carrying its own weight, cruising effortlessly. Which so much power on tap, the throttle mapping and traction control are calibrated as to not light up the rear tyres when the bed is empty or on certain surface types. Towing capacity has been upped an additional 881lbs. Off-road, the Toyota has always been top ranked, so it's no surprise that the new engine has put even more into its arsenal. Four-wheel drive, HI and LO modes, with a locking rear differential, suspension travel, and ground clearance, combine for a near unbeatable package in this segment. The significant increase in torque makes the pickup able to crawl over and through the roughest of terrain its tyres can gain traction on.
If you need to get there, the Hilux will get you there.
MODEL: 2021 Toyota Hilux
ENGINE: 2.8-litre, turbo diesel — 201bhp/370lb/ft
DRIVETRAIN: six-speed automatic/two or four-wheel drive
SUMMARY: The Hilux muscles itself back to the top of the pickup game.
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