This is the most important new vehicle Toyota has launched in Australia in the past decade.

When it was finally discontinued in September 2015, the 10-year old model was still maintaining market share, but only just. This new one was well overdue.

By Alex Forrest

Significantly for many Hilux customers, the new diesel engine is smaller in capacity, down from 3.0 litres to 2.8 litres.

There’s also a new 2.4-litre diesel, with 110kW and 400Nm. The 2.7-litre petrol has slightly improved power and torque and the 4.0-litre V6 petrol is more efficient thanks to a new six-speed auto.

The new 2.8-litre unit makes 130kW and 450Nm in the automatic models – that’s 4kW and a whopping 107Nm more than the previous 3.0-litre engine. The manuals have 420Nm. Fuel consumption and emissions are down. The 2.8’s new variable-vane turbocharger is a factor here.

Though it’s worth noting that while the new engine has significantly more torque, it peaks slightly higher in the rev range than the old 3.0-litre.

That said, the 2.8 feels like it is making more torque at the same revs where the old one peaked (1,400rpm). So low-speed grunt is still strong, which we confirmed when we drove the new Hilux through a section of the powerlines track in the Perth hills.

IMG_7583

This exercise also highlighted the Hilux’s improved rear wheel articulation. When the full extent of that was reached, the rear differential lock ensured the rear wheel with traction kept delivering forward motion.

The rear cart springs have been made 100mm longer (now 1400mm), and they are also now further apart across the axle. This has contributed to one of the best assets of the new Hilux – its much improved ride. This was particularly noticeable on the dirt roads in the Mundaring area.

A rear camera is standard across the range, but active cruise control and autonomous braking aren’t available on any Hilux. They are, however, available in the Ford Ranger.

The Hilux’s interior has seen some major overall improvement. Our favourite features are the cupholders, which support a coffee cup, but can also convert to hold a 600ml choc milk carton.

Toyota Hilux 4×4 twin cab

Specifications

Price driveaway (as tested): from $51,924 drive away (SR 4×4 Double-Cab manual)
Engine: 2.8-litre turbo diesel
Power: 130kW @ 3400rpm
Torque: 420Nm @ 1400–2600rpm (450Nm @ 1600–2400rpm with auto)
Claimed fuel economy: 7.3 litres/100km
ANCAP Rating: 5 stars
CO2 Emissions: 193g/km