With Ford's new Australian-designed, Thai-built Ranger, VW's Amorak and Holden's forthcoming Colorado looking to unseat the evergreen Hilux as Australia's favourite utility vehicle, Toyota has given its popular ute a mid-life refresh.
A new, squared-off front-end design will let car spotters and fellow owners know that you're driving the latest iteration of the seventh-generation Hilux. Three equipment levels are available: WorkMate, SR and SR5.
There are a choice of three engines, starting with a 116kW/240Nm 2.7-litre four-cylinder petrol and a 126kW/343Nm 3-litre turbo diesel. Also available is a 4-litre petrol V6 with 175kW of power and 343Nm or 376Nm of torque, when fitted with the five-speed manual and the automatic, respectively. Depending on the model grade and body style, four-wheel drive is optional.
As before, there are three body styles offered: two-door single cab, Xtra cab and four-door double cab. Taking into account body style, engine and transmission combinations, as well as two- and four-wheel drive versions, there are a mind-boggling 35 variations available.
The rear-wheel drive WorkMate features vinyl seats, 15-inch steel wheels, anti-lock brakes, two airbags, a two-speaker sound system and, finally, a tachometer. The SR adds cruise control, fabric seats, power windows and mirrors, body coloured bumpers and steering wheel audio controls. On the SR5, you'll find a six-speaker audio system, automatic headlights, climate control, wing mirror indicators and 15-inch alloy wheels.
Over on the four-wheel drive ledger, the WorkMate gains 16-inch steel wheels and cruise control. On the SR, there's also side and curtain airbags, and side steps. For the top-of-the-range SR5 double cab, added goodies include 17-inch alloy wheels, wheel arch extensions, Optitron instrument lighting and stability and traction control.
New audio and navigation
Sat nav is now standard on SR5 models; the system features a 6.1-inch touchscreen that runs a version of the iGo navigation software with speed limit info, speed and red light camera warnings, traffic information and 3D map view.
There's also analog radio, a CD slot, USB port and Bluetooth hands-free and music streaming, but no auxiliary jack. A voice-recognition system that can control the phone, navigation and entertainment is also a part of the SR5 package.
The lower-spec WorkMate and SR models debut the new entry-level sound system that will find its way into other Toyota models. It features a three-line display, analog radio, CD player, USB and auxiliary ports, Bluetooth for hands-free and music streaming and voice recognition.
Pricing for the face-lifted range starts from AU$18,990 for the WorkMate rear-wheel drive single cab, and tops out with the four-wheel drive SR5 double cab at AU$53,490.