The 8th generation HiLux is available with 2.0L and 2.7L petrol engines and an all-new 2.4L diesel, all equipped with a new 6-speed transmission. The all-new Hilux begins at AED 68,500 and presents itself in 14 variants, some of which are expected to appeal to our Tundra-deprived market for tough and formidable trucks.
There is reason why Toyota claims the new generation to be tougher and more comfortable at the same time. The new generation Hilux stands on a newly developed frame and redesigned suspension, with longer leaf springs ably supported by an all-new six speed automatic transmission. The new transmission promises up to 15% better fuel economy over the last generation.
While its humble utilitarian profile is very much the ticker for the cash register, the all-new Hilux is available in single and double cabin models in 14 variants, including 4WD and 2WD choices. New for the eighth generation is a 2.4L GD (global diesel) engine besides the 2.0L and a 2.7L TR petrol engines. Given the dropped diesel prices in the UAE, Al Futtaim Motors would be counting on this one. Combined with the new 6-speed, the powerful engine gives out 399 Nm of torque at 1600-2000 rpm and 147 hp at 3600 rpm.
The comprehensive safety features in the all-new Hilux include ABS and SRS airbags for the driver and front passenger, a knee airbag for the driver, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) that splits the applied brake force between the front and rear wheels to suit the context, and Brake Assist during emergency braking.
The ‘Unbreakable’ theme was acted out at Toyota Hilux launch Dubai by half a dozen Hilux pickups starring in an action-packed script replete with crumbling walls of polystyrene and plaster of Paris, fallen timber, steel rods and other hurdles that littered a reconstructed construction site.
That the Hilux platform is worthy of carrying off the roles of comfort carrier and SUV is already proved by the two Toyota models that are built on the same platform: the Fortuner, the ubiquitous first choice among UAE residents who badly want to upgrade to an SUV, and the Innova, the most popular airport taxi in progressive India.
While the massive American trucks including the F-150, Silverado, Ram and even the Tundra is increasing in popularity in the UAE, the Tundra is not yet joined the showroom line up at Al Futtaim. In this scenario, the new Hilux with an extra ton of appeal and aggressiveness weighing down its façade, gains significance.
With added comfort and capability, is it now right to call it the ‘junior Tundra’? I asked Jon Williams, Managing Director of Al-Futtaim Motors. “The Hilux is all the way a Hilux. There is no other way of seeing it.” With 650,000 units sold globally every year and 150,000 employed by the farms, oil fields and construction sites of UAE over forty years, Toyota wouldn’t risk suggesting otherwise. But if the dark red seats and the purposeful grille of the new generation Hi Lux does all the suggestion, they wouldn’t mind either!
Anyway, as of now, the RTA rules allow only commercial users and Emirati nationals to own the Hilux and its likes. Egged on by the remarkable appeal of the new Hilux, private users could be hoping for the efforts of Al Futtaim Motors and others to pay off in relaxing the rule, in the near future.