Next time you’re on a family road trip, instead of asking the youngsters to count red cars or blue cars, get them to count Toyota HiLux utilities - you will be surprised how many you spot.
In April, the HiLux totalled 3814 sales to be that month’s Australian number one best-selling vehicle outright – the first time a ute has achieved this feat.
Last year Toyota recorded 42,009 HiLux sales – cracking the 40K barrier for the first time. Incredibly, this meant the HiLux was Australia’s number three best-selling vehicle, just the Holden Commodore and its Toyota stablemate the Corolla.
Some 23,392 4WD models were included in that figure. This put the 4WD HiLux more than 5,000 sales ahead of its nearest rival and more than double the sales of the market’s third-best seller.
Toyota first brought the HiLux to Australia some 36 years ago and has just boosted the current model range with the addition of a sports TRD (Toyota Racing Developments) model. The TRD HiLux is derived from the standard double-cab 4WD version but rides on large 17-inch sports alloy wheels, has upgraded brakes and suspension plus interior and exterior sports accessories.
But the big news is under the bonnet – a supercharged 4.0-litre quad-cam V6 engine that produces 225kW of power and 453Nm of torque. That’s almost double the power of the entry-level four-cylinder HiLux!
Other engines in the HiLux lineup are the standard 2.7-litre four cylinder and ‘regular’ 4.0-litre quad-cam V6 petrol powerplants plus the 3.0-litre twin-cam turbo diesel.
There are Single Cab, Double Cab, Xtra Cab, Cab Chassis and Pickup body/tray types. The Double Cab boasts impressive interior dimensions – 2130mm of cabin length and couple distance (from front to rear hip point) of 900mm – very similar to a passenger car.
Transmissions are a five-speed automatic or a five-speed manual.
Times have changed for the Aussie ute market – research shows around 35% are not actually used to carry loads. Once almost exclusively used by tradies and farmers, the ute is now often used as a recreation vehicle for young – and not so young – males.
Toyota’s timing for the TRD HiLux seems perfect.