2016 Toyota Hilux design explained

Traditionally, commercial vehicle design has been led by functionality. From this perspective, the all-new 2016 Toyota Hilux ticks that box by being appreciably tougher, stronger and more capable than ever before.

But the eighth-generation model is also heralds a new era for the pick-up by putting a greater emphasis on style – a reflection of its popularity as an activity-enabling lifestyle vehicle as well as a reliable workhorse.

Exterior designer Satoru Oya said his team wanted to appeal to long-time Hilux owners who appreciate their vehicle’s rugged construction as well as new buyers seeking a versatile alternative to an SUV.

“The design proposal was to push the toughness element,” Oya commented. “But we changed the concept more towards an emotional connection of stylish and strong.”

How is this dual-purpose nature evident in the exterior design? Let’s take a look…

Hilux design: front aspect

The combination of toughness and refinement is expressed in an interplay between the depth of the front bumper (1), the broad-shouldered protrusion of the wheel arches (2), and a new unified arrangement of the slim upper grille and headlamps.

Hilux design 02

The sleek upper grille moulding harmonises with the tapered outer sides of the trapezoidal lower grille, suggesting a solid, firmly planted stance (3). Meanwhile, the uppermost horizontal bar of the grille is designed to extend visually into the headlamp units (4), accentuating the vehicle’s width and creating a distinctive daytime running light arrangement.

Hilux design 03

The headlights themselves curve around the corners of the vehicle, emphasising the smooth transition that also exists between the bumper and wings. In addition, the lower half of the bumper has been shaped to ensure good ground clearance when driving off-road.

Hilux design: side aspect

Similar to the proportions seen across the front, the side aspect offers a similar relationship between the thick cross-section of the flanks (1) and the sleek glasshouse formed by the lowered roof line. This high visual axis extends the length of the vehicle and is designed to emphasise its tough solidity. While this could generate a heavy appearance, careful sculpturing (1) creates reflective qualities that lighten the visual effect.

Hilux design 04

Looking at the silhouette of Extra Cab and Double Cab models, the angle of the A-pillars is slanted more rearward than ever before (2), and the upright nature of the B-pillar is disguised by being blacked-out. Meanwhile, the sense of liveliness and forward motion is echoed by the curvature of the C-pillar (2). Incidentally, the shape is also designed to maximise over-the-shoulder visibility around the driver’s eye line.

Hilux design 05

Although Hilux offers a new hourglass shape through integrated wheel flares, the dynamic horizontal graphic remains uninterrupted (3). This has been achieved by a clear belt line and smooth transitions between the front, cabin and load bay areas.

Hilux design: rear aspect

As the most functional element of any pick-up, the rear deck of the new Hilux has been expanded and strengthened to make it more practical. But it has also been given more visual appeal with the same prominent arch treatment as the front end (1) and forging a link from the cabin by anchoring the styling line with the wrap-around rear lenses.

Hilux design 01

The lenses themselves are designed with machined effect and feature small aero stabilising fins to assist airflow, while the bumper is deeper in order to integrate a step for easier access to the deck when the tailgate is closed.

Finally, the necessary separation between cabin and deck (2) has been slimmed to a minimum and unified in overall appearance through careful curve-matching.

Hilux design: finishing touches

The alloy wheels fitted to Icon and Invincible grades are designed to show a balance between toughness and class. In addition, over 100 centre-fit accessories are available for new Hilux, including a range of genuine and branded canopy hardtops.

Hilux at CVS 06

There are eight exterior paint colour choices available, from solid white to brilliant metallic and optional pearlescent shades. Two of these colours – Crimson Spark Red (see above) and Nebula Blue (opening image) – are newly developed.

Learn more: What else has changed with the 2016 Toyota Hilux?
Learn more: History of the Toyota Hilux


  1. You really need to bring the 2.8 out to back those good looks up. Pretty much every other truck manufacturers 2016 pickup has more power and torque. Dont let us down Toyota.

  2. Hi Greg, thanks for the feedback. There are no plans to bring the 2.8 to the UK at this time. In fact, we feel the current line-up offers a competitive challenge to rivals in the market thanks to its efficiency. Perhaps you should give one a try?

  3. I agree. I wont bother until the 2.8 is here. There will be so many more options in a couple of years from other manufacturers so in my mind Toyota will benefit from bringing the 2.8 in asap to the UK. I need the power as I carry so much weight. I currently have the 3 litre and that struggles up hills

  4. Hi Ken,
    Thank you for your post. Unfortunately we have no information at present. Keep an eye on our blog for all the latest news and features. Many thanks.

  5. Toyota really need to bring the 2.8GD to the uk though, the new hilux is amazing but after a test drive today it was a let down. Slower and less powerful than the current one. I need a powerful truck ready to pull heavy loads, I need that 2.8 engine! There’s big demand guys, wake up! Efficiency is not a concern for some, they just need power.

  6. too little to late and such a shame
    what has gone wrong
    have you any idea how many people buy the 3.0 hilux just for the engine power and not for the
    spec of the truck
    i my self know of 7 people who have who have traded in 3.0 hilux gone for the 3.2 ranger
    just for the engine power
    they don t really care about long term reliability as they change them every 2 years
    and we get the 2.4 small engines in work trucks just is not right
    i have the 3,0 hilux for my own use and i get 31mpg
    and for work i have 110 defender with the 2.2 and i get 17 mpg or i fill up every 3 and a 1/2 hours on the motorway
    i was going to change my hilux this year for a new one
    but having seen the new one i will stick with mine
    2.4 and the looks of a vw passat why cant we have a truck that looks like a truck and not a car
    the touch screen on the dash looks like it was a after thought

    and yet the toyota tacoma it is fitted in to the dash
    give us the 2.8 and the looks and interior of the tacoma and and you have got a sure winner
    every one and your sales

    1. Dans spot on Toyota, ive had 5 3 litre Hiluxes, but ive got a new 3.2 Ranger coming this week, after comparing the two 3 months ago, the Ranger was better looking, went better, comfier and the dash looked like it was meant to be there, not like someone had stuck an ipad on as an extra. Its a shame, i had a great relationship with the Toyota dealers and im still going to keep the Hilux i have now.

    2. Dan
      sorry to jump in mate, and I was thinking along the same lines, however I bit the bullet and ordered one, and to be brutally honest, it is a belter, you wouldn’t think it was a 2.4, it knocks spots of the 3lt and then some
      if you haven’t already, grab yourself a text drive in one, you will soon change your mind,!!!!

      1. i have had a hire on for the last 16 weeks as my landrover failed
        and i was not that thrilled about it after the first few weeks
        if the 2.8 comes out and they change the dash a little i wil trade my 3.0l
        in for one

      2. Hi Dan. We’re sorry to hear you feel this way. We’ll pass your feedback along to our product team. Thanks.

  7. I remember when the Hilux 4×4 was a mans vehicle, a working beast fit for purpose and an honest price, which was much less then your average car and quite right. It was so good I bought a new one in 86 and done about 100k happy miles. Now they seem like girls cars, a fashion accessory at triple the price. Must be an awful lot of fully loaded hairdressers out there these days!!

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