Since its launch in 1968, the famously unstoppable Toyota Hilux has proved its toughness time and again, from conquering volcanoes and both poles to winning the gruelling Dakar Rally.
Now the revised eighth-generation model presents a stronger proposition than ever thanks to a striking new design for the 2021 model year, the option of a powerful 2.8-litre powertrain, and equipment upgrades that will increase its appeal for business and leisure users.
New Toyota Hilux: design
The frontal design has been completely reworked to incorporate a powerful, three-dimensional treatment across the grille and bumper. It is a change that increases the vehicle’s road presence and reinforces its robust, go-anywhere credentials.
Depending on model grade, new front and rear LED light units are available, plus 18-inch black alloy wheels with a contrasting machined silver face. A striking new Titan Bronze metallic body colour (seen in these images) has also been added to the Hilux palette.
The upgraded cabin features a redesigned combination meter in the instrument cluster and a centrally mounted eight-inch multimedia screen. The latter now uses buttons and dial controls for improved functionality in all driving conditions, while the software is faster to improve responsiveness. Smartphone connectivity is provided through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Top quality features include smart entry and push-button start, satellite navigation, automatic air conditioning, front and rear parking sensors, and a nine-speaker JBL premium sound system with an 800W eight-channel amplifier and Clari-Fi technology for improving the reproduction quality of digital music files.
New Toyota Hilux: powertrains
The existing 148bhp 2.4-litre powertrain has now been joined by a more powerful 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine, which will ensure the pick-up stays on the performance pace within its segment. This powertrain will be available with a choice of either six-speed manual or automatic transmission, and all UK versions will have all-wheel drive.
Provisional figures for this engine reveal a 201bhp output and 500Nm of torque, enough to despatch the dash to 62mph in ten seconds – approximately 3.2 seconds faster than the current 2.4-litre unit. Combined cycle fuel economy is predicted to be around 36.3mpg with CO2 emissions of 204g/km. All figures are subject to change, pending final homologation.
New Toyota Hilux: driving dynamics
Engineers focused on improving the model’s on-road prowess, without sacrificing any of its legendary off-road capabilities.
Regarding the former, comfort and driveability have been enhanced through improvements to the suspension and power steering. The front and rear shock absorbers have been retuned, and there is an improved leaf spring design with new bushing. These contribute to a smoother ride with less shock when driving over joints and holes in the road surface.
Off-road enthusiasts will be pleased to note that Hilux has retained its sturdy body-on-frame construction, a design that is hard-wearing and better able to withstand the torsional forces encountered in extreme driving conditions. Accelerator response has been tuned for greater driver control, and the vehicle stability control has been updated to include a new tyre angle monitor.
Where practicality is concerned, the one-tonne payload and 3.5-tonne towing capacity are delivered across all three body types: Single Cab, Extra Cab and Double Cab.
New Toyota Hilux Invincible X
The range-topping Hilux Invincible X Double Cab (seen in these images) is distinguished by exclusive exterior styling details, including bespoke grille and front bumper, skid plate, arch extensions, door handle and tailgate designs.
The Invincible X also comes with its own combination meter design, black metallic and dark chrome trim accents within the interior, and even a model-specific key. Blue illumination is integrated into the door trims and the perforated leather seat upholstery features a two-tone treatment.
New Toyota Hilux: Active and Icon grades
Active: Active grade models now feature Toyota Safety Sense 2 as standard, while the fuel efficiency of Extra Cab and Double Cab models is boosted with the addition of stop/start technology. Further standard features on all Active models include air conditioning, radio and CD player, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, auto headlights and a rear differential lock.
Icon: Icon grade models are only available in Double Cab form, and include power folding door mirrors, reversing camera, privacy glass, LED front fog lamps and side steps. Further practical features include new 17-inch alloy wheels and an automatic limited-slip differential to improve low-grip driving in two-wheel drive mode. New interior features include smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, coupled with the new eight-inch multimedia touchscreen.
Toyota Hilux 2021: accessories
Customers can choose from a wide range of accessories to personalise their Hilux and equip it to suit their specific work or leisure requirements. Items include a range of bed liners, hard tops, roll covers and sport bars.