Postcard from Namibia: driving the new Toyota Hilux

The Toyota Hilux is our second best-selling global model (behind the Corolla) and ahead of the first UK customers taking delivery of the eighth-generation model in July we took some of the UK’s press on a very special test drive on beaches, sand dunes, deserts and mountains in Namibia.

Our adventure started at Swakopmund (near Walvis Bay) on the Atlantic coast and the trip consisted of a two-day drive to the Namibian capital, Windhoek.

The journey would first take us to our first overnight stop at Namibgrens camp, driving through the Namib desert over Spreetshoogte to Khomas Hoogvlake.

Day two would see some serious off-roading driving the hills of Namibgrens before taking the scenic route to Windhoek to reach our final destination, the Na’an ku se guest lodge. It provided the perfect opportunity for the media to put to the test our claims about the new tougher, stronger Hilux.

See also: 2016 Toyota Hilux reviews round-up

Toyota Hilux in Namibia

Our first sight of the Hilux in a line that greeted us at our start point, was eclipsed by the sun setting behind them below a dense wall of fog caused when the cold Benguela current meets the hot dry air from the Namib desert. It is called The Skeleton Coast for a good reason.  A quick photo on the beach and we were off to the dunes.

Skeleton Coast, Namibia

Arriving at the dunes, tyre pressures were reduced to make for better traction in the sand and off we went. The Hilux easily coped on the steep inclines switching to low gear and using the diff lock where applicable.

Toyota Hilux sand dunes

A guest appearance by the Dakar Hilux which achieved podium finishes in 2016 made for a great diversion.

Find out more about the 2016 Toyota Hilux

After the dunes we headed off through to the arid Namib desert, keeping a safe distance from the truck in front, the loose gravel and dirt roads proving no problem for the Hilux set to permanent four-wheel drive.

The following day the off-roading around Namibgrens was some of the most extreme encountered going up and down steep rocky hills, thorn bushes scraping the sides, and in a couple of areas spotters helped to guide us safely through very uneven terrain.

Toyota Hilux review 4

All made it through, however a puncture was inevitable on the sharp rocks and stones. An inflatable jack proving the best option when raising the pick-up on uneven ground.

Toyota Hilux puncture

The rest of the journey seemed a breeze through to Na’an ku se guest lodge, crossing the Tropic of Capricorn and through the capital city of Windhoek. We started to see the much greener landscape that surrounds the city and the lodge.

Tropic of Capricorn

Our tents for the night provided the perfect venue to listen to the variety of wildlife that visited the watering hole nearby.

Toyota Hilux in the bush

On the drive back to the airport we had the chance to reflect on the the different terrains and landscapes we had driven through: the misty Atlantic coast, the sculpted sand dunes, bleak desolation of the Namib desert, and rocky hills of Namibgrens. Each terrain presenting its own set of challenges but the Hilux proving more than able to tackle them, and more.

See also
2016 Toyota Hilux price and specification
2016 Toyota Hilux design explained
The Big Toyota Hilux quiz!


    1. Hi Greg. Why do you think that? The 2.4 is more efficient and more powerful than the engine it replaces. We’d love to hear some more detailed thoughts from you!

      1. Yes it is more powerful than the engine it replaces!
        When are you bringing out the replacement for the 3 litre???

      2. Hi there,
        Unfortunately, we have no information regarding future developments on the Hilux. We recommend keeping an eye on our social channels for any developments 🙂

  1. Sorry re Gregs comment , this isn’t going to go away the bigger version of the 2.4gd engine is widely available in australia ,NZ and other markets and maybe we should ask why they they have a 2.8 engine in the 4×4 versions , VW have just announced a V6 diesel amerock personaly I would rather push a toyota than drive a VW but lots of people who are looking at a pickup will be towing and doing motorway work and will be looking at the figures its hard to justify the small engine when there is a flat rate RFL in the uk so its not about tax I would guess toyota have tooled up to make the smaller engine and found most markets want the 2.8 and as we are getting this new hilux 6 monthes later than other markets they have pushed the less popular 2.4 into the uk…shame as it will hurt sales and lose existing customers to other brands , If its coming later best to say so people will wait or plan on buying a 2.4 and changing later … I also think there would be demand for the V6 petrol so come on guys lead the pack don’t follow …..

    1. Hi Finners,
      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.

  2. 3 months with the new Hilux !!! so far nothing has fallen off or made a strange noise , the suspension seems to have improved with use still firm but not as “crashy” , as it was when new!
    seems to be averaging around 35 MPG mix of urban, A roads and motorway so not bad, better than my old 2.5 ,
    Performance is ok seems a bit more peppy than the old one but its not going to win any races !! all the other makes are more powerful on paper ,but do you buy a pick up for performance ??
    I hate the lights there is no off position!! just Auto sidelights and headlights the headlights and rear lights are on in anything but really bright sunlight, some markets get the day time running lights and an off position why not the UK?? , as a work truck its a good no nonsense work horse( I have the extracab ) but If I was buying a leisure high end pick up Would not buy a hilux unless it got the bigger engine and a better spec …….

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