Drive Review: Toyota Hilux (2016) 2.8 GD-6

Legends aren’t merely born; they are forged over time by conquering challenges and inspiring others. It’s no wonder then that the Toyota Hilux has earned its legendary status thanks to over 45 years of motoring toughness.

NewToyota Hilux reviewed in SA

NewToyota Hilux reviewed in SA

But Toyota has recently embarked on its latest challenge, the launch of the all-new 2016 Toyota Hilux and trying to retain its title as the ultimate bakkie in South Africa, at a time when the competition is at its most challenging. This, is the stuff of legends.

So the next logical question is: is the new Hilux the undisputed king once again? Well, at a quick glance of the recently released NAMSA figures are anything to go by, the Hilux has reclaimed the top of the sales chart by pipping its closest rival and worthy challenger – the Ford Ranger.

The Ranger has developed a following in recent years thanks to its manliness and aggressive design. However, the sheer heritage that is attached to the Hilux nameplate is enough for any Toyota fan.

Toyota Hilux 2016 (2)

Yes, the new Toyota bakkie may not have the rugged good looks of the Ranger, but the Japanese have still done a great job of combining soft and aggressive lines to give the Hilux an attractive profile.

Moving inside, and the legend has come a long way. The sharp design lines and silver strips hint towards the premium feel and characteristics found in the upmarket Lexus line-up.

The cabin is cosy but still bakkie in its attitude and space optimised by clever repackaging. The soft seats and high driving position is complemented by the new high-tech 4.2-inch floating touch screen audio system which is easy to use with its flick operation.With a strong shift towards a carlike look and feel, Toyota has managed to capture this essence with the innovative design and user friendliness.

Toyota Hilux 2016 (5)

During a 600km journey we found comfort in the Hilux’s ride quality with reduced noise and vibration fed back into the cabin. The reworked chassis (stiffer in key areas for 20% improvement in torsional rigidity) delivers a smooth drive and the host of technological features merely add to the everyday usability of the Toyota. There is a sense of comfort in knowing that should you want to hit the road less travelled, you’re almost certain to come across a Toyota dealership, should any mishaps occur.

Niceties like the Active Traction Control System (A-TRC) helps to keep the bakkie feeling planted and composed. The Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Assist Control (DAC) allows you to enjoy off-road adventures and tackling the dusty dunes.

Housed beneath the huge Toyota Hilux bonnet is the all-new 2.8-litre GD-6 diesel cauldron. It’s certainly the pick of the bunch as we see a strong shift away from thirsty petrol engines.

Equipped with 130kW and 450Nm, this GD-6 engine pulls well and is more than adequate to get the big sumo bakkie moving.


The auto gearbox is smooth, but at times it is slightly reluctant to shift gears. However, the auto derivative is still the transmission of choice even though Toyota has made big strides with the manual’s rev-matching technology.

Claimed figures are around 8.5 litres/100km, and we didn’t try to replicate these figures by any means as the Hilux has a nice tempo between power and economy, we managed to return a figure of 9.8 litres/100km, while testing the full rev range and power output on all-terrains, including the loose sandy stuff.

I must say, the Toyota Hilux arrived on our shores after much hype and fanfare, and to be honest a long enough wait. But Toyota has wasted no time racking up the sales, with the new generation Hilux following on from the Legend. It doesn’t matter what’s written or said about the Hilux, the figures speak for itself. This is a bakkie built in South Africa, for South Africans and they have obviously gotten it right again.

The legend is here and better than ever.

Base Price R377 900
Engine Capacity 2 775 cm³
No. Of Cylinders 4-cylinders
Aspiration Turbo
Power 130kW at 3 400 r/min
Torque 450Nm at 2 400 r/min
Transmission 6-speed Automatic
Drive type Rear
CO2 Emissions 210g/km




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