The long wait is over – Toyota has released an all-new version of its immensely popular Hilux truck for the 2016 model year. The new eighth-generation truck carries a completely new exterior design that looks more upscale than the seventh generation, including plenty of chrome accents, LED-encrusted headlights, and a more cohesive overall design. The updates are far more drastic within the Hilux, as the truck now features a more refined cabin with a dashboard that hints at inspiration from the U.S.-spec Corolla. Toyota is offering a wide selection of powertrains, though choices will be limited for each market. The truck also gets a pair of new transmissions, with the manual gearbox offering active rev matching like the Corvette’s seven-speed manual. This makes the Hilux the first truck application for such technology.

The pickup truck is said to still carry all the rugged reliability that makes a Hilux a Hilux, while adding more creature comforts and interior refinements. That should bode well with truck folks in the 180 countries the Hilux calls home. Despite the new creature comforts, Toyota says the Hilux is still as rugged as ever and ready to handle what customers throw at it. More than 16 million Hilux trucks have been sold since its introduction in 1968, so undoubtedly Toyota is doing something right, and this new-gen model should help keep the ball rolling for a few more years.

With that said, check out our full review below to learn everything there is to know about Toyota’s new Hilux pickup truck.

UPDATE: 05/21/2015 Toyota has just unveiled the all-new 2016 Hilux pickup truck.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2016 Toyota Hilux.

  • Year:
    2016
  • 0-60 time:
    9.5 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    115 mph (Est.)
  • Layout:
    Front Engine; 2WD, 4WD
  • Price:
    18000 (Est.)
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

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The all-new 2016 Hilux continues Toyota’s tradition of the high-riding, utilitarian pickup. The Hilux offers superb approach and departure angles thanks to its long wheelbase and short overhangs. Of course, the truck comes in several trim levels, cab configurations and bed lengths. Like in America, the crew cab, short box configuration is catching on as it appeals to those needing their truck to double as a daily driver.

Like before, the Hilux offers the chrome roll bar at the front of the bed, though sadly it’s just for appearances. Also optional is the big block TOYOTA lettering across the tailgate. Marty McFly would lust.

Exterior Dimensions

Length 5,335 MM (210.03 Inches)
Width 1,855 MM (73.03 Inches)
Height 1,820 MM (71.65 Inches)
Wheelbase 3,085 MM (121.45 Inches)

Interior

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As much as the outside has improved, the interior is where the big changes have happened. The dashboard looks remotely related to the current Corolla with its thin, horizontal shape, though it isn’t a direct copy. Brushed aluminum trim brightens up the black cabin, as does unique stitching on the seat cushions. The steering wheel gets plenty of controls and the gauge cluster is easy to read and is free of clutter.

Sparking interest is the swanky infotainment screen with its haptic feedback buttons. Save for the CD/DVD slot up top, it looks like a tablet PC. Below the main screen are the HVAC controls. They appear easy to use with two knobs for fan speed and temperature, with simple buttons for the main functions. Further below is a bank of switches that would fill up with options ordered. Opt for the 4WD and it comes with an electronic rotary switch. And like before, the Hilux offers an electronic locking rear differential for getting through the tough stuff.

Drivetrain

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The 2016 Hilux will come with four engine options; two turbodiesel and two naturally aspirated gasoline mills. Up first is the 2.8-liter turbodiesel that makes 174 horsepower and 331 pound-feet of torque. For those wanting a smaller diesel, there is the 2.4-liter turbodiesel that makes 160 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque.

The gasoline engines comprise of a 2.7-liter four-cylinder that makes 164 horsepower and the familiar 4.0-liter V-6 cranking out 278 horsepower.

Backing the engines is a pair of transmissions. The standard transmission is a six-speed manual transmission that also includes the world’s first, truck-based rev matching technology Toyota has branded the transmission the i-MT. Also available is a six-speed automatic transmission.

Toyota says the powertrain combinations now offer better fuel economy and therefore greater driving range – an apparent request from customers. Also improved is NVH with a concentration on reduced engine noise in the cabin.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 1GD (diesel)
Displacement 2,755 cc
Maximum output 174 HP @ 3,400 RPM
Maximum torque 331 LB-FT @ 1,600-2,400 RPM
Transmission 6-sppeed automatic

Frame and Suspension

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Underpinning the new Hilux is an all-new frame that features fully boxed rails and larger cross members. Engineers updated the suspension by upgrading the shock absorbers up front and enhancing the leaf spring setup out back. Toyota says this gives the Hilux greater abilities off road while making its on-road feel even better.

Prices

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Toyota has not yet announced pricing at this point, but says that and other information will be available closer to the truck’s launch during the first quarter of 2016.

Competitors

2015 Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon

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General Motors is rolling out an all-new midsize truck for the U.S. market, sold as the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. Both will feature extended and crew cab configurations with long and short beds to accompany. The trucks’ interiors are much improved over the last Colorado/Canyon twins GM produced, and will have more interior space for people and stuff.

The Chevy and GMC will come with a base, 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine and a 3.6-liter V-6. A year after their initial launch, GM will release a 2.8-liter, I-4, Duramax turbo-diesel that promises to make respectable horsepower and torque numbers, as well as class-leading fuel economy ratings.

The twins will be released starting in the fourth quarter of 2014 as 2015 models. Pricing starts at $20,995 for the base model Chevy and rises past the $35,000 mark for a fully loaded example.

Nissan Navara

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The Nissan NP300 Navara has been doing work in other parts of the world for years, and for 2015, Nissan is giving it a rather extensive refresh. Now we cannot be certain Nissan will bring the Navara to the U.S. as the next generation Frontier, but the possibility is there nonetheless. What that means for U.S. truck buyers is a more spacious, better-equipped midsize Nissan truck that more squarely competes with the likes of GM and Toyota.

The global version of the truck will come with two powertrain options. Starting off the lineup it a 2.5-liter, I-4, gasoline engine and at the top is a turbo-diesel engine displacing the same amount. Nissan has released the specs for the diesel, listing it as making 188 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of torque. While Nissan would be wise to offer the diesel in the States to compete with the 2.8-liter Duramax, it’s unknown if Nissan’s oil-burner will pass U.S. emissions testing.

Pricing is still up in the air but expect it to fall in the same vicinity as its competition.

Conclusion

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The Hilux is certainly a popular truck with over 16 million of them sold to date. With its strengthening, updating, refining, and rethinking, Toyota is sure to sell millions more. The appeal of the Hilux can be seen throughout Europe, Africa, and South America, but is almost an epidemic in Australia where farmers, rancher, and off-roaders value the truck for its ruggedness.

Thankfully Toyota has scratched America’s itch for the Hilux with its newly released 2016 Tacoma. Built to compete against the Chevy Colorado and upcoming Nissan Frontier, the Tacoma offers plenty of Hilux-like features but with a more American twist. And that’s just fine.

  • Leave it
    • Sold almost everywhere but the U.S.
    • Too nice to get dirty?

Spy Shots

September 12, 2014 - First testing session

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Truck Finder:

Competing Vehicles

Press Release

The eighth-generation Toyota Hilux was officially unveiled in Bangkok today, marking the start of sales of the all-new model in Thailand …and it’s certainly been worth the wait.

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One of the world’s best-known and best-loved nameplates, Hilux first hit dealerships in 1968, selling over 16 million in more than 180 countries. This year we will celebrate a million units sold in South Africa alone.

Completely re-designed from the inside out the all-new Hilux ushers in a radically luxurious interior wrapped in a sophisticated, chiseled new body, offering exceptional on-road performance and new technologies while remaining true to its core values of uncompromising off-road ability and, of course, legendary toughness.

But what does “tough” really mean? That’s the question we at Toyota asked ourselves when faced with the mammoth task of creating the eighth-generation Hilux.

We realised that toughness doesn’t just come from the vehicle; it comes from the people inside. Whether you’re battling your way up a muddy track or negotiating the rigours of the urban jungle, reducing the stress of driving is just as important as withstanding the elements. That’s why the new Hilux, while improving on the model’s characteristic ruggedness and performance, redefines toughness by being more occupant-focused and easier to drive than ever before.

To truly understand what our customers expect from us and the challenges they face on a daily basis, our development teams travelled the globe from Caracas to Kommetjie, getting direct feedback from customers and driving on a wide variety of different roads to get a feel for different usage conditions. To gain inspiration for the eighth-generation Hilux, the development team drove in conditions ranging from rough, muddy forests to deserts with temperatures exceeding 50°C and flooded roads in the rainy season. Sometimes they came up against even harsher conditions than expected, which brought home the need to develop an even tougher Hilux.

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The development process also reflected invaluable feedback received directly from Hilux drivers. Some wished they could make long transcontinental trips without worrying about running out of fuel. Others described how hard it is to stay alert and drive safely during grueling long-distance journeys with extended stretches of rough driving. Yet another, who uses their Hilux for forest maintenance work and frequently speaks via radio with the police and fire department, explained how a quiet cabin is essential for communication.

This led the development team to conclude that the new Hilux should not only be tougher but should also reduce stress as much as possible. Above and beyond conventional ideas of toughness, the eighth-generation Hilux boasts ride comfort that makes long, tough drives less gruelling, a quiet cabin that allows communication in any conditions, and enhanced cruising range thanks to improved fuel efficiency.

To summarise, as with the current generation, Toyota’s QDR (Quality, Durability and Reliability) still forms the backbone of the new Hilux. Fit-for-purpose is a term that aptly describes the newcomer – whether your application is leisure, workhorse, farming or general purpose, there’s a Hilux for you.

While all new, the eighth-generation Hilux will build on the current model’s success story in terms of resale value and sheer desirability. Don’t forget that the Hilux was the number one selling vehicle as well as the number one “bakkie” in South Africa in 2014. Into 2015, the current model continues to chart at the top of the bestseller list and it’s worth noting why. The seventh generation has been refined over the years and now offers a high standard of refinement coupled with exceptional value for money. It is still very much a competent package and will continue to remain a very relevant player in this market right up until the arrival of its successor.

As explained by Hiroki Nakajima, the executive chief engineer behind the Hilux (and also a managing officer of Toyota Motor Corporation): "Our entire development concept was centered on ‘redefining toughness’. We aimed to make the new Hilux ‘tougher’ based on a much broader interpretation of that word. The message we want to deliver to our customers is embodied in our slogan for the vehicle: ‘A New Era for Pickup. Every Inch a Hilux.’”

This is echoed by Calvyn Hamman, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Toyota SA: “It’s instantly recognisable as a Hilux, it feels like a Hilux, it drives like a Hilux– only better. Successfully melding innovation, sophistication and extrovert design with fanatical reliability, the all-new Hilux will be the benchmark. The Legend is set to continue.”

Main features

Newly developed frame and suspension:

To achieve both greater capability and unprecedented driving stability, an all-new rigid frame with enlarged side sections and cross members that are larger and thicker have been created.

2016 Toyota Hilux - image 631022

Enhanced off-road performance and comfort thanks to the upgraded leaf spring suspension and shock absorbers.

Suspension tuning was also optimised.

Newly developed engines and transmissions:

Excellent torque in all rev ranges, with significantly improved torque at low speed thanks to the newly developed 2.4- and 2.8-litre diesel engines.

Extended cruising distance enabled by improved fuel efficiency.

Reduced engine noise.

Balanced torque and fuel efficiency due to newly developed six-speed automatic transmissions with more steps and optimised gear ratios to maximise engine performance.

World-first (for a pick-up) – Intelligent Manual Transmission or i-MT supports smooth shifting with rev matching technology.

Serviceability/maintenance:

Reduced maintenance and repair time, thanks to enhanced serviceability around the new engine.

Tough yet emotional design

Exterior

Tough yet refined appearance achieved by contrasting the front panel with its sturdy bumper section and the integrated look of the slender upper grille and LED headlamps. It will also appeal to those considering a “bakkie” for the first time, or as an alternative to an SUV or passenger car.

Refinement and sensitivity not usually found in a pick-up thanks to strong, dynamic body side wheel flares, attractively integrated with the overall body.

Interior

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Stylish instrument panel featuring a unified design aesthetic and free use of metallic decoration, giving a strong yet refined appearance.

Cutting-edge, luxurious features, including audio system with electrostatic multi-touch control panel, electronic 4WD changeover switch and luxury seats.

Please note that the all-new Hilux launches in South Africa during the first quarter of 2016. Full local range and specs will be disclosed closer to launch timing.

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