There is no doubting Hilux’s ability to tackle the most extreme off-road conditions, its past exploits include conquering the North Pole, Antarctica and the slopes of an erupting volcano. But this go-anywhere capability has to be matched by on-road composure and comfort for everyday driving. The new Hilux reaps the benefits of suspension and steering revisions and the availability of a new, automatic limited-slip differential that improve its on-road ride and handling and its off-road controllability.
Its fundamental strength remains its body-on-frame construction, a design now rare in its segment. The ladder frame chassis is both highly durable and gives Hilux the torsional rigidity to deal with the most severe twisting forces when driving over rough terrain.
On-road comfort and drivability have been improved through changes to the suspension and power steering systems and retuning of the shock absorbers.
The rear suspension system comprises tough and durable leaf springs with twin shock absorbers, with performance revised to achieve SUV-like comfort and stability in on-road driving and a high level of off-road articulation capability.
The improved leaf spring design features a helper leaf contact point, with the main leaf extended by around six per cent, reduction of the vertical spring constant and optimised bushing. The rear shackle bush has a new self-lubricating rubber which reduces friction and makes the suspension stroke easier. The result is a smoother ride, with less impact when driving over steps and holes in the road surface.
The variable flow control power steering gives good steering feel and helps fuel economy, with lighter steering for easier manoeuvrability at low speeds and more weight at higher speeds for better control and driver confidence. When Hilux is being driven straight ahead, with no turning angle, the system enters a standby mode, which reduces steering pump torque and helps save fuel.
Hilux’s peerless off-road credentials have been enhanced with the addition of a new automatic electronic control which replicates the effect of a mechanical limited-slip differential to give better traction and acceleration on low-grip surfaces. The driver can activate the system with a brief press of the VSC-off switch when the vehicle is being driven in H2 two/rear-wheel drive mode. When a loss of grip is detected, it will brake the slipping wheel and direct drive torque to the opposite wheel that has traction. This new feature is in addition to the Active Traction Control, which operates when the vehicle is in L4 all-wheel drive. Hilux also provides Hill Start Assist Control to help negotiate uphill slopes and, on Icon grade models and above, Downhill Assist Control.
Further measures introduced for new Hilux include a lowering of the engine’s idling speed from 850 to 680rpm; accelerator response retuned for greater driver control; an update to the VSC performance; a dedicated Variable Flow Control map for appropriate steering effort; and a new tyre angle monitor.
Hilux’s design supports its impressive off-road capabilities, with a class-leading 310mm running ground clearance (Double Cab models), approach and departure angles of 29 and 26 degrees respectively and the ability to wade through water to a depth of 700mm.
The new Toyota Hilux is available to order now with customer deliveries from late November.