The people’s car: Toyota Hilux continues its reign as South Africa’s most wanted new vehicle


They say while some are destined to be great, others were born great; the latter certainly applies to the Toyota Hilux. From its humble beginnings as a small 1.5-litre pick-up, to its conquering of the South African market annually since 1998, there is no doubt that removing it from the top spot on the charts has just become impossible.

With over 31 000 units having left dealership floors during the first 10 months of 2014, and having last tested a Hilux in 2013, I was more than excited when presented with the keys of what is likely to be the volume seller in the range, a 3.0 D4-D Double Cab Raider 4x2.

Having benefitted from a mid-life facelift in 2012, possibly its last with an all-new model scheduled for early 2016, it still remains instantly recognisable as a Hilux with our Silky Gold coloured test model also benefiting from the fitment of an optional chrome nudge bar, chrome plated grille and rear bumper, side steps, rollbar, tonneau cover and the trademark air scoop on the bonnet.

Less subtle than its exterior upgrades, the interior of the Hilux was subjected to the biggest makeover with fitment of a touchscreen infotainment system which also incorporates a reverse camera. Unchanged has been the choice of interior trim which feels solid and rugged.

Motive power continues to be provided by Toyota’s trusty 3.0-litre D4-D turbodiesel engine which produces 120 kW and 343 N.m of torque, and is connected to a five-speed manual gearbox with drive going to the rear wheels. Combined fuel consumption is a claimed 8.6 L/100 km and top speed of 170 km/h.

Despite being of the long throw kind, the meaty transmission setup and torquey engine made for easy cruising around town with the usual diesel clatter settling down on the open road and only coming to fore when exercising your right toe a bit.

My short stint spent behind the wheel of the Hilux has highlighted the reasons why more than 2 500 units continue to leave dealership floors across South Africa each month. Its rugged, has more than enough luxuries, remains compliment on and off-road, is known for its bullet proof reliability and resale value, and gives its future owner the assurance of having a showroom and service centre in even the smallest of towns across the country.

To experience what has made the Toyota Hilux South Africa’s best seller, visit Algoa Toyota Newton Park at 347 Cape Road, Port Elizabeth, or contact them on 041 393 2000.