As usual Toyota NZ isn’t saying much pre-launch about the upgraded 2020 Hilux, other than it handles better, is tougher looking, and has more power and torque than the existing model.
The first official pictures here confirm one thing – the picture below, around which there was much conjecture after it appeared earlier on these pages, is most certainly that of the new-look Hilux. It was taken weeks ago from a brochure issued to Toyota dealers in the Middle East.
In describing the most significant Hilux upgrade, Toyota NZ’s press release departed from time-honoured Kiwi usage and – regrettably – borrowed from Dr Frankengrammar’s book of American words.
It says a more powerful engine sits under the “hood” of the 2020 Hilux. What happened to the bonnet? The “true Kiwi icon”, as Toyota calls Hilux, is at risk of being corrupted by Toyota itself.
What next? An ad campaign for Hilux where the driver is wearing a baseball cap backwards? Knockabout author Barry Crump, who as Hilux spruiker in a battered Kiwi farm hat created the icon myth, would have had none of it.
The four-cylinder, 2.8-litre turbo-diesel under the bonnet has been reworked to deliver 150kW/500Nm – up 20kW and 50Nm on the 130kW/450Nm output of the present ute. But the peak 500Nm is available only on automatic variants.
Toyota NZ’s chief operating officer Neeraj Lala says the design of the new Hilux takes its lead from the global Toyota truck family, models such as Tacoma and Tundra.
“The 2020 version comes with comprehensive safety technology and performance enhancements that make it even better – it is the most technologically advanced ute ever offered by Toyota,” he says.
Inside, the touchscreen for all variants is upgraded to an eight-inch display and the audio system includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Hilux range has four specification levels – Workmate, SR, SR5 and the range-topping SR5 Cruiser. The SR5 Cruiser is available in both 2WD and 4WD and is automatic only.
Both 2WD and 4WD options come in four body styles – single, extra, double cab and cab chassis. A 2.7-litre petrol engine powers the 2WD workmate.