It’s no secret that a new Toyota HiLux is headed to this market. Already near unassailable as top-dog in the segment, the new HiLux is going to add even more heat to the red-hot light-commercial ute market.
But LCV buyers are now a different breed. Even ‘tradies’ are looking for conventional comforts in their workhorse vehicles, and for many, the twin-cab ute doubles as a family workhorse.
There are also the family buyers; those who once may have bought a large sedan or wagon, but who now buy an equally large four-door, but with a ute tub in the back. They buy them for their practicality, ‘get away from it all’ capability, and SUV-type driving position.
All of this is well known to Toyota Australia, who understands the segment better than most.
It’s the recognition of the family buyer that sees the inclusion in the new HiLux double-cabs of two top-tether anchors and ISOFIX child-seat attachment points for the rear seat .
The new model for Australia is coming with what Toyota describes as an “SUV-like cabin (with) a more comfortable driving position, increased front head and shoulder room, an expanded range for seat-height adjustment, and tilt-and-telescopic steering”.
Entry-level WorkMate variants will come with black fabric seat trim instead of vinyl, while SR and SR5 models feature carpeted floors and higher-grade trim materials. (Power-operated leather-accented front seats are also available as a cost option on SR5 turbo-diesel 4×4 double-cabs.)
The rear seat in double-cab SR and SR5 variants split-folds 60/40 with a stowable armrest; these varaints also come an air-conditioned box capable of heating or cooling two 600ml bottles.
Every HiLux 4×4 comes with an electronic transfer-case, operated via rotary dial, and SR and SR5 models come equipped with a rear differential-lock.
Expanded Feature List
Interior features across the range include air-conditioning, cruise control, headlamp levelling, 12-volt accessory socket, intermittent wipers, a centre console box and power operated windows, mirrors and door locks.
As earlier images have shown, there will also be a tablet-style touchscreen central to the dash, a multi-function steering wheel, and smartphone connect with voice recognition.
The standard audio system includes AM/FM radio, CD player, auxiliary/USB input+, Bluetooth®. The mid-range SR picks up a four-speaker system in extra cabs and six-speakers in double cabs.
The double cab SR5 variants get a seven-inch touchscreen (up from 6.1-inch) and ‘Toyota Link connected mobility’, Pandora, DAB digital audio and satellite navigation (and access to ‘Destination Assist’ to connect to an operator for navigation assistance.
SR5 models also get a 4.2-inch full-colour display on the instrument panel in front of the driver, keyless entry and start as well as a 220V connector (for a camping refrigerator) and a second 12V socket.
Standard-Fit Reverse Camera
Importantly, and recognition that many of these cars are used as ‘the family car’, all utes – twin-cab and single cab – come with a reverse camera as standard. (An accessory camera is available for cab-chassis buyers.)
This is key safety feature for vehicles of this type – one, we think, should be mandated given the incidence of death and injury to toddlers and young children in driveways.
Seat-belt reminders are also fitted standard to front seats in all variants and for rear seats on double cabs. Other safety features include seven airbags, stability and traction control, anti-skid brakes and an emergency stop signal.
On Sale October
The next-gen HiLux range goes on sale in Australia from early October. There will be a choice of no less than 31 variants, two new turbo-diesel engines, two petrol engines, three transmissions, 4×2 and 4×4 drive, three body styles and three equipment levels.
Toyota Australia’s executive director, sales and marketing, Tony Cramb, said, “Even workers in tough industries like mining, building and farming want the space, ergonomics, technology and ride comfort of the new HiLux interiors – and so do their families.”
With the new Ranger just weeks away, and with improved new-generation Triton and Navara now on sale, the arrival of the new HiLux will really set the LCV market alight.
The winners, with such competition in this booming sector, will be buyers.