Motor Mouth – by Gordon Hall
Motor Mouth: The legend continues: 2016 Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 Raider 4×4 Double-Cab
The question asked most often was: “Is this the latest Hilux?” Patiently, I assured everyone that it was indeed the newest version, even though at first glance it looked rather like the old one.
An informal side-by-side comparison revealed that: The back bumper, tail lights and tailgate latch are new; it stands noticeably higher (almost 60 mm); the fender extenders have gone; as has the air scoop on the bonnet; the upper grille bars are now chromed, the lower air intake is bigger, the headlamps have changed and the fog light surrounds are plainer. A dedicated fan or a Toyota salesperson could probably point out more.
Looking closely, you will see that the script along the front fenders now reads “2.8 GD-6” rather than D-4D. There are two reasons for that – new engines and new gearboxes.
GD stands for Global Diesel, Toyota’s new range of diesel engines in which a 2.8-litre unit replaces the outgoing 3.0 D-4D and a 2.4-litre supersedes the old 2.5. The 2.7-litre petrol engine gains four kW and 4 Nm while the 4.0-litre motor continues unchanged. The “6” indicates the number of gears.
Briefly, the new diesels develop more power and torque and run on lower compression ratios than the old ones did. Reduced compression means they run more quietly and produce lower levels of nitrous oxides. Interestingly, auto-transmission 2.8 versions receive a 30 Nm boost in torque over their manual twins. The 2.4 engines are paired only with manual ‘boxes.
Possibly more important is that the old four-speed automatic made way for a six-speed, electronically switched, torque converter unit. It’s not as snappy as a twin-clutch ‘box on a German sports saloon but, driven respectfully, it works well. A feature borrowed from fancier transmissions is that, when coasting downhill and you tap the brake to rein in some speed, it politely downshifts to hold a more suitable ratio. When you accelerate again, it shifts back up.
The six-speed manual ‘box on upper levels is also new and is called Intelligent Manual Transmission (IMT). Its particular forte is electronic synchronising of engine and gear speeds to make shifting smoother.
The inside is noticeably more modern with new seats (better support and comfort, with upscale materials), more space, new controls and dash, a big touch-screen controller, with logical tabs, on upper grade models and some new switchgear.
Most noticeable is that the old range selector has gone, replaced by a rotary controller marked 2H, 4H and 4L. Purists may grumble, but those who have driven other makes will say: “About time.”
As usual with electronic selection one can shift between 2H and 4H, on the fly, up to about 50 km/h. To get into 4×4 Low Range you stop, select Neutral, turn the dial to 4L and wait for the graphic to appear on-screen. As these things happen, you might occasionally need to nudge forward slightly to get the gears meshing properly – just as it was with the stick.
Also new is a pair of driving mode tabs marked Eco and Sport. They alter engine and gearbox responses to make things more relaxed for fuel economy or more vigorous for quicker driving. I didn’t find that either mode made any real difference so I stopped using them.
Then there’s steering wheel reach adjustment for upper models, hill hold and a reversing camera. Borrowed from Grandma’s little J*zz are rear seat cushions that flip up to accommodate taller loads; like Alibaba pots or plants from the nursery.
The new vehicles’ structure is stiffer, thanks to stronger metals and additional welds, while the suspension was reworked for greater comfort and drivability. It’s better over rough surfaces than was the case a few years ago and it seemed more comfortable and stable than the Fortuner tested a week earlier. That car uses sophisticated multiple links and coil springs, rather than simple track rods and semi-elliptics, to control its rear axle.
I put the Hilux through my standard test routine of city use, rocky trails and dirt, some fairly aggressive country road driving with twists and bends (lots of third and fourth gear work) and a gentle amble down the 100 km/h freeway to wave ‘hello’ to the traffic cop behind her radar gun.
Apart from handling a lot more cleanly through the bends than some fancy SUVs I’ve driven, average fuel consumption worked out to about 9.9 l/100. Considering this is a fairly big engine in 2.1 tons of body, and connected to an automatic ‘box, it did rather well.
So, to answer everyone’s question: Yes, it is the latest one.
Price: R559 400; Engine: 2755 cc, DOHC, 16-valve, four cylinder turbodiesel;
Power: 130 kW at 3400 rpm; Torque: 450 Nm between 1600 and 2400 rpm;
Zero to 100 km/h: 9.5 seconds; Maximum speed: 185 km/h; Real life fuel consumption: About 9.9 l/100 km;
Tank: 80 litres; Tare: 2100 kg; GVM: 2910 kg; GCM: 5850 kg; Maximum towing mass (braked): 3500 kg;
Ground clearance: 286 mm; Approach and departure angles: 30 and 26 degrees; Wading depth: 700 mm;
Warranty: 3 years / 100 000 km; Service plan: 5 years / 90 000 km, at 10 000 km intervals.
Test unit from Toyota SA press fleet: