More power for Toyota Hilux: one of NZ's most popular utes set for upgrade
Search Driven for Toyota Hilux for sale
Barring the likes of the SsangYong Rhino and Mitsubishi Triton, most of the double-cab utes on sale in New Zealand currently have been without any major updates in years.
The Toyota Hilux, one of the segment's heaviest hitters in Australia and New Zealand, is set to be the first to blink later this year. It's been reported over the ditch that the Hilux is set for its biggest update since the eighth generation debuted in 2015.
The update, as reported by Australian publication Car Advice, will include the addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to its infotainment system, on top of the 'Safety Sense' safety upgrade that was rolled out recently. Other updates include reported changes to the Hilux's front fascia. But, neither of these things represents the biggest change.
No, the biggest change that's supposedly on its way this year are revisions to the Hilux's 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine.
While it's known as a faithful workhorse when compared to its peers, the 2.8 attracted criticism last year when it was at the centre of a legal action over faulty diesel particulate filters. Its claimed that changes to improve these shortcomings have meant other benefits for the revised 2.8-litre.
Namely, it's expected to be given an injection of additional power. It's not known exactly how substantial that power boost will be (indeed, Toyota Australia hasn't confirmed any of the speculation), but it's understood to be a result of the decision for Toyota's 2.8-litre to be used in the next-gen Land Cruiser. Currently, the ubiquitous engine makes 130kW of power at 3400rpm and 450Nm at 1650rpm-2400rpm.
There's no word on the likelihood of a hybrid powertrain coming along, despite rumours that one is potentially on the cusp of joining the Hilux range in other markets.
Now, according to reports, dealers in Australia have been told that the new and improved Hilux will land in July or August. However, with all the developments around Coronavirus it's safe to speculate that those dates will have gone out the window. Driven has contacted Toyota New Zealand for comment, both on the Hilux and the impacts of Coronavirus, and the firm declined to comment.
Regardless, it's a good time for the Hilux to get some form of update to keep fresh. We saw last year what a comprehensive update can do for a ute in watching the steady rise of the Mitsubishi Triton. Add to this that both the Isuzu D-Max and Ford Ranger are getting all-new models next year, and it's clear that the ute segment is only going to continue being a market juggernaut.