By Steve & Tamami Laser with Nahoko Osuka reporting from Japan
Do you remember the Toyota Hilux? Among the original wave of compact Japanese pickups, Toyota sold the Hilux in the U.S from 1969 until 1974 when the name was changed to the easier to remember “Toyota Truck.” While Toyota’s current Tacoma is a midsize pickup, the compact Hilux has continued to be built and sold in other countries where a smaller size truck is preferred. Since its global launch in 1968, more than 16 million have been sold in more than 180 countries.
One of the biggest markets for the Hilux is Thailand, where the Hilux remains a top-seller and is locally produced. To celebrate the launch of the eighth generation Hilux, Toyota Motor Thailand went somewhere that it’s never gone before: Space. We’re not kidding. Take a look at the launch video below.
Did you know there’s a Toyota factory in space? This commercial spot from Toyota Thailand plays up the “revolutionary” aspects of the new Hilux in a big way. (video: Toyota Motor Thailand)
The new Hilux has been renamed “Hilux Revo” for the Thai market. According to the company’s press release (our Thai language skills are minimal so we used an on-line translator), Revo stands for:
- The power of Revolution in strength with a new common rail diesel engine, increased efficiency of combustion, maximum torque and acceleration.
- Stability of Revolution with new suspension control system Dynamic Control Suspension.
- Revolution of Control with an intelligent 6-speed gearbox that helps performance while conserving fuel.
- Revolution of Styling with a new design that shapes the future of pickups with a strong and stunning look.
- Comfort of Revolution with a large and spacious cabin fully equipped with amenities.
The Hilux is sold in Australia, Central and South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Will it ever return to the U.S.? That doesn’t appear to be in the game plan since the Tacoma continues to sell so well. Yet it would be great to see a smaller pickup – maybe badged as a Scion? That’s an idea that perhaps is too revolutionary to consider for now.
Toyota Motor Corp. in Japan issued its own Hilux press release (in English), so we have more information to share about the development of the new truck:
Eight Generations in, the Toyota Hilux is Redefining “Tough”
A complete redesign of one of the world’s best-known and best-loved nameplates, the Toyota Hilux pickup, was unveiled in Bangkok today, marking the start of sales of the new model in the Thai market.
Since the Hilux first hit dealerships in 1968, over 16 million have been sold in more than 180 countries and regions. Over its seven-generation history, the quality, durability and reliability of the Hilux have earned the model a diehard fanbase and a legendary reputation. Simply put, everyone knows the Hilux is tough.
But what does “tough” really mean? That’s the question we at Toyota asked ourselves when faced with the challenge of creating the eighth-generation Hilux.
We realized that toughness doesn’t just come from the vehicle; it comes from the people inside. Whether you’re battling your way up a muddy track or stuck in traffic, reducing the stress of driving is just as important as withstanding the elements. That’s why the new Hilux, while improving on the model’s characteristic ruggedness and performance, redefines toughness by being more occupant-focused and easier to drive than ever before.
To truly understand what our customers expect from us and the challenges they face on a daily basis, our development teams travel the globe, getting direct feedback from customers and driving on a wide variety of different roads to get a feel for different usage conditions. To gain inspiration for the eighth-generation Hilux, the development team drove in conditions ranging from rough, muddy forests to deserts with temperatures exceeding 50°C and flooded roads in the rainy season. Sometimes they came up against even harsher conditions than expected, which brought home the need to develop an even tougher Hilux.
The development process also reflected invaluable feedback received directly from Hilux drivers. Some wished they could make long transcontinental trips without worrying about running out of fuel. Others described how hard it is to stay alert and drive safely during grueling long-distance journeys with extended stretches of rough driving. Yet another, who uses their Hilux for forest maintenance work and frequently speaks via radio with the police and fire department, explained how a quiet cabin is essential for communication.
This led the development team to conclude that the new Hilux should not only be tougher but should also reduce stress as much as possible. Above and beyond conventional ideas of toughness, the eighth-generation Hilux boasts ride comfort that makes long, tough drives less grueling, a quiet cabin that allows communication in any conditions, and enhanced cruising range thanks to improved fuel efficiency.
As explained by Hiroki Nakajima, the executive chief engineer behind the Hilux (and also a managing officer of Toyota Motor Corporation): “Our entire development concept was centered on ‘redefining toughness’. We aimed to make the new Hilux ‘tougher’ based on a much broader interpretation of that word. The message we want to deliver to our customers is embodied in our slogan for the vehicle: ‘A New Era for Pickup. Every Inch a Hilux.'”
The Hilux pioneers a “new era” of easy-to-drive, stress-free toughness. At the same time, the truck is “every inch a Hilux”, and can be relied on to provide the legendary ruggedness, performance, responsiveness and safety expected from the model.
- Improved comfort, ruggedness and safety due to enlarged side rail cross-section
- Enhanced off-road performance and comfort thanks to the upgraded leaf spring suspension and shock absorbers
- Three types of suspension specification to suit driving conditions all around the world:
- Standard (suited to all road conditions the world over);
- Heavy duty (for heavy loads); and
- Comfort (the specification of the vehicle at today’s launch in Thailand; mainly for driving on paved roads)
- Excellent torque in all rev ranges, with significantly improved torque at low speed thanks to the newly developed diesel engines
- Extended cruising distance enabled by improved fuel efficiency
- Reduced engine noise
- Balanced torque and fuel efficiency due to newly developed six-speed automatic transmission with more steps and optimized gear ratio to maximize engine performance
- Reduced maintenance and repair time, thanks to enhanced serviceability around the new engine
- Tough yet refined appearance achieved by contrasting the front panel with its sturdy bumper section and the integrated look of the slender upper grille and LED headlamps
- Refinement and sensitivity not usually found in a truck thanks to strong, dynamic body side wheel flares, attractively integrated with the overall body
- Stylish instrument panel featuring a unified design aesthetic and free use of metallic decoration, giving a strong yet refined appearance
- Cutting-edge, luxurious features, including audio system with electrostatic multi-touch control panel, 4WD changeover switch and luxury seats
News source, photos and video from Toyota Motor Thailand and Toyota Motor Corp. Newsroom Japan
Story ©2015 CarNichiWa.com