Gone is the V6 engine that powered some SR and SR5 variants, along with a number of manual gearbox options, replaced by more of the clear-favourite six-speed automatic transmission variants and the 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel engine.
In addition to the host of new options that are due to go on sale in October 6, Toyota is offering 4WD SR dual cab pick-up customers the option to upgrade with navigation and alloy wheels for $2000, which was previously only available in the top-shelf SR5.
It is the first update the Toyota Hilux has received since it took the title as Australia’s favourite vehicle following its introduction in eighth-generation form two years ago. With the deletion of V6 versions, the 2.7 naturally aspirated four-cylinder becomes the only petrol on offer.
Pricing will change minimally with the update including the range-topping automatic SR5 4WD dual cab, which increases $50 to $58,440, all SR 4WD dual cabs have increased by $70, while all other SR variants are now cheaper to the tune of $80.
The entry level manual 2.7-litre petrol 2WD WorkMate single cab price is unchanged at $20,990.
Three new Hi-Rider variants join the line-up in 4x2 auto form – the $40,910 Extra Cab 2.8L, $39,490 WorkMate 2.4L diesel and a $49,940 SR5 2.8L. The Hi-Rider options offer the boosted ground-clearance of a 4x4 Hilux but with a lighter rear-drive transmission.
Towards the top of the range, a pair of SR+ specification options are on offer with 4x4 transmissions and dual cab bodies priced from $48,560 for the manual or $50,560 for the equivalent auto.
The middle of the range is updated with three Extra Cab variants in a choice of WorkMate 2.4L auto or a 2.8L SR that is on offer in either manual or auto priced from $42,490, $42,910 and $44,910 respectively.
An Extra Cab pick-up SR5 with 2.8L diesel is the most expensive addition at $54,440, while an auto WorkMate 2.4L dual cab, cab chassis rounds out the 10 new arrivals at $44,490.
The small price increases for some variants are accounted for by the addition of downhill assist control and hose-out PVC flooring in SR 4WD dual cab Hilux variants, LED foglights for SR5s and rear air vents and tailgate locks for SR and SR5 versions where applicable.
Toyota Australia sales and marketing executive director Tony Cramb explained the changes were in response to the first two years of Hilux sales and a clear customer preference toward more efficient and torquey diesels, automatic over manual, and a new demand for a generous ground clearance without hardcore off-road ability.
“All the new variants have been introduced for specific reasons; for example, SR buyers have told us they would prefer the durability and convenience of a PVC floor covering rather than carpet,” he said. “We have reintroduced a 4x4 WorkMate double cab-chassis for those who want a value-for-money vehicle that gives them the flexibility to add a purpose-built tray that suits their needs.
“For similar reasons, we have brought back the SR extra cab-chassis in manual guise, which was available with the previous generation, and - for the first time - added an automatic version.”
Unlike many other models in the Australian market, there is still a significant demand for manual Hilux variants and the line-up continues to include 14 options for those who like their one-tonner to be self-serve.
“It is clear that Hilux buyers increasingly want the convenience of an automatic transmission, so we now offer 17 self-shifters compared with 12 previously,” said Cramb. “Last year - for the first time - automatics accounted for more than half of all Hilux sales and this year the proportion has risen to almost 60 percent and we expect it to increase further”.
According to Toyota, the V6 was a less feasible niche within the range representing less than 0.5 percent of sales.