THE covers have officially been lifted on the 2020 Toyota Hilux, with the upgraded model going straight after its arch-rival, the Ford Ranger, with a significant hike in power, retuned suspension and improved towing capacity.
The Hilux has battled the Ford Ranger for superiority in the dual-cab ute sales race over the last two years, with the two sides coming within a handful of sales of each other month to month.
The Ranger is also due for an overhaul in 2021, but it will be far more comprehensive than that for the relatively simple Hilux model line.
More power and torque for Hilux 2.8-litre engine
The venerable 2.8-litre engine that powers the best-selling 4x4 (year-to-date) has been beefed up to deliver 150kW/500Nm (six-speed auto), up from the outgoing model's 130kW and 450Nm.
Toyota Australia puts this growth down to "multiple new components and enhanced cooling".
Though no details were offered, the updates will also likely include a permanent fix for the troublesome diesel particulate filter issues that have plagued the HiLux, which have resulted in a class action against Toyota in Australian courts.
In addition to more power, six-speed automatic Hilux variants now boast an increased towing capacity, now matching the six-speed manual variants with a maximum rating of 3500kg (up by 500kg).
For comparison's sake, the Ranger delivers 147kW/470Nm in five-cylinder 3.2-litre guise, and 157kW/500Nm from its twin-turbo four-cylinder 2.0-litre diesel engine.
Suspension and traction control updates for Hilux
Toyota has also added an additional traction control function to 4x4 models equipped with downhill-assist control, which reroutes torque in 2WD mode to provide more grip.
Updates to the vehicle's suspension layout include revised shock-absorber tuning all round, new bushings and an improved leaf-spring design, which will be aimed at improving the Hilux's low-speed and unladen ride quality.
Apple CarPlay now available for Hilux
On the multimedia front, the entire Hilux range comes with an eight-inch display screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
A 4.2-inch display in the instrument binnacle finally adds a digital speed readout, among other new functions.
A range of active safety systems were fitted to the HiLux in 2019, including day/night pedestrian detection, cyclist (daytime only) protection, lane departure alert with steering assist, high-speed active cruise control and road-sign assist.
The updated Hilux range retains three body styles (single, extra and double cab), two configurations (pick-up and cab-chassis) and five equipment levels (Workmate, SR, SR5, Rogue and Rugged-X).
If you're wondering how much the 2020 Toyota Hilux will cost, expect pricing to be announced closer to the updated Hilux's arrival in local showrooms in August.