TOYOTA is taking the fight to its main sales rival, Ford’s Ranger, by updating the Hilux to include the company’s Safety Sense suite of driver assistance technology – in turn, making autonomous emergency braking (AEB) standard across the range.
The Safety Sense package comprises a pre-collision safety system that includes day/night pedestrian detection, cyclist (day) protection, lane departure alert (with steering assist), high-speed active cruise control and road sign assist.
This makes the Hilux one of only a handful of 4x4 utes (the safety tech is also standard on the 2WD Hilux) to offer this high level of safety tech –other models include the aforementioned Ranger, Mitsubishi’s latest Triton, the SsangYong Musso and Mercedes-Benz’s X-Class (oddly, the just updated Holden Colorado still does not offer this level of safety). Impressively, this significant update only brings with it a small price increase of between $800 and $875.
The addition of Safety Sense means Toyota is expecting the upgraded Hilux to be awarded a five-star 2019 ANCAP safety rating – itself something worth spruiking, as the latest ANCAP tests are far more stringent than, say, those of even five years ago. In fact, a number of competitor vehicles boasting ‘five-star ANCAP’ would not be awarded the same rating today.
Hilux 4x4 single- and dual-cab variants with the enhanced safety features will be available from July 8, and the ‘halo’ models – Rugged, Rugged X and Rogue – will hit showrooms from August 1. Extra-cab buyers will have to wait until August 26.
The Safety Sense’s pre-collision system utilises radar and camera sensors to detect potential impacts and notifies the driver via braking assistance, autonomous emergency braking (if there’s no reaction from the driver) and with audible and visual warnings. The lane departure function adds steering wheel vibration and steering assistance, which itself is initiated via the vehicle’s brakes.
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As expected, the high-speed active cruise control provides a safe distance between yours and the preceding vehicle, and it is active only above 40km/h (below 40 it disables automatically). The inclusion of road sign assist – and how it is delivered via the multi-information display (MID) in the HiLux instrument panel – also means WorkMate models cop a ‘new’ 4.2-inch MID to cater for that tech.
Toyota Australia’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Sean Hanley, is confident it brings extra buyer appeal to the Hilux.
“With the addition of these advanced safety technologies, customers can be assured they are behind the wheel of a vehicle that delivers the latest driver assistance features, whether that’s a light commercial vehicle like a Hilux … or a passenger car such as Corolla or Camry.”
We reckon the fact it brings Hilux back level with Ford’s Ranger in terms of safety tech, in what is shaping up to be yet another neck-and-neck tussle for sales glory in 2019, doesn’t hurt either.