Hilux | Toyota Specifications and Review
The Japanese pickup has become as much a symbol of the building trade as the paint-splattered radio and low-slung jeans. The Hilux we know today is a rugged muscular beast, as capable of lugging vast amounts of timber as it is of reaching the North Pole driven by the hosts of BBC TV’s motoring show Top Gear. The program also placed one of the Toyota pickups on the roof of an apartment block and blew up the building. The Hilux survived.
It has not always been like this. When the original Hilux was born in 1968, it was a bit of a weed compared to its rivals. It was a basic rear-wheel-drive truck with a small 91-cubic-inch (1,500-cc) engine and a top speed of 81 mph (130 kph). Over the years the Hilux evolved gradually and each time grew a little more rugged on the outside, and more sophisticated and comfortable on the inside. The engines crept up in capacity, the front end was simplified, and it generally developed more of a tough-guy image.
In 1979 the significant step was taken to introduce a four-wheel-drive version. This is the point at which the Hilux began to take on legendary status, something unheard of for a pickup truck outside of the United States. The technology was pretty basic: the four-wheel-drive model—also called the 4Runner or Surf in some markets—had a solid front axle and leafspring suspension.
Today there are no end of options available—two- or four-door cabs, luxury interiors, and multimedia systems. Yet, some things do not change and the Hilux remains the builder’s best mate. As it is for the farmer, the hunter, the explorer, and the watersports fan.
1968 • 90cu in/1,490cc, F4 • 77bhp/57kW •
81 mph/130 kph