This morning we reported the HiLux Tonka Concept, a car so cool that is turned out it wasn’t going to go into production.
But Toyota have another beast up their sleeve, and this one you can buy. Please give a warm Australian welcome (back) to the mighty TRD HiLux.
The last time Australia saw a TRD (Toyota Racing Development) model, it was 2009 and had a 4-Litre Supercharged V6 producing a dismal 225kW. Priced from $64,990, it was never the performance car it should have been and most buyers opted for the TRD variant of the Aurion, which had a 3.5-Litre Supercharged V6 but produced 241kW.
This time it seems Toyota has learnt from its mistake, this time leaving the 2.8-Litre turbo-diesel power plant alone and instead focusing on eye-catching enhancements.
Built off the already sharp-looking SR5 dual-cab, the TRD ‘Lux comes standard with leather interior (normally a $2000 option) and a choice of black or white paint.
The TRD stands out thanks to a giant red TRD branded skid-plate, black TRD grille, TRD lower bumper cover and TRD fender flares. But that’s not all, because the TRD comes fully kitted out with a towing kit, ute liner, soft tonneau cover, tail light covers and TRD mudflaps all as standard.
Garnished with Matte Black 18″ alloy wheels and a shiny sports bar, the TRD certainly looks the part.
Inside is much the same as the standard SR5, with the addition of a TRD gear knob (automatic variants only) and TRD carpet floor mats.
Riding on the success of being the number 1 selling car in the country, Toyota have high hopes for the latest TRD HiLux. Tony Cramb, Toyota Australia’s executive director of sales and marketing, says the SR5 HiLux was chosen for this treatment after it made up over half of 4×4 HiLux sales in 2016.
“Local buyers voted with their wallets to make HiLux the best-selling vehicle in Australia last year – and the majority clearly indicated their preference for upmarket features combined with HiLux’s renowned go-anywhere capability,” Mr Cramb said. “We have responded to that demand by compiling premium components, including the respected TRD brand, that will further distinguish HiLux from the competitors and from every other HiLux in our range,” he said.
As well as all the extra TRD features, the HiLux still comes with the standard SR5 equipment, including climate-control air-conditioning (yes it’s standard now), cruise control (yes it’s standard too), satellite navigation and an 8″ tablet-style touch screen with DAB digital radio, Bluetooth, voice recognition and steering-wheel controls.
Comprehensive off-road and safety technology includes a rear differential lock, electronic transfer case, vehicle stability and traction control, trailer sway control, seven airbags, reversing camera, anti-skid brakes and auto-levelling LED headlamps.
The TRD-enhanced HiLux is also equipped with black side steps, keyless smart entry and start, hill-start assist control and, for automatic models, downhill assist control.
The engine output figures remain unchanged, pumping out what we feel is a smaller than needed 130kW and 450Nm (six-speed electronic automatic) and 420Nm (six-speed intelligent manual).
But, when you take the price into account, it’s an amazing deal really. Smashing the Ford Ranger WildTrak by a country mile, the TRD HiLux costs just $58,990 drive-away for the White Manual variant. If you want it in Black, it’s $59,540 drive-away and if you want either one as an automatic, simply add $2000.
It actually leaves me wanting to say “oh what a feeling”, but I won’t. Just get in and get one before they vanish.