Toyota Hilux (2021)

International Launch Review

There’s a lot in store for the SA bakkie market – including an upcoming update to the market-leading Toyota Hilux. What should we expect from the upgrades? Our Australian correspondent drove a refreshed Hilux on-road (and off it) to whet our appetites. Has Toyota done enough to keep its bakkie at the top?

The Hilux is South Africa’s top-selling bakkie and a legend in its own right. Any time there’s an update in store for the model, consumers eagerly rub their hands together and start looking for excuses to hastily upgrade their bakkies. While the new version looks slightly different, it’s what’s inside – plus under the bonnet and sheet metal – that make this one of the most anticipated changes to the Hilux.

The model pictured in this article – the Thailand-made Hilux in SR5 specification (comparable or slightly above the SRX trim level in Mzansi) – recently underwent a revision and is now on sale in Australia, which suggests an update to the locally-made bakkie is in the pipeline. Although the local Hilux range received a few revisions as recently as 2019 (when the Legend 50 was launched), we still anticipate that some of the Thai model’s revisions will filter through to our market soon, which is why we’ve asked our mate Matt Campbell to put an example of a revised Hilux through its paces.

Toyota SA has indicated that a number of upgrades are scheduled to be made to the Prospecton-built Hilux in due course, although it’s not yet confirmed when exactly it will happen (possibly around the final quarter of 2020) or how many of the overseas model's upgrades will be carried over. It’s fair to say, however, that with the all-new Isuzu KB and Mazda BT-50 coming soon (they’re among half a dozen new or updated bakkies expected to reach local shores in 2021), plus final updates expected for the ageing Ford Ranger, Toyota will be keen to keep its charge at the front of the field.