New 2021 Toyota HiLux revealed

Fresh look, more power and better handling for new Toyota HiLux

Australia’s favourite workhorse the Toyota HiLux has received a major overhaul at the halfway point in its life cycle, with styling and engineering changes designed to keep the country’s best-selling vehicle at the front of a hard-chasing pack of rivals.

Toyota claims the first major updates to this, the eighth-generation HiLux, which launched in Australia in 2015, significantly improve the ute’s performance, handling and looks. 

Conceived in Japan and built in Thailand, the new HiLux which is now on sale speaks with a more Australian accent, thanks to significant styling, development and evaluation work performed by Toyota Australia's design and engineering teams.

The company's local design team played a major role in the new model’s exterior styling, working as part of an international team, while its local engineers focused on evaluating and helping to develop upgrades to power and torque, suspension and steering.

2020 Toyota  HiLux

While the styling upgrades are confined to the HiLux wide-body 4x2 Hi-Rider, and 4x4 extra and double cab models, there are across-the-range revisions to engines and transmissions. Toyota says the changes are designed to ensure stronger performance and enhanced fuel consumption, while changes to suspension and steering are aimed at improving ride comfort and steering feel.

Toyota Australia's General Manager of Product Planning and Development Rod Ferguson said the local design team had transformed the HiLux styling to align it more closely with the global Toyota ute and truck family.

"Being awarded this project was a real feather in the cap for our team – and a tribute to the level of design capability we have at Toyota Australia," Mr Ferguson said.

"In addition, our vehicle evaluation team was instrumental in the global development of the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine and improvements to the way it rides and handles across a wide variety of conditions," he said.

2020 Toyota  HiLux

Local development and evaluation of the 2.8-litre engine, suspension and steering was conducted in collaboration with teams from Japan and Thailand, as well as representatives from other markets, Mr Ferguson said.

While there have been upgrades to both turbo diesel engines, the main changes are to the popular 2.8-litre four-cylinder 1GD, which now develops 150kW/500Nm (up from130kW/450Nm) when mated to the recalibrated six-speed automatic transmission. Torque output for six-speed manual gearbox versions is a lower 420Nm.

Toyota Australia's Vehicle Evaluation Manager Ray Munday said the revised engine’s higher engine output, along with its wider and flatter torque curve, had resulted in significantly improved acceleration, overtaking and towing performance. He said the engine’s maximum torque is now available across a wider range of 1600-2800rpm for the auto, and between 1400-3400rpm for the manual.

Performance and fuel economy have both been improved thanks to the adoption of a larger, heavy-duty turbocharger, and a new common-rail injection system with a higher maximum fuel pressure, said Mr Munday.

2020 Toyota  HiLux

The 1GD engine's smaller sibling, the 110kW/400Nm 2.4-litre four-cylinder 2GD, also benefits from refinements including the adoption of higher-pressure common-rail system, optimised pistons and rings, and an uprated 100 Amp alternator.

The 2.7-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is unchanged for this update, with outputs of 122kW/245Nm. It’s available only in the HiLux 4x2 Workmate single and double cabs, with either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic gearbox.

On the transmission front, changes to the turbo-diesel models’ six-speed automatic include recalibration of the software to allow earlier lockup for improved acceleration and cooling performance, especially while towing, said Mr Munday.

Stylistically, the revamped HiLux is distinguished by its larger, more vertical trapezoid grille, along with changes to the upper bonnet moulding and lower bumper components, according to Toyota Australia's Product Design Manager Peter Elliott. 

2020 Toyota  HiLux

The headlamps are now smaller for a “meaner” appearance and have been moved outboard to connect with the chiselled bumper corners.

Workmate and Workmate SR get halogen lamps, while the upmarket SR5 gains newly designed LED headlights and taillights.

Across the range, the various models can be differentiated by different coloured grille surrounds: black for Workmate, grey for SR and chrome for SR5.

In side profile, the HiLux boasts a more muscular look, too, thanks to integrated wheel-arch flares and a dynamic feature line running from front to rear. There’s also a new-look sports bar for SR5 pick-up variants, with side steps standard on SR and SR5 models.

2020 Toyota  HiLux

Wheel and tyre combinations vary across the range, from the basic Workmate 4x2 on 16-inch steel rims, to 17-inch steel and alloy options on other models, and an 18-inch alloy on the top-spec SR5. 

Firm unladen ride is a common criticism of utes and with this update Toyota has attempted to improve the HiLux’s rear suspension ride compliance. This is despite all 4x4 variants now boasting a 3500kg braked towing capacity, while 4x2 diesel variants are now rated at 2800kg, an increase of up to 300kg. 

Details of the suspension changes include longer leaf springs to suppress road vibrations, wider spacing of the springs for better cornering stability under load, and revised attachment points to promote steering stability.

The company says spring rates, shock absorbers, suspension bushes and cabin mounts have also been either retuned or revised.

2020 Toyota  HiLux

A new variable flow control power-steering pump for turbo-diesel variants provides a more direct steering feel on narrow winding country roads and reduces steering effort when parking, said Mr Munday. 

The changes are designed to offer high assistance to support low-speed manoeuvres such as parking, while maintaining better feel with less assistance at highway speeds and on country roads. There is also a specific mode for off-road driving in low range.

Equipment levels have been expanded throughout the range, including the fitment of an 8-inch display (previously 6 or 7-inch) with control knobs rather than touchscreen for easier use. 

The multimedia system features enhanced voice recognition plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Another new feature is the inclusion of myToyota, which enables third-party companion apps such as Waze, AccuWeather and Stitcher. Satellite navigation and digital radio (DAB) are now standard on SR5 variants.

2020 Toyota  HiLux

Other interior features include new-look instrument dials and a 4.2-inch multi-information display, which incorporates a digital speed readout and front-wheel angle icon, among other features. 

On the safety front, the HiLux retains its 2019 5-star ANCAP rating thanks to a full range of electronic braking and traction-control technologies, including reversing camera on pick-ups, seven airbags, and seatbelt reminders for all seats. Double-cab variants also have two top tether anchors and two ISOFIX points for the rear seats.

The HiLux’s Toyota Safety Sense technologies includes a pre-collision system that detects pedestrians (day and night) and cyclists (daytime); active cruise control; lane-departure alert with steering assist via the brakes; and road-sign assist that can now recognise speed advisory signs. New safety additions for SR5 double and extra-cab pick-ups are front and rear sonar sensors to assist when parking.

2020 Toyota  HiLux

Two new options packs for the 4x4 SR double-cab pick-ups and the 4x4 SR5 double cabs extend the core HiLux range – meaning Workmate, SR and SR5 – to a total of 33 models, with pricing starting at $23,590. There are several new variants in the range, with the most expensive HiLux the SR5+ now priced at $62,420. 

Toyota has kept a bit of powder in reserve with pricing and specifications for the more recreationally oriented HiLux Rogue and HiLux Rugged X models due to be announced towards the end of September. 

"Such significant improvements to Australia's favourite ute will inspire even greater go-anywhere confidence in HiLux's dual role as a rugged workhorse and a family vehicle with the comfort and convenience of an SUV," said Toyota Australia Vice-President Sales and Marketing Sean Hanley. 

2020 HiLux range

(Grade, engine, transmission, braked towing capacity, payload, price)

4x2 Single Cab (cab chassis)

Workmate, 2.7P, 5M  2500kg  1225kg $23,590 
 Workmate, 2.7P, 6A  2500kg  1210kg $25,590
 Workmate Hi-Rider, 2.4TD, 6M  2800kg  1260kg  $28,830

4x2 Extra Cab (pick-up)

 SR  Hi-Rider, 2.8TD, 6A  2800kg  1130kg  $44,210

4x2 Double Cab (pick-up)

 Workmate, 2.7P, 5M  2500kg 1035kg   $33,070
 Workmate, 2.7P, 6A  2500kg  1025kg  $35,070
 Workmate Hi-Rider, 2.4TD, 6M  2800kg  1160kg  $40,160
 Workmate Hi-Rider, 2.4TD, 6A   2800kg  1105kg  $42,160
 SR Hi-Rider, 2.8TD, 6M  2800kg  1050kg  $43,230
 SR Hi-Rider, 2.8TD, 6A  2800kg  1040kg  $45,230
 SR5 Hi-Rider, 2.8TD, 6A  2800kg  1065kg  $53,690

4x4 Single Cab (cab chassis)

 Workmate, 2.4TD, 6M   3500kg 1275kg   $39,520
 SR, 2.8 TD, 6M  3500kg 1250kg  $42,590
 SR, 2.8 TD, 6A  3500kg  1250kg  $44,590

4x4 Extra Cab (cab chassis)

 Workmate, 2.4TD, 6A 3500kg 1150kg $45,220
 SR, 2.8TD, 6M 3500kg 1200kg $46,250
 SR, 2.8TD, 6A  3500kg 1195kg $48,250

4x4 Extra Cab (pick-up)

 SR5, 2.8TD, 6A  3500kg 1045kg $58,400

4x4 Double Cab (cab chassis)

 Workmate, 2.4TD, 6A 3500kg 1125kg $47,290
 SR, 2.8TD, 6M 3500kg 1085kg $48,510
 SR, 2.8TD, 6A 3500kg 1085kg $50,660
 SR5, 2.8TD, 6A 3500kg 1105kg $58,420
 SR5+, 2.8TD, 6A  3500kg 1105kg $60,920

4x4 Double Cab (pick-up)

 Workmate, 2.4TD, 6M 3500kg 995kg $46,790
 Workmate, 2.4TD, 6A 3500kg 980kg $48,790
 SR, 2.8TD, 6M 3500kg  990kg $50,010
 SR+, 2.8TD, 6M 3500kg 1005kg $52,010
 SR, 2.8TD, 6A 3500kg  995kg $52,160
 SR+, 2.8TD, 6A 3500kg 1005kg $54,160
 SR5, 2.8TD, 6M 3500kg 1000kg $57,920
 SR5+, 2.8TD, 6M 3500kg 1000kg $60,420
 SR5, 2.8TD, 6A 3500kg 995kg $59,920
 SR5+, 2.8TD, 6A 3500kg  995kg  $62,420


Premium paint (all): $600
SR+     Includes 17-inch alloy wheels and satellite navigation
SR5+   Includes power driver's seat, heated front seats and leather-accented trim