Whole lotta ‘Lux’

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Auto industry continues to pick up as Toyota unveils new Hilux

HONESTLY, when we were tightly in the clutches of the enhanced community quarantine during the first quarter’s waning days, did we ever think the auto industry would ever (or at least soon) see a surfeit of new vehicle models being rolled out — albeit digitally? Yet here we are. Even casual browsers of social media surely would have seen the steady march of new models across many brands.

And the country’s leading car maker Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. (TMP) is showing the way anew as it rolled out last Saturday the newest iteration of the market’s best-selling pickup, the Hilux. This is TMP’s fourth vehicle launch of the year, and temptingly mirrors how the auto industry itself is on an upswing following the woeful month of April where only 133 units were sold by all Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines, Inc. and Truck Manufacturers Association member companies.

In a release, the firm reported that the Hilux annexed in 2019 “a commanding 30.5% segment share,” a figure it is surely looking to maintain via the significantly refreshed version of the pickup.

In his speech during the launch, TMP President Atsuhiro Okamoto said, “This 2020, the new Toyota Hilux and Toyota Hilux Conquest arrive with an impressive new look that is more rugged and exciting than ever. The new Hilux is designed to meet the tough demands of Filipino drivers and the country’s varying roads. I am confident that the Hilux would once again prove why it is the Philippines’ pickup of choice.”

Speaking of choice, whatever your preference or purpose (not to mention budget), there is sure to be an ideal match to be found in any of the incredible 13 variants of the nameplate, which will be sourced from Toyota’s manufacturing facility in Thailand.

Headlined by the top-shelf Conquest variants (at P1.83 million for the 2.8-liter 4×4 AT and P1.755 million for the 2.8-liter 4×4 MT), the Hilux also comes in G AT and MT, and E MT, and starts from P843,000 for the workhorse 2.4-liter 4×2 Cab and Chassis MT. The Conquest trims get bi-beam LED headlamps and LED rear combination lamps with line guide, plus a sports bar with LED lamps. Hilux branding is on the tailgate, plus a garnish over the fender and “Conquest” decals both sides of the cargo bed.

The deck space offers plenty of cargo room with tailgate assist and bedliner for Conquest variants. Also exclusive to the Conquest variants is a new Emotional Red exterior paint, which is different from the existing Crimson Spark Red Metallic.

Toyota gives the Conquest, G, and E grades keyless entry, with an additional smart entry and push start/stop for the Conquest. The aforementioned grades also get power adjust with auto fold for their side mirrors, in addition to speed-sensing door locks.

Ensconced in the instrument cluster is a 4.2-inch TFT multi-information display, and drivers get steering wheel controls (plus cruise control in Conquest variants). The Conquest, G, and E grades feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

Under the hood of the new 4×4 Hilux variants is Toyota’s familiar 2.8-liter 1GD-FTV, which has been tweaked for a 27hp gain, and now outputs 201hp. The torque on the automatic gets 50Nm more for a 500Nm total, while the manual outputs the same 450Nm as before. The MT also gets so-called Intelligent Manual Transmission, which is said to offer rev-matching for downshifts, better controls on the engine during upshifts, and helps to avoid rolling back on hill starts.

The 4×2 Conquest, G, and E variants are motivated by the proven 2.4-liter 2GD-FTV with 148hp and 400Nm on tap. TMP reported that both the 1GD and 2GD engines now promise improved fuel efficiency by 4%-5% compared to the older versions.

All grades get air bags (seven in the case of the 4×4 Conquest AT variant), three-point ELR seat belts, anti-lock brakes with brake assist and electronic brake force distribution, vehicle stability control, and hill-start assist control. Conquest 4×4 variants have downhill assist control and active traction control. Clearance sonars are available for the Conquest, while back sonars are available for G grades; Conquest variants have rear cameras.

For fleet and business applications, TMP will continue to offer the Hilux J in 4×4 and 4×2, Cab and Chassis, and FX. Additionally, the company is offering the Hilux Cargo — “a rear seat-less, windowless, and more affordable variant powered by the same 2GD engine… specifically designed for the more demanding needs.”

The new Hilux Conquest, G, and E variants will be available in all of TMP’s 70 dealerships by Sept. 14, while the Hilux Cargo variant is expected to arrive in showrooms by Oct. 26. For information, visit https://toyota.com.ph/hilux.





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