After enduring a long series of leaks, Toyota has officially whipped the covers off its eighth-generation HiLux utility.
The new pickup was revealed as part of a global unveiling that took place simultaneously in Thailand and Australia - two major markets for Toyota's long-serving pickup.
Speaking to the media at the Australian reveal at the company's Sydney headquarters, Toyota Australia sales chief Tony Cramb said the new HiLux, the first all-new model since 2005, will launch here in October and will be "tougher than ever".
And with more high-strength steel, thicker chassis rails, more spotwelds and a reinforced tub, he should be right. Though there's some carryover in powertrain technology, the structure itself is very much a fresh design.
Strength isn't the only thing that's been improved, Noise, vibration and harshness suppression has been upped as well.
There's more sound insulation, the rear leaf springs are longer to dial out vibrations and Toyota promises a ride that's more carlike than before.
And that last point is important, given the increasing role of utes not just as a tradie's workday hack, but as a family bus as well.
The interior has been given a radical makeover, with previous spy photos revealing a cabin that's more akin to a Kluger than a commercial vehicle.
Improving passenger comfort has been a key consideration for Toyota in developing the new HiLux, so much so that it assigned Hiroki Nakajima, the man responsible for the ergonomic masterpiece that is the Toyota iQ microcar, as chief engineer for the project.
As a result, interior space has been maximised. Front shoulder room has grown by 19mm, headroom is now 8mm greater than before (despite the seat moutnings being 15mm higher) and rear knee room is improved by a substantial 35mm.
Precise specifications have yet to be revealed, but Toyota Australia has confirmed that the Workmate, SR and SR5 grades will continue to be offered.
Toyota will also reintroduce the Hi-Rider variant in October, a RWD model that uses the same jacked-up suspension as the 4x4 models for tradies who want the ground clearance, but don't necessarily need all-paw grip.
In total, a whopping 31 distinct model configurations will be offered in the 2016 Hilux range.
Four engines will be available, depending on the market: an upgraded 2.7 litre petrol four-pot with 122kW and an average fuel consumption of 11.0 l/100km, a carry-over 4.0 litre petrol V6 and two all-new turbo diesel four-pots.
Of the diesels, the entry-point is the 2.4 litre 2GD. Producing 110kW and 400Nm (the latter produced between 1600rpm and 2000rpm), this engine will be the mainstay of the 4x2 HiLux range.
The 2.8 litre 1GD replaces the outgoing 3.0 litre, and despite its smaller displacement produces 25 percent more torque - 450Nm spread between 1600rpm and 2400rpm.
Peak power of 130kW is available at 3400rpm, and the power curve has been fattened up in the low-range to aid driveability.
Six-speed manual transmissions will be available on all models, and a six-speed automatic with rev-matching and manual shift mode is new to the HiLux.
The suspension continues to use the familiar double-wishbone front and live-axle rear layout.
Importantly, the new HiLux pickup's suspension also benefits from Australian expertise, with the company's local team heavily involved in developing the new model's tune.
Much of the new model's testing was carried out here, thanks to the Australian continent possessing more than 80 percent of the world's different road and surface types.
Toyota expects the HiLux to retain its 5-star ANCAP rating, and safety equipment will comprise stability control, traction control, ABS, EBD, brake assist, seven airbags and a reversing camera on all models.
As for pricing and precise specification levels, all of those details remain under wraps until the local launch in October.
New HiLux: The Basics
- Pricing: TBA, but a range between $21,000-60,000 is expected.
- Powertrain: 140kW/450Nm 2.8 litre turbodiesel expected but not confirmed
- Transmissions: 6spd manual, 6spd auto
- Fuel Consumption: still to be confirmed
- Payload: 1240kg max, depending on model
- Towing Capacity: 3500kg braked
- Safety: Stability control, traction control, ABS, EBD, brake assist, seven airbags and a reversing camera on all models.
- Interested in buying TOYOTA HILUX? Visit our TOYOTA HILUX showroom for more information.