Tinashe Makichi Motoring Correspondent
The history of the Toyota Hilux spans seven generations, during which the Hilux pick-up has earned a reputation as one of the world’s most trusted and reliable commercial vehicles.
Having survived extreme environments all over the world between the Arctic and Antarctic the credentials of this ultra tough machine are proven beyond doubt. And as the world’s best-selling pick-up, it is clearly the workhorse of choice for many businesses and individuals.
Despite its no-nonsense approach, the Hilux has evolved over the years to become a complete motoring solution, bridging the gap between work use and everyday driving needs.
Toyota clearly has no intention of Hilux losing its reputation as the complete and super-tough motoring solution. Upon this background, Toyota Zimbabwe has launched the Toyota Hilux Assegai Limited Edition in celebration of the long line of trailblazing game changers that preceded it.
“The Toyota Assegai’s quality is woven into its core, even in the parts and features you cannot see especially the double wishbone suspension that keeps you comfortable when the going gets rough or the high-quality rigidity frame and ventilated ABS brakes that keeps you safe when the going gets even rougher,” said Toyota Zimbabwe in a statement.
Toyota this time offered its customers a chance of a lifetime where the Assegai Limited Edition comes fitted with a tow hitch, nudge bar and roll bar on all 3 litre double cabs.
“To top it off, the vehicle comes with a free 25 000 km service plan at no extra cost,” said Toyota Zimbabwe.
As part of the vehicle’s exploits, during last year’s cold snap in the United Kingdom, a Hilux rescued a stranded lorry (roughly weighing five times its weight), which was stuck on an icy stretch of road in East Sussex.
The Hilux double cab is often used by wildlife rangers when protecting wildlife because of its toughness when it comes to wildlife terrains. In 1984, Toyota South Africa introduced the fourth generation Hilux and with this range came the first double cab 4×4 to be offered in the region.
Two years into this model range, Toyota became the first manufacturer to offer a five-speed transmission on its 1-ton pick-ups.
In 1989, this range was further expanded when the first diesel 4×4 1-tonne pick-up was added to the Hilux line-up. In 1991, celebrating the completion of 21 years in the local market and recognising the potential of the recreational sector, Toyota introduced the more luxurious Raider models expanding the choice to 14 variants.
In November 1997, a Hilux milestone was achieved in the African market when sales topped 500 000 units and a year later a new Hilux generation was introduced.
The Hilux Raider moved the goalposts again with another list of firsts but this time focus was on the development of a truly multi-purpose vehicle.
The full-house specification of the Raider models included front airbags and ABS brakes on the double cab 4×4 models — firsts for this market segment. A host of other comfort features included a sound system, electric windows and air conditioning.
This Hilux generation rose to ultimate popularity as it ousted competition and became Africa’s overall top selling vehicle in 1999.
To date, the Hilux has continued its reign as the second most popular vehicle of all in Southern Africa, behind the Toyota Corolla.
The Toyota innovative international multi-purpose vehicle platform set new benchmarks in the 1-tonne class with a ground-breaking design, which improved the Hilux in every way.
Bigger size, passenger car like comfort, more load space, improved safety features, latest generation petrol and diesel engines, and a continued accent on durability define this latest model.
The current seventh generation N70-chassis Hilux has significantly grown in stature to become classified as a mid-size pick-up.
Perhaps more than any other Hilux generation, the seventh generation has seen numerous, successive improvements throughout its life, enabling the model to consistently exceed consumer needs and ever-tightening emissions standards.