Car makers have recently been treating Australians to off-road versions of some of their favorite vehicles. The Ford Ranger Raptor, for instance, was a modified vehicle that owners could take on dusty trails through the brush.
Now, though, Toyota is trying to do something similar. It wants the new Hilux to be a do-it-all vehicle that behaves similarly to Britain’s Range Rovers when it goes off the beaten track. The vehicle needs to be ultra-rugged and provide drivers with a modern off-road experience that inspires them to explore further than before.
The new version of the Hilux will be called the Apex version and will replace the former Rugged X, a car with a few modifications for farmer-types who want something souped up to transport pigs to and from the market.
Toyota hopes that the new vehicle will sell better than the old one, which managed 17,000 units in 2018. As such, the company is taking off-road features to the next level. The vehicle will receive some extreme modifications to make it more attractive to buyers looking for something robust that can survive dire conditions outside of the city.
The New Features
In light of this, the new Hilux Apex will come with a host of additional features, including:
- Fatter, beefier mud-clearing tires
- A plastic fender with add-ons
- Rock sliders
- LED light bar, probably above the windscreen
- A snorkel for deep water
The vehicle will also come with a modified, tuned engine designed to provide more torque in off-road scenarios. There will be a 2.8-liter, turbocharged disease engine that will put out around 220 bhp instead of the standard 201 bhp of the old Hilux.
The beefing up of the vehicle continues to its underbelly, too. Toyota says that it will improve the suspension, giving the Hilux greater ability to traverse unforgiving terrain. And it’ll get larger clearance between the wheels and the arches, making the vehicle look taller when viewed from afar.
Will There Be Buyers?
Whether there will be a string of buyers for the new vehicle remains to be seen. While the old car sold quite well, the size of the market might mean fewer sales for the Apex.
Toyota is plugging the vehicle as a bigger, better version of what’s come before, but it remains to be seen whether that is the case. The vehicle should be compatible with existing interior accessories, such as the Hilux dash mat, but expect big changes to the outside of the vehicle.
If there are a lot of buyers, it’ll be the easily-replaced exterior kit that will attract people. Consumers want to put their Hilux Apexes through their paces. And that’ll mean damaging exterior parts. Replacements need to be affordable and available if the Apex is going to succeed over the coming years.
The upside is that if Toyota gets the formula right, we could have another classic pickup on our hands. The Japanese car marker is already celebrated throughout the world for the quality of its pickups. This new vehicle could help bring it back into the limelight.