RAISING THE BAR | UTE Review – Toyota HiLux

Hilux adds to its safety systems and sharpens its appeal. 

It’s Australia’s top selling vehicle and Toyota Australia has every intention of keeping the model at the forefront of the buyer thought process to maintain its market leadership. With this in mind, the Japanese manufacturer has introduced a range of benefits for Hilux buyers, with the addition of Toyota Safety Sense driver assistance featuring as part of a range-wide upgrade.

All models gain pre-collision safety system with day and night pedestrian detection and daytime cyclist detection, high-speed active cruise control, lane-departure alert with steering assistance and road-sign assist.

The substantial upgrade in features has delivered a five-star 2019 ANCAP safety rating for Hilux, but it comes with a cost penalty for the buyer that adds around $800 to $875, depending on the model selected.

The comprehensive safety package will become standard on every variant of Australia’s best-selling vehicle from the Hilux Workmate cab-chassis to the top-of-the-range Hilux Rugged X.

Updated 4×2 and 4×4 Hilux single and double-cab versions went on sale in July, with Rugged, Rogue and Rugged X models available through August.

Toyota Australia Vice President Sales and Marketing Sean Hanley said the increasing roll-out of the Toyota Safety Sense suite of features across its model lineup is designed to give customers the peace of mind that whatever vehicle they choose, they are assisted by the latest advanced safety technology.

“Customers can be assured they are behind the wheel of a vehicle that delivers the latest driver assistance features, whether that’s a light commercial vehicle like HiLux or HiAce, or a passenger car such as Corolla or Camry,” Mr Hanley said.

“We intend making these types of technologies available on every variant in each model range.”

Using camera and radar sensors, the pre-collision safety system is designed to detect vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists and assists the driver with visual and audible warnings, braking assistance or autonomous emergency braking if the driver fails to heed the warning.

The lane-departure alert function will warn the driver if the system detects that the car has deviated from its lane with visual and audible alerts and steering-wheel vibration. If necessary, it will also provide steering assistance via the braking system.

A high-speed active cruise control has also been made standard across the Hilux range that uses various sensors to maintain a suitable following distance to the vehicle in front, providing both added safety and convenience. The ACC system operates at speeds above 40 km/h and will automatically be disabled if the vehicle speed falls below 40 km/h.

All Hilux variants also now include a road-sign assist system that is able to recognise speed limit signs and display them on the multi-information display (MID) in the instrument cluster.

“This is certainly an important move for Toyota customers, the segment, and more broadly, the market,” said ANCAP Chief Executive, James Goodwin.

“Significant upgrades have been introduced to the updated Hilux to enhance occupant protection and prevent collisions with other road users.”

“While already a five-star vehicle, it is encouraging Toyota Motor Corporation Australia is the first to put forward a vehicle with improved safety specification to undergo re-testing against current, more stringent ANCAP criteria in order to update its rating date stamp,” he said.

“The standard inclusion of these advanced driver-assistance systems across the Hilux range is a welcome move and one which will make this model even more appealing to private and fleet buyers with many fleets insisting on five-star rated vehicles with a ‘TESTED’ date stamp of no older than three years.

“Utes are the most popular choice among Australian and New Zealand consumers, and no matter the use, the highest levels of safety should be provided.”

“This is a strong example of market-driven change,” Mr Goodwin added.

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