Toyota's South American specification redesigned Hilux medium-size pick-up truck poses a serious threat to Chevrolet's evergreen S10 after the Japanese model's first full rework since 2005.
There are six brands contesting this crew-cab sector in Brazil and the trucks are popular in cities, despite the irrational size and high weight for the territory.
The latest Hilux has a new front end, doors and roof but tail lamp changes are subtle. New 17- and 18 inch light alloy wheels are offered.
Overall length is up 7cm to 5.33m and 2cm wider. Wheelbase has not changed but the automaker claims rear seat passengers enjoy 3.5cm more knee room despite a 7cm/2.75 inch shorter cabin. Front seat shoulder room is 2cm larger.
There are now up to five airbags (one for the driver's knees) and Isofix coupling for child seats. Like the Thai version, the Argentine-made version scored (Latin) NCAP's five stars for passengers and four for infants.
The redesigned interior has a seven inch multimedia screen for GPS and TV and 4WD and low ranges are now selected electrically. Outside rear view mirrors now fold electrically. There is a 220V outlet in the centre console for quicker recharging of a cellular phone or other devices. The rear view camera has been moved to the tailgate handle.
Better cabin acoustic deadening and a 20% higher torsional stiffness clearly improved interior noise and vibration. The new, lighter engine helped. Gains included up to 10% fuel economy, according to the manufacturer. Power was increased to 174 bhp from 168 bhp and torque to 330 lb ft from 253 lb·ft despite the displacement decrease to 2.8 litres from three litres. Both manual and automatic gearboxes have six speeds, up from five.
Driveability is another highlight, aided by a height-adjustable steering wheel, now also adjustable fore and aft, to begin with. Even with the cargo box empty or driving off road, the added 5cm of rear suspension travel provides another degree of civility to the near 2,100 kg pick-up.
Crew cab (90% of sales) prices start at BRL130,960/US$34,500. The range tops out at BRL188,120/$49,500 (4WD), almost twice the price of a fully equipped Corolla.