James May and Jeremy Clarkson tried to kill it once and failed, cementing the Hilux’s indestructible status
Hear ye, hear ye! Toyota has confirmed that it’ll be bringing the Hilux to India on January 20th. And there’s no auto enthusiast in town who isn’t giddy with excitement. Why, you ask? Famous for being known as the indestructible car on BBC’s Top Gear, to being an integral part of a war, the Toyota Hilux pick-up has had a colorful history, to say the least. Before it lands on our shores, here are a few things you ought to know about the legendary pick-up.
It wasn’t always made by Toyota
Today, the names Toyota and Hilux are synonymous, like PB&J. But this wasn’t always the case. It started its journey as a small truck in the ’60s, by the name of Briska. It was originally made by a Japanese company called Hino.
It was only a few years down the line when Hino entered into discussion with Toyota with the aim of working on a Briska light truck. The two came to an agreement for Hino to manufacture the Toyota Briska.
When the all-new ‘Toyota Briska’ hit the dealerships in early 1968, it boasted a humble 1.2-litre, four-cylinder engine, delivering 62hp of power. However, it was soon pulled from the market, and was replaced with the first generation of the Toyota Hilux, a name that stood for ‘High Luxury.’ Yes, the no-nonsense pick-up was initially meant to be a luxury offering.
There’s a war named after it
A couple of decades worth of trial and error later, Toyota engineers perfected the Hilux into a ruggedly dependable utilitarian truck. In fact, it was considered to be so dependable that it played a major part in the last phase of the Chadian-Libyan war in 1987, with both sides using it as their transport of choice. Hence, the conflict became famously known as the “Toyota War.” In fact, many still refer to it as a vehicle equivalent of an AK47 military rifle.
Jeremy Clarkson once tried to kill it and failed
The Toyota Hilux cemented its “indestructible” status when James May and Jeremy Clarkson tried to kill it in an episode of Top Gear Season 3. The viral clip shows the duo subjecting the pick-up to harsh punishment, only to fail at their ultimate task.
It won the Dakar rally in 2017
Famously known as the toughest race on earth, the Dakar Rally was the perfect stage for Toyota to showcase the Hilux’ mettle. Along with winning the FIA World Cup for Cross-Country Rallies in 2016, 2017 and 2021, the Hilux was crowned as champion at the 2017 edition of the Dakar. Not to mention, it finished as second and third runner-up in the 2012 and 2013 editions of the race.
We already get a part of Hilux in India
The Hilux is based on the same platform as the Toyota Innova Crysta and the Fortuner but is longer than them at 5,325mm. Additionally, the international-spec variant is offered either in Innova’s 2.4-litre unit (150hp), or Fortuner’s 2.8-litre diesel engine (208hp). We expect Toyota to bring the latter of the two to India. As far as its off-road capabilities are concerned, the Hilux will feature a four-wheel-drive system with electronic differential locks, among other features.
On the inside, things are a bit different. The Hilux gets a slightly redesigned console. However, to keep the costs down, expect Toyota to dip into the same equipment setup from the Fortuner.
This includes a similar instrument cluster and the 8.0-inch infotainment system. Creature comforts here may include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cruise control, powered seat and more. While safety would be handled by multiple airbags, ABS with EBD, rear parking sensors, and electronic stability control.
Pricing may be competitive
According to online reports, Toyota will be assembling the Hilux at its Karnataka plant. It’ll be brought here via CKD routes. This should keep its pricing between Rs 20 lakh to 25 lakh (ex-showroom), putting it in direct competition with the Isuzu D-Max V-Cross.
With the Hilux being India-bound, we can’t wait for Jan 20th to come soon.