By Sala Masindane
What can be said about the Toyota Hilux that has never been said already? Well it seems as if we are at the first chapter. A bit of history about the Hilux, it was officially introduced in South Africa in the year 1969 and went on to sell over 1 million bakkies locally. That’s not all, it’s the highest selling car in South Africa that’s in terms of month on month sales. In fact, at the time of going to press, we had just learned that the Hilux had amassed the highest number of monthly sales (4,470) in its history of with in June 2019. The fairytale does not end there, with the Gazoo Racing team winning the 2019 Dakar Rally, there’s a lot to celebrate for the Japanese brand and that’s what Toyota South Africa has done opting for an elaborate trip that covered four countries for the launch of the Hilux Legend 50 and the Hilux Gazoo Racing Sport (GR Sport) bakkies.
The tour commenced in the humid town of Kasane. Kasane is in the Southern part of Botswana and it houses one of the international airports in the country. On arrival we were met by the routine passport check process and a fleet of the Hiluxs. From afar the updates on the Legend 50 were not visible, while the Gazoo Racing Sport logos stood out on the Hilux GR Sport. Once you are closer to the Legend 50, the cosmetic changes were quite evident. These include a front upper and lower with a full black-out treatment, styled foglamps surrounds, a silver lower bumper guard that matches with the vertical garnish and Legend 50 badging (of course). All of this completed by the LED headlamps with day running functionality. On the side there’s new black protective moldings (Xtra Cab and Double Cab), chrome exterior mirrors and black side steps. The back is enhanced by a black rear bumper, smoked tail lamps and tailgate badging. All of this is rounded off by a rear styling bar with matching Legend 50 badging. The Legend 50 was our first drive and when we jumped inside, we met by black leather trim that is standard on the Xtra or Double Cab and the upgraded infotainment system with no Apple CarPlay and Android Auto unfortunately. However, there’s still DVD, USB, Bluetooth and Aux connectivity. We then made our way to the Chobe Safari River Lodge which is positioned on the borders of both Botswana and Namibia. The stay at the lodge also include a sunset boat cruise.
After our acquaintance with the Legend 50 on the previous day, we moved into the GR Sport and made our away to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. The GR Sports boasts a unique front grille that features the Toyota letters and gloss-black finish with a GR badge. All the models feature a black bonnet and roof. The interior has black leather with GR stitching, piano black finish dashboard with a red accent line across and a similar infotainment as the Legend 50 and a GR-branded push start button. One of the coolest things about the GR is the production plate and serial number noting its pedigree. Also, there are only 600 of these units and all are already been spoken for.
Both models that were driven on launch are powered by a 2.8-turbodiesel engine with power outputs of 130kW and 450Nm. The legend 50 was paired with a six-speed manual transmission and the GR Sport is only available in a six-speed automatic transmission (with manual and sport modes). The Legend 50 2.8 GD-6 4X4 manual was at home and comfortable across the vast national or gravel roads we drove on. The GR was more at home than the Legend 50 on the gravel roads and that’s probably due to the uprated and tuned suspension with more off-road bias. This also saw us doing decent speeds in excess of 100km/h on gravel roads with no worries and the GR Sport was always planted on the road. That’s probably why the 600 GR Sport bakkies that are R707, 400 have been snapped up.
The Toyota Hilux Legend 50 is priced as follows:
Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 Single Cab Raised Body Legend 50 6-speed manual R472,000
Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 Single Cab Raised Body Legend 50 6-speed automatic R491,100
Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Single Cab Legend 50 6-speed manual R537,700
Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Single Cab Legend 50 6-speed automatic R557,700
Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 Xtra Cab Raised Body Legend 50 6-speed manual R511,100
Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 Xtra Cab Raised Body Legend 50 6-speed automatic R530,200
Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Xtra Cab Legend 50 6-speed manual R578,800
Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Xtra Cab Legend 50 6-speed automatic R598,200
Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 Double Cab Raised Body Legend 50 6-speed manual R579,100
Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 Double Cab Raised Body Legend 50 6-speed automatic R598,500
Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Double Cab Legend 50 6-speed manual R647,600
Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 4×4 Legend Double Cab 50 6-speed automatic R668,800
Toyota Hilux 4.0 V6 4×4 Legend Double Cab 50 6-speed automatic R712,100
Toyota Hilux 2.8 GD-6 4×4 GR Sport 6-speed automatic R707,400
This includes a standard a three-year/100,000 km warranty and a nine-services/90,000 km service plan.
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