Toyota Hilux: history of the legendary pick-up

This year marks half a century since the launch of the Toyota Hilux. Its name comes from the English terms High and Luxury and since it was introduced to succeed the Toyota Briska and Hino Stout, more than 18 million units have been sold worldwide.

This pick-up boasts of being one of the most robust vehicles in the world and much of its fame is based on its durability and reliability. It is the perfect work tool, in the most complicated terrain in the world. If this is the case when it gets to work, imagine what it is capable of doing in recreational use.

At this point, we have to remember one of the most memorable Top Gear episodes in history. The trio of presenters put the Toyota Hilux through the toughest tests, trying to put an end to it. They even demolished a building above it. No joke, here's the proof (the video is divided into three parts):

These are the eight generations that have created the myth:

Toyota Hilux 1st generation (1968 – 1972)

The Toyota Hilux appeared in March 1968 as a new truck that integrated and succeeded the Toyota Briska and Hino Stout. Conceived by Toyota, it was developed and manufactured by Hino Motors (part of the Group) at its Hamura plant (Japan).

Under the hood it had an engine. 1.5 liters and 70 hp (2R) that it shared with the Toyota ToyoAce. It had a separate frame structure from the body, with double wishbone/coil spring front suspension and rigid axle/leaf spring rear suspension. The transmission was a four-speed manual, with the shift lever mounted on the steering column. It could accommodate three occupants and a net load of 1,000 kg, with a loading platform 1,850 mm long.

Toyota Hilux 2nd generation (1972 – 1978)

The second generation of Hilux hit the market in May 1972. There were two variants, the long-wheelbase version and the short-wheelbase version, which featured the same mechanical components as their predecessors, although the wheelbase was increased by 10 and 45 mm. , respectively.

The length of the loading platform or the maximum net load did not change either. The basic version had a 1.6-liter engine, and above it was the Highway version, with a 2.0 liter 105 HP engine (18R), for smoother highway driving.

Toyota Hilux 3rd generation (1978 – 1983)

It went on sale in September 1978 and offered typical saloon specifications and equipment, as well as equivalent ride comfort. There was a choice between three standard-length models and four long-body models. The new top-of-the-range trim, the Super Deluxe version, boasted a cabin 90 mm longer than the standard one, with a larger interior.

Inherited the unit 12R-J 1.6 liter of the previous generation in the mechanical part. The double wishbone front suspension was maintained, although the coil springs were replaced by a torsion bar. Starting with the Deluxe trim, it had front disc brakes as standard.

Toyota Hilux 4th generation (1983 – 1988)

In November 1983 the fourth generation of Hilux was launched. Rear-Wheel-Drive (RWD) models comprised the Comfortable and Popular series. The first corresponded to the fourth generation of the model with a renewed interior and exterior design, while the second designated the third generation model, which continued to be manufactured.

All models with 4-Wheel-Drive (4WD) all-wheel drive had a new body, with bubble fenders front and rear.

Toyota Hilux 5th generation (1988 – 1997)

It arrived on the market in September 1988 and intended to enhance its role as a recreational vehicle (RV), so it gained a lot of equipment and changed the design of the dashboard, becoming much more similar to that of a sedan.

Paneled doors and sash windows were incorporated into the bodywork. The rear-wheel drive models had fenders without protrusions, while the all-wheel drive models had strong protrusions in the wheel arches that increased their width by 40 mm, up to 1,690 mm.

Toyota Hilux 6th generation (1997 – 2004)

It began marketing in September 1997, distinguishing a line for commercial purposes and another for personal use, with equipment and devices that brought it closer to the SUV segment, which the brand had entered with the Toyota RAV4 in 1994.

The cabin, in addition to being taller and longer, was much quieter thanks to better soundproofing. The cab version presented a few months later, had a 100 mm wider body, was a multi-purpose vehicle with a substantially long open platform, with two additional seats in the rear of the cab.

Toyota Hilux 7th generation (2004 – 2015)

In August 2004, the seventh generation went on sale, the first manufactured outside of Japan (in Thailand, South Africa and Argentina, although part of the production was carried out in Malaysia, Pakistan and Venezuela).

The brand developed five new models on the same platform: three pick-ups (Hilux), a minivan (Innova) and an SUV (Fortuner), to offer more and more economical products. In 2012 it had a fairly profound design change.

Toyota Hilux 8th generation (2015)

In May 2015, the eighth generation of Hilux was launched, reaching some markets, such as Spain, already in 2016. The design was much more robust, while driving comfort was gained. It received a range update in 2018, a car that we have already been able to test on the terrain it likes most: the complicated ones.

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