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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

WATCH: Next generation Toyota Tacoma spied as preview of new Hilux

Report suggests Hilux and Tacoma will be aligned and based on the same platform.

With reports of the all-new Toyota Hilux having seemingly died down over the last few months, a new spy video has brought South Africa’s best-selling new vehicle unexpectedly back into focus.

Aside from having undergone two facelifts in 2017 and most recently, two years ago, the current eighth-generation Hilux has been around since 2015 and except for the outgoing Volkswagen Amarok, it is also the oldest bakkie on sale today now that new versions of the Ford Ranger and Isuzu D-Max have emerged.

While previously anticipated to debut around 2024 or 2025, it now appears likely that the Hilux could possibly debut next year as evident by the video of its Stateside cousin, the Toyota Tacoma.

New Toyota Tacoma spied as Hilux preview
Shape of the disguise over the headlights a clue to the Tacoma possibility getting the same lights as the Tundra. Image: TFLnow

Posted by TFLnow on YouTube, the heavily disguised trio of Tacomas were captured in convoy with a Chevrolet Suburban and Jeep Grand Wagoneer in a parking lot presumably allowing the test crews to rest between runs.

Though impossible to make out given the thick layers of masking, subtle design traits identifying the prototypes as the Tacoma involves the wrapping on the lights, which are E-shaped and therefore similar to the new Tundra, whose influence stretches to the large grille.

While considerably smaller than the Tundra in profile, the Tacoma is expected to share its sibling’s platform, the body-on-frame TNGA-F that debuted with the Land Cruiser 300, and most recently underneath the new Sequoia and Lexus LX.

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The significance of this is that the Hilux is expected to ride on the same platform after a report by MotorTrend last year revealed that a decision had been taken to align the Tacoma and Hilux for the first time since 1995.

Before then, an Americanised version of the Hilux had been sold as the simply named Toyota Pick-Up following the decision to drop the Hilux name before the unveiling of the fourth generation in 1983.

Up until now, both the Tacoma and Hilux had been developed separately, with the same applying to the Fortuner and 4Runner SUVs, the latter ironically spun off the Hilux until becoming Tacoma-based with the debut of the fourth generation in 2002.

New Toyota Tacoma spied as Hilux preview
Heavy disguise makes it still difficult to identify certain design elements. Image: TFLnow

Seemingly previewed by the unnamed all-electric bakkie Toyota showcased last year as part of its mass 15 electric vehicle rollout, the alignment could result in the Tacoma and Hilux sharing the same engines, which in the case of the latter seems set to include the 3.3-litre turbodiesel V6 from Land Cruiser/LX.

The power unit long rumoured to debut underneath the bonnet of the GR Hilux, the V6 will allegedly produce 230kW/687Nm, which will result in the GR being less powerful but more torquey than the new EcoBoost V6 powered Ford Ranger Raptor.

It therefore means that the incoming Hilux GR Sport could well be the swansong model for the current Hilux as Toyota has confirmed an uptake in power and torque from 150kW/500Nm to 165kW/550Nm from the 2.8 GD-6 engine.

New Toyota Tacoma spied as Hilux preview
The current generation Tacoma has been on-sale in the States since 2015.

Alternatively, a petrol-powered GR Hilux has also been rumoured, this time powered by the 3.5-litre badged 3.4-litre twin-turbo V6 that produces 305kW/650Nm in the Land Cruiser 300/LX and 290kW/649Nm in the Tundra.

Another likely candidate is the i-Force Max V6 used in the Tundra and Sequoia which combines the V6 petrol with an electric motor for a total system output of 326kW/790Nm.

Elsewhere, Toyota has also not ruled out the possibility of a diesel/electric Hilux that will conform to the brand’s implementation of electrification across all of its models by 2025.

New Toyota Tacoma spied as Hilux preview
As with its Stateside sibling, the current generation Toyota Hilux hails from 2015.

“It’s not beyond possibility that we could have diesel hybrids (but) the vehicle needs to be capable. We understand the challenges of diesel technology going forward, but we also understand the opportunity (with this technology). It’s not impossible,” Toyota Australia’s Vice-President for Marketing and Sales, Sean Hanley, told the now-defunct online publication, caradvice.com.au, in 2019.

“We’ve always maintained that whatever we do in the future, we will continue to have Hiluxes, we will continue to have Land Cruisers going forward, but we will bring out – in the future – some type of electrification. There’s no doubt”.

For now, details about both the Hilux and Tacoma are unofficial but expect possible approval and uncovering of the production models to occur over the coming months leading into 2023.

Additional information from motor1.com

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