Holiday wheels: Legendary December with Toyota Hilux

December 2019 came and went in the blink of an eye, however, that blink was much needed after a rather busy year.

Like my fellow scribes here at Autodealer, I too was blessed with a car over the December period, however, while Sean and Ryno settled for city slicker crossovers I opted for one of our country’s best selling vehicles, the Toyota Hilux, which arrived in Legend 50 guise. What’s it like living with a Hilux? Why do so many people who don’t need them buy them? Let’s find out.

Legendary design

The Toyota Hilux is a favourite in the bakkie segment with record sales testament to that fact. The Legend 50 Hilux celebrates 50 years of Hilux by incorporating some standout design elements as well as comfort features. For starters, the bakkie is festooned with Legend 50 badges on the gloss black grille, driver and passenger doors and the rear tailgate. My test unit was finished in Orange Metallic, which contrasted tastefully with the new black and silver alloy wheels, exclusively available on the Legend 50. The Hilux also benefits from roof rails and Legend 50 specific rear roll-bar.

Interior hospitality

Inside the Hilux, you are greeted by black leather seats, black roof liner and a black facia which houses a new touch screen infotainment system finished with round dials for volume and selection functions. The dials, in my opinion, is a far better solution than the previous touch-sensitive solution. One thing I like about the interior is its functionality; you can expect no less than nine cup holders, a large storage compartment under the armrest and in the doors and even a vented compartment above the cubby, great for those long road snacks.

Under the bonnet

My December companion was the 2.8GD-6 4×4 double-cab manual derivative. Manual, I hear you say? Yes, you see the 6-speed manual gearbox in the Hilux is rather enjoyable, it offers a feature called i-MT which rev matches on downshifts, a benefit when towing. The engine produces 130 kW and 420 N.m. The torque allows for very little need for accelerator input when in traffic, leaving the gearbox in first or second, even third gear will see you crawl along effortlessly by just releasing the clutch. A characteristic of the Legend50 which came in handy when I took the Hilux to the Kruger National Park.

The Toyota Hilux offers up a rather compliant ride quality which makes good work of uneven roads, pothole-riddled roads and those annoying speed humps that magically appear overnight. On the highway, the Hilux benefited from cruise control as well as an average fuel consumption of around 7.4l/100km travelling from Pretoria to the Kruger National Park, a figure which impressed me. Driving around the Kruger, on the hunt for some animals, to shoot, with my camera, I found the cars air conditioner to be one of the best features as it cooled the cabin substantially despite the temperature outside being well over 30 degrees Celsius.

Why Hilux?

After my holiday, and with the Hilux in desperate need of a wash, I found myself going over the things that I liked about the car. It is a get in and go vehicle, made ever so much easier thanks to the keyless entry and start functionality added to the Legend 50 model. The Hilux can take a beating from everyday life, you don’t need to worry about potholes, and you don’t even have to dodge water puddles during those infamous Highveld thundershowers. In the end, the Hilux became a true companion, like a trusty dog.


When I reached my journeys end back in Pretoria, the Hilux had returned impressive 7.5l/100km fuel consumption. Is it the best bakkie that you can buy? No, I don’t think so. What it is, is a very good machine that does everything it needs to do, well. There are other options out there that offer better off-road handling, a more sophisticated drivetrain and some even more features. The Hilux, however, blends the necessities into one appealing package that retails for around R593 800. It remains a top seller new or used, it has a natural appeal about it and it remains a true South African legend as it has done for the past 50 years.

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