We take the Hilux 45 on a legendary roadtrip
Can you believe it has been 45 years of Hilux? That’s right, the beloved Toyota Hilux has been around since 1968 and hit South Africa in 1969. I wasn’t even a thought in my parents minds yet, in fact they weren’t even on each other’s minds yet. But much like a love story, the Hilux has been South Africa’s number one golden boy…or girl (depending on how you want to look at this).
The word Hilux was derived from “High” and “Luxury” and there is one thing Toyota has nailed time and again with this vehicle, firsts! It was the first to offer a 4X4 derivative in 1981, in fact, it was the first 4X4 bakkie in South Africa. It was the first to offer a double cab variant in 1984. It was also the first light commercial vehicle to offer dual front airbags and ABS brakes. Yip, the Hilux has been right at the forefront of its segment since we can remember, in fact it has been the market leader in South Africa for 43 years. It has sold more than 969 933 units in South Africa to date. And it is the longest active model range of any vehicle in South Africa. And one more notch to add is the fact that it is a proudly South African product being built at Prospection Plant in Durban.
It is no wonder Toyota needed to celebrate with the introduction of the new Hilux Legend 45 and an epic road trip to mark the occasion. We started off in George where we enjoyed a luxurious stay at Fancourt Hotel and Spa before climbing aboard the train at George train station. We did all four of the incredible passes this area has to offer, including the Outeniqua and Montagu passes. The views were just breathtaking.
It was after this spectacular train ride that we stepped in to the Hilux. The Legend 45 is distinguished from the rest of the Hilux range by new headlamps and front foglamps with black-out detail, smoked tail lights, a stainless steel nudge bar and rear step bumper, matt black side steps, a towbar and Legend 45 badging. It also has colour-coded door handles with a chrome finish and multi-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels.
Step inside and you are met with a full black finish with black leather and silver contrast stitching. A reverse camera has been added to the Xtra Cab Legend 45 models. This anniversary edition is available with a choice of Toyota powerplants, transmissions and drive types.
There isn’t really a need for a driving review here as well, we all know what to expect from a Hilux. We will save this for the 8th generation due out, well, we aren’t exactly sure when, but we hope its soon. Not that its needed, to be fair, customers are only too happy with their current generations.
The exceptional drive took us all the way through to Graaff-Reinet where we experienced not only the heat, but the magic that can occur when a manufacturer gets behind an incredible project. Toyota is the driver behind The Giant Flag, a 66 hectare South African Flag made up of two and a half million coloured succulents with a 4 megawatt solar field incorporated into the flag which you will be able to see from space.
After an epic street party to celebrate the exciting news, we headed home the next morning feeling, well, a tad delicate after some locally brewed WitHond. All we can say is, “Here’s to another 45 years of the Hilux legend!”
The Hilux Legend Pricing ranges from R300 200 for the 2.7 VVTi 4X2 Raised Body to R553 900 for the 4.0 V6 4X4 automatic.