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Road Test REVIEW: Toyota’s Hilux 2.4 Raider 4×4 proves less is more

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(SOUTH AFRICA) – For as long as most can remember, Toyota’s Hilux has been South Africa’s most popular vehicle.

The Japanese company’s bakkie has proven its durability over decades and with a huge range of engine and cab derivatives, there is a Hilux for every purpose.

But which one is best? As is often the case, that question is a balance of value versus features. The Hilux 2.8-litre engine was upgraded last year, gaining a lot more power. There is no question that any Hilux powered by this new 150kW turbodiesel engine, is an excellent double-cab for local conditions.

A week with the updated Toyota Hilux 2.4 Raider

Those 2.8-litre Hilux bakkies aren’t cheap and perhaps the best option remains to go with the smaller 2.4-litre engine. To test our theory, The South African spent a week with the updated Hilux 2.4 GD6 Raider 4×4.

Our test bakkie was a six-speed manual, which is unusual. Most new double-cabs have automatic gearboxes and Toyota only offers its 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine in 4×4, with a manual gearbox, at R748 200.

Image: Motorpress

NEW LOOK, SAME 2.4 ENGINE

The 2021 model year Hilux has a new front end, with a bolder grille and bumper design. Thanks to the Hilux’s overall proportions, this update works.

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Is there a discernible difference in throttle response and performance between the 2.4- and 2.8-litre engines?

With the smaller diesel making only 110kW, versus the 2.8’s 150kW, you’d expect a notable difference. The reality, is not quite like that, mostly because the Hilux 2.4 has 400Nm of torque, in comparison to a 2.8’s 420Nm.

This latest Hilux 2.8-litre engine might have 36% more power, but it only has 5% more torque. And when comparing bakkies, with their slowing shifting gearboxes and high relatively mass, torque is worth a lot more, than power. Especially at lower-speeds.

The Hilux 2.4 GD6 Raider 4×4 might not have benefited from the powertrain upgrades applied to its larger engined siblings, but it does have the improved suspension bits. Improved bushings and suspension links give it terrific ride quality, especially on gravel roads.

Image: Motorpress

COULD THIS BE THE BEST TOYOTA HILUX RAIDER FOR 4X4 DRIVING?

If you prefer a manual-shifting Hilux, and for those most committed off-road drivers this is still a thing, then the difference in real-world working utility between the 2.4-litre and 2.8-litre Hilux is marginal. At higher speeds the bigger engine’s power advantage is real. This is most evident when having to overtake trucking traffic, at highway cruising speeds.

But in a congested urban traffic setting, or rolling at lower speeds in 4×4, across technical terrain, the 2.4 is all the Hilux you could ever need.

It also nets you a very real saving. In choosing between the Hilux 2.4 GD6 Raider 4×4 manual and Toyota’s 2.8 version, you are looking at an R150 000 price difference. You get some additional exterior styling bling and comfier seats with the 2.8 4×4 Legend specification Hilux, but there is no arguing against the 2.4 4×44 Raider manual’s R595 400 value offer.

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Compelling ride

For those loyal Hilux followers, seeking a capable off-road touring double-cab with adequate cabin digitisation and comfort features to double as a weekday family vehicle, the 2.4 GD6 Raider 4×4 is rather compelling.

Its six-speed manual gearbox is more suited to conquering highly technical off-road routes and it rolls 265/65 profile tyres on 17-inch wheels. Those tyres offer greater tyre volume and traction, in slippery condition, that the 2.8 4×4 Legend double-cab, which is equipped with 265/60s on 18-inch wheels.

If you must have a manual shifting Hilux double-cab 4×4, the 2.4 GD6 Raider 4×4 could be your best Toyota double-cab option.

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