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Road test: Toyota’s Legend RS 2.8 is the most expensive Hilux

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Mercedes-Benz’s X-Class bakkie was a huge commercial failure. And much of its failure, was related to outrageous pricing.

By contrast, Toyota’s Hilux is South Africa’s most successful vehicle range – and has been, for decades. But if you scrutinize the latest Hilux price list, you’ll notice that the Hilux Legend RS 2.8 auto 4×4, is quite expensive.

This range-topping Hilux bakkie lists at R868 100. Out test nit was finished in a hugely impractical black colourway, and beyond the sports bar, it is indistinguishable from other Hilux Legend double-cabs.

Toyota Hilux Legend RS

With a similar mechanical package available in the Hilux Legend, at R780 900, does this RS model make any sense? The nomenclature is misleading, too. For most automotive enthusiasts, “RS” is an acronym that unpacks as “Rally Sport”, but in the case of Hilux, the reference is a lot more utilitarian: Roller shutter.

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For a Toyota double-cab bakkie priced on the ambitious side of R850 000, you would expect generous equipment levels. The Hilux Legend RS obliges with a lot of standard features.

THE RS HAS A GREAT SOUND SYSTEM

The cabin has been significantly upgraded with regards to infotainment, which is controlled via an 8-inch touchscreen. Sound quality is excellent, thanks to a JBL audio system with nine speaks, optimised for the double-cab’s cabin acoustics. The non-RS Legend Hilux has a less impressive audio system with only six-speakers.

Once you are underway, the Legend RS allows for a safer and more relaxed highway driving experience. It has adaptive cruise control and the steering wheel is awash in satellite controls, which help you set the parameters for this autonomous driving feature.

Most of the additional equipment which is part of the Hilux Legend RS related to its loadbox. In South Africa, double-cab bakkies work hard for a living. Rough gravel roads and the fine environmental dust trigger seeping into even the most meticulously tied-down tonneau cover.

With the Legend RS, Toyota’s automated roller shutter presented many benefits for the double-cab owner. The first of which, is security. The tailgate locks as part of bakkie’s central locking, so never have to worry about double-checking the tailgate when stopping at a mall or parking area, with valuables in the loadbox.

The annoyance of having items slide around in the back is also minimised, by the presence of a rubberised loadbox surface, which isn’t standard on other Hilux double-cab bakkies. Toyota has also included its dust defence kit with the Legend RS.

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A GOOD LUXURY DOUBLE-CAB, BUT PERHAPS NOT IN BLACK

We tested the Hilux 2.4 a while ago and concluded that for most applications, this was the ideal version for most South Africans who need a bakkie for work and family car use. If your budget does stretch all the way to Hilux Legend RS funding, these loadbox upgrades make it an excellent all-terrain touring bakkie.

Toyota’s 2.8-litre engine allows it to effortlessly keep pace with faster traffic on national highways, which means you have much less frantic responses from the adaptive cruise control system. Boosting 150kW and 500Nm, the Hilux never lacks for acceleration – even on long hills, when you need to overtake slower traffic.

Mercedes-Benz horribly misread the South African bakkie buying marketing with its X-Class. But Toyota has again shown that it knows what double-cab buyers desire, and need. If you desire a very competent double-cab bakkie for leisure and family vehicle use, the Legend RS can sightly justify its price, especially for those drivers who often have valuables in the loadbox.

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In the South African driving context, with its abundant dust and imminent scratch risks, we would caution that black is not the appropriate colour. The Hilux Legend RS looks much better in its traditional white colourway, allowing for the black wheel arch flares, sports bar and side steps to fulfil their colour-contrasting function.

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