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First Drive: Toyota Hilux Dakar to continue bakkie dominance

New Hilux Dakar in SA

In 2012 a locally built Toyota Hilux did the unthinkable and podiumed at the world’s most testing race. Although Hilux’s all-conquering sales and reputation was in no doubt, the notion that a South African built Hilux bakkie, with a shoestring budget, could podium on debut at the Dakar rally raid was unthinkable.

Since 2012 the Dakar Hilux V8s have become a regular podium fixture at the world’s most gruelling race and with their howling 5-litre Lexus engines, an inarguable crowd favourite. Toyota South Africa has cleverly leveraged this achievement with a spate of Hilux Dakar batches, the latest of which has just been launched.

It is the first application Dakar branding to the eight-generation bakkie and also introduces the new global identity grille and styling upgrades to Hilux locally. It’s amazing how much better the simplified, Tacoma style, grille looks – with its geometric shaping, lack of shiny garnishing and honeycomb cooling grid. Beyond the new nose there are a smattering of Dakar logos: on the grille, rollbar front doors and tailgate.

Inside the Hilux Dakar package adds white faced dials to the instrumentation binnacle and standard SatNav functionality to the touchscreen infotainment system. A very tastefully done package which prices at a premium of just over R17 000 to other Hilux derivatives of similar mechanical configuration.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of these latest  Hilux Dakar bakkies are the available colour palette, which includes a bright orange paint finish too – a hue which definitely challenges a perception of Toyota being an ultra-conservative automotive company.

Mechanically unbreakable, greatly more refined and now, finally, with a more respectable appearance… South Africa’s most popular vehicle should handsomely increase its local market sales lead with some added transactional momentum thanks to these Hilux Dakar edition derivatives.

Toyota Hilux 2,8 GD-6 RB Dakar Xtra Cab R470 300

Toyota Hilux 2,8 GD-6 RB Dakar Xtra Cab AT R488 300

Toyota Hilux 2,8 GD-6 4X4 Dakar Xtra Cab R535 600

Toyota Hilux 2,8 GD-6 4X4 Dakar Xtra Cab AT R553 800

Toyota Hilux 2,8 GD-6 RB Dakar Double Cab R535 000

Toyota Hilux 2,8 GD-6 RB Dakar Double Cab AT R553 400

Toyota Hilux 2,8 GD-6 4×4 Dakar Double Cab R601 100

Toyota Hilux 2,8 GD-6 4×4 Dakar Double Cab AT R621 000

Toyota Hilux 4,0 V6 4×4 Dakar Double Cab AT R662 700

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