LONG-TERM UPDATE 1 | Toyota Hilux Raider X joins our fleet

08 November 2023 - 09:05
By Brenwin Naidu
Plastic fender attachments create muscular impression.
Image: Supplied Plastic fender attachments create muscular impression.

Earlier this year we joined an exclusive round-table discussion with Toyota South Africa executives. Among the hot topics was the possibility of a light commercial vehicle in the sub-one-tonne category. The brand neither confirmed nor denied the prospect.

But with Nissan fast asleep at the wheel, letting the popular NP 200 die unceremoniously, it would be shrewd of the fellow Japanese firm to take up the mantle in the segment.

Would the product revive the Stout or Stallion nameplate? Or perhaps it would incorporate the Hilux moniker and repurpose certain ingredients, in the same way the Quest leveraged the reputation of Corolla.

We are speculating, of course, but it would not be a long shot betting in favour of the odds that such a product would sell in healthy volumes. If the long-standing success of the Hilux is anything to go by, Toyota pickups will never lose appeal in our market.

Back side benefits from a sturdy sports hoop.
Image: Supplied Back side benefits from a sturdy sports hoop.

It is the best-selling vehicle in the country. Last month Toyota shifted 3,110 units of the venerable Hilux. Bolstered by models such as Hiace, Land Cruiser 70-Series and Quantum in addition to Hilux, the company enjoys a 42% share of the light commercial vehicle market.

The current Hilux double-cab might not be the newest, nor the most sophisticated or luxurious double-cab on the market. But it sure is relevant as consumers continue to queue for both new and pre-owned iterations.

Seen here is a limited edition version, released to infuse a bit of dazzle to the range, as is customary when a vehicle gets to an advanced stage of its life cycle. The Raider X might be a cosmetic job at most, but faithfuls are guaranteed to hanker after it.

We have signed-up for a three-month test with the model after the departure of the Ford Ranger XLT from our long-term test garage. What can we say? You love reading about bakkies and the market loves buying them.

Interior could have been enlivened somewhat. 

Image: Supplied Interior could have been enlivened somewhat. 

You can tell the Raider X apart by its 17-inch, diamond-cut alloys, black plastic fender trimmings with red inserts, chrome grille inset bar with Hilux motif, rear styling bar, tonneau cover and sprinkling of X badges.

Colour options are diverse, including Arizona Red and Cosmic Blue. Our unit is a spiffy Graphite Grey. A little more interesting than the Glacier White (or should that be Resale White?) pictured here.

Pricing starts at R674,800 for the manual, while the automatic we have is R704,300. The Raider X is based on the 2.4 GD-6 4x4 derivative.

That means you get the proven 2.4-litre, four-cylinder, turbocharged-diesel motor delivering 110kW and 400Nm. Toyota claims an average fuel consumption figure of 7.7l/100km, which we look forward to putting to the test. Included in the price is a three-year/100,000km warranty and nine-services/90,000km service plan.

A familiar infotainment system. 

Image: Supplied A familiar infotainment system. 

While the exterior is visibly meaner, the interior is basic Hilux fare. There are no elements enlivening the abounding black and grey surfaces. Upholstery is of the regular cloth variety. That said, the build quality of the Hilux is to be admired. Certainly not the most plush of cabins, but screwed together tightly and with an undeniable air of durability. Unlike our Ranger, no persistent rattles have been detected. For now, anyway.

Specification is good, with all items expected from buyers wanting a double-cab for leisure and work. That includes seven airbags, ISOFIX car seat mounting points, traction control and trailer sway control. Hilux drivers are accustomed to making sure that where possible, they park their vehicles in sight. Toyota said the latest antitheft system deployed on the Hilux is state-of-the-art, comprising an intrusion sensor and immobiliser. This is a feature we pray no thieves will put to the test.

The familiar infotainment system incorporates a reverse camera, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Front and rear park distance control, cruise control, satellite audio controls and the MyToyota connectivity suite are part of the deal. The latter boasts in-car Wi-Fi capability.

Stay tuned for our updates on life with the popular Hilux in coming weeks.