Toyota Hilux Legend 45

Competition is a good thing. We thrive on it, and so too do businesses, the most successful of which are the ones who create great product and innovate on that product time after time.

The new Toyota Hilux Legend 45 hatched out from the company’s local Prospecton plant in KZN and the visual differences include a reworked headlight cluster, fog lamp inset and a stainless steel nudge bar with ‘Legend45’ cutouts. The side steps and rear towbar are also new as are the anthracite alloys. The Legend 45 definitely stands out from the rest of the Hilux family but it’s not a notable difference to any of the other special edition, mid-life facelifts we’ve seen from Toyota before. Think Dakar special editions and you’ll know what I mean. I saw a Dakar edition during my time with the Legend45 and it took me a while to notice any significant differences. In fact, the stickers were the biggest tell. The Legend 45 sports decals on the rear and side panels, like they did with the Dakar editions.

But that’s not what Toyota is getting at with the Legend 45. It’s a celebration of their success packaged for you and I to enjoy. It’s just another birthday for them but they’re taking us out to dinner. Again. It’s also their last reminder that this particular model is on the back nine as they work on their next generation Hilux, probably a bigger, more American-inspired version.

The Toyota Hilux is a success story of note here in South Africa and has enjoyed the top step of the sales podium for one-tonners for as long as I can remember. The proof is in the countless awards it has racked up and of course, the almost 1 million sales in SA alone.

Step aboard and the interior is black leather and silver stitching all-round. It contrasts well with the silver and black steering wheel as well as the silver Toyota audio system. The car is packed with all the niceties of cruise control, phone prep, USB inputs, electric seats, DVD Audio system and a reversing camera. It’s a very acceptable cabin with a simple layout and easy-to-use functionality. Yes, Toyota continue to save costs by mixing and matching facia lights, clocks, radio and dials each with different colours and fonts…the result of which is odd. But that’s Toyota. It’s not like we’ve never seen this before and at the end of the day, the package just works so we’re happy to forgive these small aesthetic issues.

Each model has a rear diff lock with the option of 4X4 across the range. Off the beaten track, the car is rock solid but with quite a hard ride, especially on corrugated surfaces, quite infamous in Africa. There’s still the tendency to lose traction at the rear on loose surfaces when the load bay is empty and that is the only area where dynamically it feels off kilter.

I did a long trip across Mpumalanga in the Legend 45 and found the on-road comfort to be good, but not as comfortable and silent as the Ford offering. The pick of the range is the tried and tested 3.0 D-4D engine that has 120kW of power and 343 N.m of torque between 1400 – 3200 r/min. It’s a gem of a motor that is as much workhorse, as it is silent cruiser.

In December 2014, the Ford Ranger took the top step of the sales podium from Toyota. It was automotive history in SA but I welcomed it because the competition had caught up. I still think that the Hilux is the better overall package, but competition in this segment continues to innovate and Ford has proved that this pays off.

Stats (from Toyota SA):    

Toyota Hilux 3,0D-4D 4×4 Legend 45
 3,0-litre, diesel in-line four cylinder
Transmission: 5-speed manual, with diff lock
Power: 120 kW at 3 400 r/min
Torque: 343 N.m at 1 400 – 3 200 r/min
Fuel consumption: 10,32 L/100 km
Towing capacity: 2 500 kg
Service plan: 5-years/90 000 km
Price: R505 400 / R519 500(Auto)


The Breakdown

Design Appeal
Road Manners
Off road prowess

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