WILL THE REAL TOYOTA HILUX PLEASE STAND UP! WE TEST THE NEW RAIDER

The backbone of the biggest-selling nameplate in SA, Hilux Raider is salt of the earth

As far as bakkies go, this Toyota Hilux 2.4 GD-6 RB Raider double-cab manual has be the absolute acme. The Raider has always been the business, but as with all things, it’s just got better with time. Subject to a recent rebrand to keep pace with the ever-changing needs of the bakkie world, the Raider nameplate has just been reimagined. That change also now makes it the most important Hilux of all.

THE LEGEND ON TOP

See, when the all-new Legend took over at the top of the range, the Raider remained pretty much where it was. But it also adopted the vital workhorse and leisure crossover role previously reserved for the huge-selling Hilux SRX, which used to cater for customers in need of that critical blend of utility and comfort better than any. It became established as the rock on which that Hilux foundation was built.

And that is now the Raider domain — it’s the bakkie that runs the country. From the farm manager to the plumber, the security boss to the contractor supervisor, the Hilux bakkie that drives the economy the most is now called Raider. And we’ve just had a week with it that made it patently clear what all that is so…

One may wonder why Toyota shifted its naming convention on the arrival of that significant model update, which brought sharper specification grades, a rationalised line-up and new new look too. Well, as mentioned, the bakkie market has evolved. Customers now expect more than just utility, so as the midrange SRX moved ever closer into traditional Raider territory, it blurred the lines between it and the Raider.

A PERFECT BLEND OF STYLE AND UTILITY

That’s why the ‘new Raider’ now takes over in a perfect blend of style and utility. Set apart by its very own handsome Hilux face with sculpted headlamps, a larger chrome-framed trapezoidal grille, integrated bumper and boomerang LED fog lamp surrounds, Raider has its own signature look. More practical graphite-coloured 17” alloys running more pliant 265-65-R17 rubber, now replace the old Raider’s flashy 18-inch rims too.

New Raider also gets enhanced safety, comfort and entertainment. Safety in the form new side and curtain airbags to compliment the old driver and passenger bags and Park Distance Control. Comfort comes via standard air-conditioning, cruise control, a cooled glovebox and 12 and 220-volt accessory jacks, never mind Toyota’s latest 8-inch floating screen infotainment.

Run by either the Raider’s multifunction leather tilt-and-telescopic adjustable steering wheel or a centre console rotary-knob control, there are also handy buttons down the side of the screen for one-touch control of the main infotainment functions to eliminate those old touchscreen mistakes on rough roads.

ALL THE APPS. AND MORE

Not only does the system offer seamless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mirroring connectivity, but it packs Google Maps and Waze, as well as Apple Music, JOOX, Spotify and SoundCloud music streaming and a reverse camera too.

Wireless telephony is supported via Bluetooth with a USB input for additional media options and the Toyota Connect Wi-Fi hotspot with 15Gb complimentary data. allows the owner to manage the vehicle via the MyToyota App and connect the various online entertainment services.

Our six-speed manual sampler came with the trusty 110 kW 400 Nm 2.4-litre GD-6 turbodiesel. Raider gets an Auto Limited Slip Diff and a Variable-Flow Control power-steering pump has been added improves performance and fuel economy, while also adding a more natural driving feel. It offers a high level of assistance while parking and at low speeds, and tightens up as speed increases. To improve steering feel.

A GOOD, GRUNTY, TORQUEY BAKKIE ENGINE

It’s a, grunty torquey engine that sounds like a work bakkie should. The 2.4 has more than enough power for cruising at highway speeds. Isn’t too noisy on the open road, but can get become a tad rowdy when accelerating. Turbo lag is a bit of a bother, especially in the lower gears — you need to wait a little before shifting up if you need to push on and that’s when the decibels rise.

The GD6 is a good solid manual gearbox, which you can feel has been built to be as reliable as possible. Second gear however feels a bit too long but that’s likely a compromise for good reason. Everything else is perfect. The bakkie cruises easily and quietly in sixth. There’s a bit of vibration and shakes from the shift lever, but it almost feels like it’s been engineered to feel like as much of a typical bakkie as possible. That makes it fun to drive.

All in all, it seems Toyota has nailed it once again with its biggest-selling Hilux Raiders, if this 2.4-litre manual 4×2 double cab is anything to go by. Its specification delivers an impressive blend of essential bits and pieces, whilst saving money by leaving out the unnecessary paraphernalia that pushes top end Raiders towards, and the Legend past eight hundred grand.

THOSE SALES FIGURES ARE PROVING IT

Yet this R515K double cab retains a reverse camera, has a good infotainment and audio system with Bluetooth, and the auto driver window is all that farm manager or site boss really ever needs to make this bakkie the perfect workhorse and daily driver steed out there. And those sales figures so far this year make that patently clear, too.

There are many good bargain bakkies out there that may undercut this Raider by a buck or two and add superfluous spec to tickle your fancy. But there’s only one Toyota Hilux. And that makes all the difference. — Giordano Lupini

Images: Philip Makhonde

ROAD TESTED: Toyota Hilux 2.4 GD-6 RB Raider dc m 
Engine: 110 kW 400 Nm 2.4-litre turbodiesel I4
Drive: 6-speed manual RWD
Payload           865 kg
Braked Towing     2750 kg
TESTED:
0-60 km/h:        4.75 sec
0-100 km/h:       11.70 sec
400m:             18.0 sec @ 130 km/h
80-120 km/h:      9.24 sec
CLAIMED:
VMax:             175 km/h
Fuel:             7.1 l/100 km
CO2:              187 g/km
Warranty/Service: 3y 100K/3 service 90K km
LIST PRICE:       R515K
RATED:            9
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