A bumpy road ahead for Australia's dual-cab king? Will the all-new 2025 HiLux be too late for Toyota? | Opinion

auto, autos, car, cars, toyota, a bumpy road ahead for australia's dual-cab king? will the all-new 2025 hilux be too late for toyota? | opinion
Will the new HiLux be too late? (image credit: The Auto)

Let’s have a little ute history lesson, shall we? And stay with me, because we’re going waaaaay back to 2015, which is when the current-generation Toyota HilLux first launched in Australia.

Yes, there have been key updates between then and now, and the HiLux’s popularity remains about as strong as ever, but an all-new model isn’t expected until 2024, or even 2025, which is a long way away.

And there’s trouble on the horizon for our dual-cab king. Actually, scratch that. It’s not on the horizon, it’s already here.

And that trouble largely takes the shape of the Ford Ranger. An all-new model which, by almost all accounts, takes a big step forward in the dual-cab space.

It’s fresh, powerful, and – above all else – new.

While the HiLux still calls on its familiar 2.8-litre turbo-diesel, the flagship Ranger Raptor scores a potent 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V6, firing out 292kW and 583Nm.

But that’s not all. Even Wildtrak, Sport and XLT versions get six cylinders, with a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6, good for 184kW and 600Nm. Finally, a 2.0-litre bi-turbo-diesel engine, delivering 154kW and 500Nm, fills out the rest of the range.

That means there’s plenty of size and fuel options for Ranger buyers, right?

And it’s not just Ford, with the VW Amarok very close to launching locally, too, which is expected to give buyers most of the above, along with a European badge and new styling, if they are so inclined.

But let’s go around the grounds, then. Nissan? The all-new Navara launched last year, followed by the locally grown Nissan Navara Warrior. Mitsubishi? We’re expecting to see a new, and electrified, Triton next year, and one that could seriously change the ute game with a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Isuzu? All-new D-Max in 2020, closely followed by its sibling, the all-new Mazda BT-50. Great Wall? All-new Cannon/Ute in 2021. LDV T60? A major update – including a new engine – this year, and a first-to-market electric model just weeks away from launching.

You see where I’m going with this? Ford, for example, has managed to launch two different Ranger Raptors – one in 2018, the other this year – while Toyota is still months away from launching its first GR-S ute in Australia.

Timing is the issue, of course. Toyota is only part-way through its model cycle, and the calendar has smiled more on its competitors than it has on the Japanese giant.

auto, autos, car, cars, toyota, a bumpy road ahead for australia's dual-cab king? will the all-new 2025 hilux be too late for toyota? | opinion
The new Rogue features a wider front and rear track. (image credit: Mark Oastler)

And its Australian arm is trying hard, with a new flagship Rogue unveiled to keep the nameplate fresh.

Key changes to the Rogue include a wider track front and rear (+140mm) and a higher ride height (+20mm) for better ground ground clearance. The front suspension arm and stabiliser bar are both now longer, and front damper angle has changed for better efficiency. The rear axle has also been lengthened, necessitating the shifting of the rear dampers.

A HiLux-first rear stabiliser bar also appears, which Toyota says helps “enhance steering feel when cornering and changing lanes”, as well as boost roll rigidity by 20 percent. Finally, the drum brakes have been swapped out for rear ventilated disc brakes, while new overfenders and mudguards appear over bigger 18-inch alloy wheels.

And it will be followed by a “hardcore halo variant” GR-S model, which will arrive next year.

But the real risk is that, by 2025, the Toyota HiLux will be facing an army of newer, and often more powerful dual-cab utes.

Will that hurt its sales dominance? Only time will tell.

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