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Iconic Toyota Hilux pickup gets mild-hybrid and upgraded off-road tech

Toyota introduces 48-volt mild-hybrid system to boost the diesel Hilux’s efficiency

  • 48-volt mild-hybrid diesel engine
  • Promises a smooth drive and improved throttle response
  • Expected to go on sale mid-way through 2024

The Toyota Hilux is an iconic nameplate for the Japanese brand, having represented rugged pickup practicality and dependability for over 50 years. Toyota is now introducing a mild-hybrid version for the first time in a bid to improve efficiency and performance.

How will the Toyota Hilux Hybrid differ from a normal pickup?

The Hilux’s hybrid system uses a 2.8-litre diesel engine which – as well as driving the wheels – will charge a 48-volt battery found beneath the rear seats. This battery then assists the engine with an extra 16bhp for swifter acceleration and improved efficiency, though Toyota has yet to confirm the improvement on the standard diesel’s 10.7-second 0-62mph time. Unlike a full-hybrid or plug-in hybrid, however, the Hilux’s mild-hybrid system won’t be able to drive on electric power alone.

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Not only does the new system reportedly benefit its on-paper stats, but Toyota says it delivers a smoother, more refined ride with a much better throttle response from a standstill.

Will the mild-hybrid be available across the range?

The hybrid pickup will only be available in Invincible or Invincible X trim, forgoing the lower-spec Active and Icon trims and top-spec GR Sport. Features such as the Hilux’s stability control system will get a higher degree of adjustability in the Hybrid model, and it gets five different drive modes: Dirt, Sand, Mud, Deep Snow or Rock, as well as a setting that automatically optimises it for off-roading.

Hard-core off-roaders will be pleased to know the hybrid version is still just as capable as the standard model – it can wade through up to 700mm of water, which is on par with the rest of the range.

There’s no word yet on pricing, but given the extra technology involved with a hybrid system, we’d expect an increase over the standard model’s price in Invincible (£35,305) and Invincible X (£38,688) trims when it goes on sale midway through 2024.

What does it mean for car buyers?

Though pickup trucks of old were synonymous with big, thirsty engines and simple, yet dependable technology, recent times have seen the introduction of many alternatively-powered pickups. Toyota itself created a prototype hydrogen-powered Hilux, and the brand also created the mid-size electric EPU concept pickup. 

One of the Hilux’s main rivals, the Ford Ranger, is also set to get a plug-in hybrid variant, and electric pickups such as the Maxus T90EV are already on the market – along with lots of buzz around the Tesla Cybertruck and Ford F-150 Lightning becoming available in some markets – so the introduction of a mild-hybrid model will further diversify the pickup class.

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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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