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Return of the king! How the all-new Toyota HiLux can reclaim its dual-cab crown from the Ford Ranger

A new Toyota HiLux is coming soon. (image credit: Thanos Pappas)

The all-new Toyota HiLux is coming, and already clues have begun to emerge about just how the reigning heavyweight champ plans to swipe away the Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max and Nissan Navara when the new metal finally lands on our shores.

Now it must be pointed out, this is less what we know, and more what we think we know, or what we expect. And Toyota is yet to publicly comment on its all-new HILux. But here’s what we expect to see from this all-important ute.

Technology

It’s no secret that the one part of the current HiLux that feels older than the rest is the technology in the cabin, with even top-spec Rogue models packing an 8.0-inch LCD touchscreen and a single USB port.

Expect that to change with the all-new model, with Toyota expected to thoroughly modernise the cabin with more tech and connectivity than you can shake an iPhone at.

For more, we turn to America, where rumours abound that the new Tacoma (which will share much, including a platform, with our HiLux, could even be fitted with Toyota’s mega 14.0-inch touchscreen that debuted in the all-new Tundra.

The cabin in the new Toyota Tundra is a tech-happy place The cabin in the new Toyota Tundra is a tech-happy place

The touchscreen acts much like a tablet, allowing you to pinch-to-zoom, for example, or swipe to change screens. There is also a smaller 8.0-inch version in cheaper variants of the Tundra, but it shares much the same functionality as the bigger version.

Expect wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, of course, as well as an abundance of USB connection and wireless device charging, too, along with a better stereo.

Platform and powertrain

Again, we lean on our American friends here. Mostly because the all-new HiLux is expected to share its platform — Toyota’s TNGA-F architecture — with the Tacoma, which should launch first in 2024.

But it’s not just a platform - the HiLux is also expected to share its looks with the Tacoma, with both expected to share a US-style tough-truck design language that borrows heavily from the Tundra.

While the current-generation will be sent off via the HiLux GR Sport, which makes use of the most powerful iteration of the HiLux's 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine – with the power upped to 165kW and 550Nm – it could also be the last time we see a diesel power plant in the HiLux.

The current HiLux could be the last time we see a diesel engine in Toyota's mainstream ute. The current HiLux could be the last time we see a diesel engine in Toyota's mainstream ute.

Rumours abound of Toyota electrifying the HiLux, sometime between now and 2025, with adding a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that will drop fuel use, even if only a little.

But in the USA, the new Tacoma is expected to launch with two engine options, the first being a 2.4-litre turbo-petrol good for 198kW and 419Nm.

The second option, though, stands as a true diesel alternative. Because the new Tacoma is tipped to launch with the option of an electrified 2.4-litre hybrid that should deliver a diesel-bating 270kW and 550Nm. That would make it more powerful, and presumably more efficient, than the current engine in the HiLux.

It's the Toyota Hybrid MAX family, and it has just been confirmed for the US-spec Grand Highlander, in which the turbocharged 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine pairs with twin electric motors for a total 266kW and 542Nm.

That powertrain has already been tipped to appear in a new-generation LandCruiser Prado in Japanese reports, so it making its way to a new-generation HiLux would also presumably be on the cards.

That said, Toyota moving away from diesel would be a monumental moment for the brand in Australia. But it’s also undeniable that that time is coming, whether we want it to or not.

Timing

We expect to see the new HiLux launch in Australia in 2025, with a late-2024 unveiling on the cards.

Will it do enough to fend off its opposition? Only time will tell.