Toyota has been at it again, because with no new HiLux in sight it has just released a limited edition to bolster sales.
And, in what must surely be a coincidence, the HiLux Black Edition was announced just days after Volkswagen revealed its own Amarok Dark Label and follows the same basic principle: give the ute a sportier, more aggressive look with the addition of some black accents.
The HiLux Black Edition will be limited to a run of 1000 vehicles.
Explore the 2015 Toyota HiLux range
Did we mention our Black Edition was in fact white? It's one of two colours available. The other one is black.
Our test vehicle featured a number of black embellishments, with a red underscore at the front - a la Benz. It looks terrific with a black sports bar, black side steps and black 17-inch alloys.
Beefier front and rear bumpers, not offered here before, give the vehicle a lower, squatter stance - accentuated by black extensions below the fog lights.
The front is underscored by a large black lower grille with a stylish red stripe along the bottom edge - much like the stripe that Benz has used so succinctly with the A Class.
LED daylight runners also make an appearance for the first time.
A closer inspection reveals TRD badging (Toyota Racing Development) on the wheel caps and front bumper extension.
We haven't seen that name for a while, not since the failed TRD experiment that gave birth to short-lived TRD versions of the HiLux and Aurion.
It's nice to see the badges, and they should be more prominent.
Inside there is leather-accented trim including a six-way adjustable power-operated driver's seat.
The feature list includes a reversing camera and 6.1-inch satnav with speed camera warnings and live traffic updates.
ENGINE / TRANSMISSION
The special-edition is powered exclusively by Toyota's 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel, paired with a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic.
The diesel delivers 126kW and 343Nm in manual form, or 360Nm with the new auto introduced at the start of the year.
The engine employs common rail, direct injection and a variable-vane turbocharger.
It's not that the HiLux is a bad vehicle, it's just that the competition is better. The black smokescreen cannot disguise the fact that HiLux is well past its use by date.
In the key areas of ride, performance and fuel economy, it just doesn't measure up any more.
We were struck by how truck-like the drive experience is compared with the VW Amarok or Ford's good-looking Ranger - both are smoother and more refined.
The HiLux can be awkward to get in and out of, with a wheel too close to the seat and a turning circle that is not great.
The wheel itself is not reach adjustable and it lacks one touch blinkers, which are lacking on most Toyotas.
With a 76-litre tank, the manual is rated at 8.3L/100km and the auto at 8.7, but we were getting 11.5L/100km after 350km of easy driving with a short off road section thrown in - that's simply not good enough.
The firm suspension comes into its own off road, where the HiLux is an accomplished performer.
With 227mm of ground clearance it rarely finds the rocks, although the overhanging tail - like any ute - is a limiting factor in the end, especially when it comes to step downs.
It has a part-time four wheel drive system, and to get the vehicle into high or low range four wheel drive requires a struggle with the traditional transfer lever - one that is not always accommodating.
However, the low range first gear reduction is excellent for an automatic.
The HiLux Black Edition is priced from $53,240 for the manual version in white.
If you want the black in black it will cost you another $550 and if you want the auto it's $2750 extra.
Note, it does not come with a tonneau cover so that's going to be extra too.