Upgraded Toyota ute should boast more power and towing capacity

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A substantial midlife makeover for Australia’s most popular new vehicle is expected to bring a host of cosmetic and technical upgrades, including a more powerful engine and increased towing capacity, when it arrives in Australia sometime in 2020.

The 2021 Toyota Hilux is tipped to get a slightly angrier new exterior design, previewed in these CGI renders by Dubai-based website Milele Motors, but the facelifted Toyota Hilux’s headline upgrade will be a much-needed powertrain upgrade that’s expected to deliver more power, a fix for its embarrassing DPF issues and, potentially, improved towing capacity.

A computer render of what the next hilux could look like

While the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine in the Hilux will return for active duty, the powerplant has been at the gym and is expected to bring more muscle – with power and torque tipped to rise from its current 130kW and 420Nm (450Nm for the auto).

There’s talk of 150kW and 470Nm but those figures have not been confirmed by Toyota Australia yet. That said, any bump up in power could give automatic Hilux utes an uptick in towing capacity from 3200kg to 3500kg, finally matching the Ranger.

There has been a lot of controversy – and legal proceedings – around the Hilux’s problematic diesel particulate filter and it is understood the engine upgrade will fix the issue that has plagued around a quarter of a million vehicles (including Fortuner and Prado) over the past five years.

Next Hilux is expected to have revised rear end styling

Updates to the cabin design and trim levels are also tipped to make the grade, as the ute segment continues to evolve and customers demand more technology and luxury. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will be offered in the new Hilux as well.

The 2021 Toyota Hilux facelift is the most significant change to the popular pick-up since it was launched in 2015 and will need to be bold enough to keep the model relevant until the next-generation model arrives in 2024.

Like the upcoming LandCruiser 300 Series, the next Toyota Hilux will – eventually – be offered with a hybrid powertrain for the first time.