Bakkie sales continue to lead the charts in South Africa and out in front is the venerable Toyota Hilux. Whether it’s a single cab workhorse or the GR-Sport, we love them.
I mean, they even have whole websites and social media groups dedicated to them that inform, advise and keep owners up to date with all manner of assistance.
Toyota knows they have a winner, even if a new generation version is only likely in 2025, so they keep them relevant with tweaks, decals and limited editions and as they release them they move off the showroom floor quicker than they can come out of their Prospecton plant in Durban.
One such version is the Hilux Raider X, which we’ll be spending time with for the next three months.
The Raider X in my opinion hits the sweet spot in the range without skimping on quality, technology, safety or drivability.
Priced at R704 300 our Graphite Grey double cab 4x4 six-speed automatic Raider (there’s also a six-speed manual at R674 800) provides decent value for money.
Toyota has placed the tried and tested 2.4-litre GD diesel engine under the bonnet, and that’s good for 110kW and 400Nm. It’s not a rocket ship but does the job reliably and honestly without asking any questions.
So what does the Raider X come with that makes it a limited model?
The exterior receives 17-inch, bi-tone, diamond-polished, chrome and black multi-spoke alloy rims, chunky matte black overfenders with red insert detailing, chrome grille inset bar with Hilux badging, “louvre” matt black styling bar and integrated tonneau cover and some unique Raider X badging.
In addition the rubberised load bay, spring-loaded tailgate and tonneau cover are very welcome additions, especially if you’re loaded up with people and their luggage.
Inside there’s cruise control, a TFT multi Info display in the instrument cluster, touch screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and controls for audio, phone, info display and voice commands on the steering wheel.
The odometer showed just over 300 kilometres when we were handed the key and so far we’ve just about doubled that but intend to do a lot more over the next few weeks including some 4x4 driving.
The drive is pretty much what you would expect from a ladder frame bakkie and initially it felt a bit hard but then I remembered I had just stepped out of a Range Rover Sport.
As I said, it’s not a speed merchant, but it gets going without any fuss or excessive diesel clatter and cruises comfortably at highway speeds and there’s enough grunt to pass slower traffic.
We were at a friend’s house attending a birthday braai and it looked like a Hilux convention (as well as the odd Fortuner and Land Cruiser) so when I brought it up the answer was simply “dis n Hilux ou”.
And that just about sums it up.