A series of compact pickup trucks manufactured and sold by Toyota are given the name Toyota Hilux. Although, majority of the countries preferred using the brand name Hilux throughout all the generations, the name Hilux was dropped in North America and replaced by Truck, Pickup Truck or Compact Truck in 1976. The popular option package, SR5 (Sport Rally 5-Speed) was offered in North America and often commonly used as a model name. The package was also used on the other Toyota models such as Corolla. The camper version of the Hilux, called the Trekker was renamed as the 4Runner (in Australia & North America) in 1984, while in Japan it was renamed as Hilux Surf. In the United States, a new pickup model, the Tacoma was introduced in 1995 by the company, eventually ceased the production of Hlux/Pickup. At present, the $Runner is recognized as a complete SUV with no similarities left with Tacoma.
First Generation (1968-1972)
In March 1968, the first generation Hilux was launched a RN10 (short-wheelbase) powered by 1.5-L engine. In February 1971, the engine was upgraded to 1.6-L I4. Another engine variant was offered in international market as 1.5-L 1400 cc, 2R I4.
The long-wheelbase was introduced in April 1969 alongside the short-wheelbase models. The North American market didn’t see the long-wheelbase version until the start of 1972.
Second Generation (1972-1978)
The 1973 model year was launched in May 1972 as RN20. The second generation Hilux received some exterior changes and offered more comfortable interior. It featured a 7.5 feet (2.3 m) long bed which was a first of its kind in North American market. It was already offered in other parts of the world since 1969.
In 1975, the Hilux was completely redesigned to make it more luxurious as well as larger. The North American market also received a 20R engine and SR5 package. 5-speed manual transmission was offered as an option. In 1979, the North American market adopted the name Truck or Pickup Truck in place of Hilux, while in other markets it was still named as Hilux.
Third Generation (1978-1983)
In August 1978, the third generation Hilux was released. The 4WD variant was launched in 1979. However, the production of 4WD variant was ceased in July 1983, while the 2WD variants remained in production. The new L-series diesel engine was introduced on the 2WD variants in September 1979, while on 4WD it was offered just 4 months before its discontinuation.
Fourth Generation (1983-1988)
The Xtracab, two-row extended cab option was offered in August 1983. In the 1984, 22R engine was released. The fuel-injected 22R-E engine was launched in 1985. In addition to these, two diesel engines were also offered on the fourth generation Hilux including the 2.0-L and the turbocharged 2.0-L T. In the 1986, the diesel models were dropped from American lineup in 1987, the new 22R-TE turbocharged engine was added in the lineup. The new independent front suspension/torsion bar replaced the solid front axle in 1986. A new V6 engine was released in 1988.
Fifth Generation (1988-1997)
Toyota produced the fifth generation Hilux in 1988 as a long-wheelbase model which was 122 inch (309.9 cm) long compared to regular vehicle with regular wheelbase of 130 inch (261.6 cm). To better deal with the rust issue, the one-piece cargo-box walls removed. The V6 Xtracab SR5 was awarded with the Motor Trend magazine’s Truck of the Year award,
Though, the earlier models were imported from Japan, the American production started at the NUMMI plant in Fremont, California in 1991.
Sixth Generation (1997-2005)
In the late 1990s, the Toyota started the production of Hilux Tiger, a sixth generation Hilux model. Different versions were produced in Thailand: Hilux Tiger with 5L engine (1998-1999); Hilux Tiger with 5L EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) Engine (2000-2001); in 2001, Hilux Tiger with 1KZ engine (short lived replaced right away with D4D engine); and Hilux Tiger SportCruiser with D4D engine (2001-2004).
Sixth generation was the last generation of Hilux that was offered in the Japanese domestic market.
Seventh Generation (2005-Present)
In 2005, Toyota updated both the Tacoma and the Hilux. The Tacoma shared the chassis with new 4Runner, whereas the Hilux based on the renewed version of the ladder frame used in previous models. The Hilux has grown in size and is now categorized as the mid-sized pickup. The Tacoma is powered by a new 4.0-L V6 engine, producing 236 hp (176 kW) and torque of 266 lb-ft (361 Nm).
Hilux has a huge market as it is offered in Australia, Middle East Asia, Europe, South Africa and Iceland. The models offered in Australia, Middle East and Asia are assembled and manufactured in Thailand and are called Hilux Vigo there, while the models offered in Europe, South Africa and Iceland are manufactured in Durban, South Africa.