Words & Pictures by Andrew Middleton
In South Africa, everyone knows a Hilux. For 45 years, the venerable bakkie has shaped our roads, carried the sheep, taken the kids to church and been used to teach countless sons and daughters the art of driving. In becoming SA’s longest active model range, 13 million Hilux bakkies have been sold here – that’s one Hilux for every man, woman and child in Zimbabwe. Marking the 45th birthday of SA’s most historic bakkie, the Legend 45 has been released with some interesting kit. While Toyota directors won’t reveal when the next-gen Hilux will arrive, it’s widely believed that, within the next two years, generation eight will be gracing our roads deep into the sticks. To keep the (almost 10-year-old) generation seven flying off showroom floors, Toyota have offered a range of upgrades to top-spec Raider models with the Legend 45.
The upgrades focus on styling and comfort, luring customers with the added promise of slightly higher resale values in years to come – thanks to past form and the Legend 45’s limited-edition appeal. The interior upgrades include highlights like a full black interior with leather seating and a very practical reversing camera linked to the infotainment system – which now includes a touch screen display with an AUX input, USB input and Bluetooth functionality. Although satnav is not available, it’s a technology proving to be superfluous thanks to the quality and price of aftermarket units and the fact that GPS is standard on most smart phones.
Exterior highlights include stainless steel bumpers front and back as well as side steps and a tow bar. The headlights are slightly changed, too, as are the wheels – now painted anthracite. All the exterior options (tow bar excepted) are style items first and foremost. A quick look at the front and rear bumpers will tell you that they reduce approach and departure angles and that the matte black side steps will quickly get damaged on rocks or steep breakover angles. Under the skin, the seventh generation Hilux stays unchanged, remaining the great bakkie that it’s always been. But, if you’re keen on all the Legend 45’s added shine, you’ll be happy to know it’s a good value proposition. At only R10k more than the standard Hilux in its various guises, the Legend 45 pack will save you R15k compared to the cost if you specified all the added options yourself.