The event was held at the grounds of the Toyota Service Centre in Bukit Raja, Klang, where an off-road course was specifically built to test out the off-road capabilities of both the Hilux and Fortuner. We were also allowed to enter the Toyota testing ground facility where we could perform high speed tests among others.
The Hilux now features an all new diesel Intercooler VNT engines which comes in two displacements - the 2.4 litre and 2.8 litre. The latter produces 177PS at 3,400rpm and 450Nm of torque from 1,600 - 2,400rpm and this was the one we tested.
The tremendous twisting force the 2.8G variant produces, that by simply engaging the new six-speed automatic transmission, the car was moving along gingerly without even touching the accelerator. That had already impressed us. Equally impressive was its off-road capabilities especially through the elephant steps.
With the amount of torque and the new Active Traction Control (A-TRC) system which acts as a limited slip differential, it helps you overcome the obstacles with ease. In fact, we had to be gentler on the accelerator because the Hilux would just jump at the slightest touch.
Climbing up a 30 degree hill slope allowed us to test the Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) where you could just stop the car, lift your foot off the brakes and it would hold it there for three seconds.
What was really astounding though was the very low levels of noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) in the cabin and the superb suspension which consists of an independent double wishbone with coil spring in the front and leaf spring with rigid axle in the rear. Even the rattle of the diesel engine was hard to detect.
While you can’t escape the motions going through a very bumpy terrain, there was no rattling or knocking sounds coming out of the car. And you can hit high speeds on the Hilux with confidence as it is stable and the power delivery is linear and smooth.
The 2.8 also has premium features such as smart entry and push start, a 2-DIN Head Unit DVD player with 6.1in touchscreen, LED projector headlamps and LED daytime running lights, reverse camera and seven airbags.
The Fortuner is also capable of going off-road as the Hilux but where it really stands out is its exterior design. It looks sleek and streamlined and the blacked out C-pillars gives it a floating roofline appearance which can be found on the luxury Lexus RX model.
The Fortuner comes in two variants - a 2.4 litre diesel and 2.7 petrol engine. The latter has more premium features with the impressive interior consisting of dark brown combination leather seats and wood trim. The design of the centre dash is also eye catching and overall, the Fortuner exudes a premium feel to it compared to the previous generation.
The new Hilux is available in six variants in manual or automatic transmissions and prices start from RM89,900. The prices for the new Fortuner start at RM189,900.