Toyota Hilux Legend 45 driven

You’d swear the Toyota Hilux has had an unimpeded run on the bakkie market with milestones as impressive as these. 13 million sold worldwide; 969 939 sold in SA (as of Sep 2014 with a guestimate 1 million local sales by second quarter 2015), and market leadership for 43 years. The truth; however, is the proudly South Africa bakkie has weathered tough times in the LCV market, staving-off wave after wave of attack from leaf-sprung interlopers trying to muscle into its territory.The current platform was introduced in 2005 and in that time the Ford Ranger has done more than just move the bakkie market on, it’s changed the rules completely. As has the VW Amarok, and the highly capable Isuzu KB; and let’s not forget the upcoming replacement to the Nissan Navara we await with baited breath. To this end Toyota has developed and renewed the Hilux, and healthy competition leads to a vehicle with numerous and successive improvements.

This is where the Legend 45 comes in. You won’t find any mechanical changed underneath the metal but what the Legend 45 represents is a replacement for top-end Raider models (which now fall away), resulting in 13 different variants across 4×2 Raised Body (RB), 4×4 and all single-cab, xtra-cab and double-cab variants. How you’ll distinguish the Legend 45 from a garden-variety Hilux is the new blinged-up details. Something new for the normally conservative Hilux but stuff used to enhance the vehicle’s moderness and overall appeal all the same.The exclusive exterior treatment includes: blacked-out headlamps and front fog lamps, smoked tail lights, stainless steel front nudge bar and rear step bumper, multi-spoke 17-inch anthracite-colour alloys (as you’ll find on the Dakar edition), a towbar fitted standard, black side steps, and finally, loads of Legend 45 badging. The Legend 45-branded tonneau cover and rear styling bar; however, don’t come standard and they’ve could’ve surely thrown those in for the price of admission.

The inside shows great improvement being both tastefully and liberally specced; and when last did you think that of a Hilux bakkie. With a full black interior including the dashboard, the typical two-tone Hilux style is pleasantly gone. Black leather comes with silver contrast stitching on the seats, door panels and steering wheel. A reverse camera is now added to all double-cabs and all 3.0 D-4D and 4.0 V6 double-cab models come standard with a full suite of luxury and safety accoutrements: auto climate control, auto lights, multi-function steering wheel and display audio, six airbags and stability control.To mark the Legend 45’s arrival, Toyota set out a gruelling 800km road trip to Graaf Reinet dubbed ‘the legendary road trip’. Why Graaf Reinet you ask? Well, Toyota is one of the title sponsors for a project called ‘The Giant Flag’ – an initiative which in three years hopes to see a giant SA flag made from succulents in the Camdeboo region of the Karoo. It will span 66 hectares, will be visible from space, and consist of two and a half million plants with a four megawatt solar field incorporated into it. Toyota assures us the environmental impact of this project has been verified. Moreover, the project will create over 700 jobs in the local community. A fitting reason to make the long trip from George in the Western Cape to the Karoo in a Legend 45, I’m sure you’ll agree.

As far as the car goes, it’s quintessentially Hilux. A pure distillation of toughness and versatility that’s largely unchanged over its ten-year tenure; and the double-cab 3.0 D-4D auto we had at our disposal didn’t put a foot wrong the entire trip over tar, sand or gravel. The new interior leather and luxuries were a welcome addition and immediately put me in mind of the original derivation of the name ‘Hilux’; namely, a merging of ‘High’ (as in ride height) and ‘Luxury’ (as in what the Legend 45 by all rights achieves today).With the road trip done and The Giant Flag project unveiled, as an added bonus I returned back to the Western Cape and spent the weekend at the Atlantis dunes 4×4 fun-day. Those of you who know your Hilux trivia will know Atlantis is of course the venue where a Guinness World Record for the most Hilux 4x4s in one place was set when 495 came together on October 30th October 2010. Much fun in the sun, and sand, and wind, in the new Legend 45 was had. I wasn’t participating myself but instead was offering moral support from the back seat to my fiance competing in the Legend 45. On the dunes the tried-and-tested D-4D performed brilliantly with its easily accessible torque, and the sure-footed grip and handling on the sand couldn’t be faulted.

Where to next for the Hilux? Well, the eight-generation will most likely only join us in 2016 but until then there’s still a formidable bakkie in our midst in the form of the Legend 45. And let’s not forget the upcoming milestone of one million Hiluxs sold locally, awaiting us sometime in 2015. Boy, will that be a party to be savouredToyota Hilux Legend 45 pricing:
2.7 VVTi 4×2 RB – R300 200
3.0 D-4D 4×2 RB – R345 100
3.0 D-4D 4×4 – R401 200
Legend 45 Xtra-Cab
3.0 D-4D 4×2 RB – R374 100
3.0 D-4D 4×4 – R430 400
Legend 45 Double-Cab
2.5 D-4D 4×2 RB – R411 900
2.7 VVTi 4×2 RB – R377 900
3.0 D-4D 4×2 RB – R438 300
3.0 D-4D 4×2 RB auto – R452 000
3.0 D-4D 4×4 – R495 500
3.0 D-4D 4×4 auto – R509 300
4.0 V6 4×2 RB auto – R451 200
4.0V6 4×4 auto – R533 900


Welcome to my corner of the automotive world! I'm Mandy Lawson, better known as mandla85, and I'm absolutely obsessed with everything related to cars and motorsports. You bet I'm interested if it has four wheels (or sometimes two!) and an engine. For me, cars aren't just a means of transportation; they're a passion, a lifestyle, and an endless source of fascination. I love diving into the world of automotive engineering and design, exploring the latest trends, and uncovering the stories behind the machines. Email / Facebook