The following morning after the launch of the all-new Toyota Hilux in Clark, Pampanga, we were part of a select group of journalists who were whisked to a "secret destination"--one that required a route that would show off the new pickup's off-road capabilities. So while the other media personnel drove the Hilux on pavement around the Widus Hotel, we cut through the Sacobia River to reach Mount Pinatubo.
Now, to be clear, we had attended countless ride-and-drive events featuring new pickups and SUVs that had also successfully conquered Pinatubo. Ho-hum, we told ourselves silently. But perhaps we were missing something here. So we asked the head driving instructor for the event, off-road driving expert Beeboy Bargas: "Just what exactly makes the all-new Hilux special as an off-road vehicle?"
Translation: Why do we even have to pretend like we're excited to be here when we've done this dozens of times with lesser 4x4 vehicles?
Bargas replied: "The all-new Hilux is the only pickup on the market right now that comes equipped with a standard rear locking differential."
Yep, that's right: The latest-generation Hilux already has a rear diff lock straight out of the showroom. No need to spend a hundred thousand pesos more for some aftermarket installation.
And what does this rear diff lock do?
Well, a locking differential offers more traction by "locking" both rear wheels to the same rotational speed regardless of the available traction each wheel has on varying surfaces. Which should more easily get you out of a sticky situation should your vehicle get bogged by loose terra firma. And activating this rear diff lock is as convenient as pushing a button sitting next to the 12V power socket on the center console.
Diff locks are popular aftermarket accessories among 4x4 drivers. It's like having a cheat code when the going gets really tough. Imagine a brand-new pickup having that cheat code right out of the box. That's the all-new Hilux.
Photos by Vernon B. Sarne