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Toyota Hilux vs Tacoma: Battle of the Ultimate Gladiators

  • Cars Explained
  • Xavier Sabastian
  • 4 minutes

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Toyota Hilux vs. Tacoma is the ultimate showdown between trucks. Multiple high-quality Toyota automobiles are available. Its legendary pickup trucks, however, are unrivaled. The Hilux is a very well-liked pickup truck all over the globe. But due to taxes and demographic differences, it has not been sold in the United States since the early 1990s. 

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Instead, Toyota designed the Tacoma series, which it advertises as being bulletproof. Both pickups are incredibly useful, sturdy, and capable of dominating any terrain you throw at them. However, the body style, dimensions, and powertrain choices are different. 

Hilux vs. Tacoma: design and size 

The Tacoma is a big truck, basically, an all-American truck , and as the saying goes: The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. But to the casual onlooker, the Tacoma and the Hilux might look identical, but they couldn’t be more different. 

The double-cab Tacoma is only about two inches wider than a comparable Hilux. The Tacoma’s dimensions are appropriate for use on American roads, which tend to be wider than those in many other countries. The Tacoma is slightly wider than the Hilux by about two inches. That’s to be expected, given that American roads and parking spots are typically larger than those in the Hilux’s major markets. 

The latest iteration of the Hilux shares the Tacoma’s trapezoidal profile but improves upon it with a more aerodynamic front and slimmer headlights. The wheel style is also more noticeable, and the body lines are sharper. There are, however, options for a heavily clad, rugged exterior. 

On the other hand, the Tacoma is blocky in appearance, with squinting headlights, a bulging fender, and a squared-off body shape. Both trucks went on sale in 2015. The Texas-built Tacoma is entering its third generation, while the Hilux is entering its eighth generation. 

Hilux vs. Tacoma: engine options 

Tacoma models sold in the United States have always been offered with basic but reliable engine choices. Most Tacomas are powered by a 3.5L V6 engine, but the base model comes with a 2.7L four-cylinder engine. The four-cylinder turbodiesel engine is the most common, but the Hilux also comes with a gasoline four-cylinder and V6 engine, depending on the market. 

New Hilux models feature a more powerful turbodiesel inline-four displacing 2.8 liters. It generates 369 lb-ft of torque and 201 hp. Customers shopping for a Tacoma can choose between a 159-horsepower 2.7-liter inline-four and a 278-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6. Only TRD models come with the choice of a manual transmission. All other features include a standard automatic transmission with six gears. 

The Tacoma can come with either rear- or front-wheel drive. The Hilux and the Tacoma both come with two- and four-door configurations and both have the option of long or short pickup beds. 

The Tacoma was purpose-built by Toyota to accommodate trailers, while the Hilux is better suited to hauling more weight. As for towing capacity, the Tacoma tops out at 6,800 pounds, while the Hilux maxes out at 6,172. On the other hand, Hilux can tow up to 2,240 pounds, while Tacoma’s maximum is only 1,685 pounds. 

Final Verdict 

So the question comes up; which one is better? 

In the battle of Toyota Tacoma vs. Hilux, there is no clear winner between the two pickups. Light trucks like the Hilux and Tacoma are designed for specific markets. Something that car owners in the Sahara would find desirable might not be ideal for a hitchhiker in Texas, and vice versa. 

Compared to the Tacoma, the Hilux has undergone more changes. Despite this, it is predicted that as we make the switch to electric vehicles, there will be a greater resemblance between the two designs in the future. Since the Tacoma is aimed at the American market, it may adopt hybrid and electric engine options more quickly than the Hilux. 

The current Tacoma platform has been in use for quite some time, so when a replacement does arrive, we can expect to see a move away from naturally aspirated engines and toward turbocharging and hybrid technology. It has yet to be seen if the Hilux experiences this. But for the time being- Toyota Tacoma vs. Hilux, they will remain separate products with their own target audiences. 

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