The addition of 48V electric assistance to the 2.8-litre GD-6 engine brings improved efficiency and sharper acceleration to the Toyota Hilux and Fortuner.

Toyota is a petrol-electric hybrid pioneer, but it took them a surprisingly long time to apply this expertise to their commercial vehicle ranges. But, in line with its global commitment to hybridisation, Toyota has finally brought a mild-hybrid setup to high-end Hilux double-cabs and Fortuners as well. The rated outputs for these models remain unchanged, but the self-charging hybrid tech will fill in any off-boost torque gaps and should provide a smoother, more responsive driving experience.

Related: Shop for a new or used Toyota Hilux on CHANGECARS.

It’s no Prius

It’s important to note that this particular hybrid does not feature an eCVT, as is used in Toyota’s passenger cars. The normal 6-speed automatic remains unchanged, so the driving sensations should remain familiar to current owners, while variants with the manual transmission don’t receive the hybrid hardware at all.

Because the electric motor isn’t integrated into the transmission as with Toyota's other hybrids, a starter/motor/generator is hooked up to the well-regarded 2.8-litre GD-6 diesel engine via a drive belt instead. This system can add up to 12 kW and 65 Nm available on the crankshaft, augmenting the engine’s outputs while the turbo spools up.

The ultimate aim here isn’t to increase outright power, which is why the rated outputs remain pegged at 150 kW and 500 Nm. But, because the additional urge from the electric motor is instantly available, the effect of turbo lag will be greatly reduced when responding to sudden power demands from the driver, producing some useful urge while the turbo speeds up to its boost threshold.

The powerful motor-generator also enables a more aggressive start-stop regimen, which, combined with energy recovery under braking, brings about a 5% reduction in fuel consumption. And, when off-roading, the enhanced energy regeneration will enhance driver control over challenging terrain through more effective engine braking - thanks also in part to a reduced idle speed, which is now down to 600 r/min.

Related: Find your perfect new or used Toyota Fortuner for sale in this selection on CHANGECARS!

Over-engineered in the usual Toyota fashion

Integrated starter-alternator-motor units aren’t a new idea at all, but Toyota went to a lot of effort to ensure that this application will perform reliably for many years. To this end, they designed a new two-arm drive belt tensioner system and developed new materials for the drive belt to eradicate belt slip when wet. This should ensure longevity and durability even in adverse driving conditions.

The 48V battery uses lithium chemistry to handle thousands of charge/discharge cycles, weighs only 7.6 kg, and is compact enough to fit under the rear seat. Waterproofing was also a prime consideration, so the hybrid Hilux and Fortuner retain the 700 mm wading depth of other variants. See the Toyota Hilux Raider in the wild in this video review.

In all other aspects, the Hilux and Fortuner remain exactly as they were following their most recent facelifts. This includes the bi-tone paintwork, which is available on Fortuners at a R 10 500 price premium. Get more info about the Toyota Fortuner’s 2023 facelift in this MotorMatters video.

Hybrid Toyota Hilux prices

2.8 GD-6 Auto D/Cab Raider MHEV:  R 774 800

2.8 GD-6 Auto 4x4 D/Cab Raider MHEV: R 866 000

2.8 GD-6 Auto D/Cab Legend MHEV: R 869 100

2.8 GD-6 Auto 4x4 D/Cab Legend MHEV: R 921 800

2.8 GD-6 Auto D/Cab Legend RS MHEV:  R 967 500

2.8 GD-6 Auto 4x4 D/Cab Legend RS MHEV: R 1 023 400

Hybrid Toyota Fortuner prices

2.8 GD-6 Auto MHEV:  R 834 800

2.8 GD-6 4X4 Auto MHEV: R 918 600

2.8 GD-6 VX Auto MHEV: R 879 300

2.8 GD-6 4x4 VX Auto MHEV: R 961 800

Martin Pretorius


Related: Find the new or used Toyota to suit your needs in these CHANGECARS listing pages.