When it comes to a pick-up that’s right for the job, looking the part simply isn’t enough: you need muscle to match the looks. The new Toyota Hilux is strengthening its appeal with a new, more powerful 2.8-litre engine that maintains its reputation as one of the most competitive and capable models in its segment.

The new engine leads a series of technical, dynamic, styling and equipment upgrades for the world-famous “go-anywhere” Hilux. It powers new top-of-the-range Invincible X and (in addition to the current 2.4 unit) Invincible Double Cab models and is available with a choice of automatic or manual transmission.

The DOHC 16-valve 2,755cc turbodiesel unit generates 201bhp/150kW at 3,400rpm. Maximum torque is 500Nm with a six-speed automatic transmission, available between 1,600 and 2,800rpm. With manual transmission, the figure is 420Nm, delivered between 1,400 and 3,400rpm.

There’s a significant improvement in performance compared to Hilux’s established 2.4-litre unit, with 0-62mph acceleration reduced by 2.1 seconds to 10.7 seconds (automatic version). Despite the engine’s larger capacity and higher output, there is only a modest difference in fuel and emissions efficiency: official WLTP combined cycle data shows 28.5 – 30.0mpg and 246 – 259g/km with automatic transmission; 31.3 – 33.2mpg and 224 – 236g/km with manual transmission.

New Hilux maintains its one-tonne payload capacity and the ability to tow (braked) loads of up to 3.5 tonnes.

The key to this strong balance of performance and efficiency is design and engineering details throughout the engine’s construction. These include an optimised combustion chamber shape, pistons and piston rings, a DLC (diamond-like carbon) coating on the piston rings and slowing of the combustion gas flow to reduce cooling losses.

There is also a two-stage oil pump that can change the oil pressure as required, reducing the pump driving force when the engine is cold or operating under light loads and the friction caused by early piston warm-up.

The exhaust gas recirculation section of the intake manifold is designed to suppress variation in the gas and intake efficiency has been improved by dispensing with the swirl control valve. Further measures have adjusted catalyst capacity and performance to ensure compliance with Euro 6d emissions regulations.

The engine is quieter, too, with less vibration thanks to detailed adjustment to the shape of the intake manifold and the catalytic converter’s insulator.

New Hilux continues to offer the option of the successful 148bhp/110kW 2.4-litre turbodiesel unit fitted with a fuel and emissions-reducing stop-start system (excepting the entry level Active grade).

The new Toyota Hilux is available to order now with customer deliveries from late November.