UMW Toyota Motor have launched an improved engine variant, their 2.5 litre D-4D Common Rail Turbo Diesel for both the Hilux and Fortuner models now comes with Intercooler Variable Nozzle Turbo (VNT), for more power and torque. And to promote the launch, they organised an off-road media-only test-drive of the Hilux VNT at the Royal Belum National Park in Perak recently.

Relevant Listings

This new Intercooler VNT has the same turbocharger technology found only in the 3.0 litre engine of their current Toyota Hilux Double Cab 3.0G AT 4X4 and it replaces the conventional turbo in the current 2.5G models. It improves engine power and torque by optimising exhaust gas pressure and flow speed going into the turbine according to demand conditions. Basically, at slow speeds when exhaust gas pressure is too low to spin the turbine, the vanes can automatically adjust their opening angle to be narrow, increasing the exhaust gas flow speed and pressure which results in improved output.

The 2.5 litre D-4D Common Rail Turbo Diesel engine with Intercooler VNT now outputs 142 hp at 3,400 rpm which is a 40 hp jump from 100 hp at 3,600 rpm in the engine without VNT. Torque figures sees a significant increase to a mighty 343 Nm from a weak 260 Nm and this increased torque is available from as low as 1,400 rpm to 3,200 rpm.

Of course the difference is marginal and can only be felt by comparing the two engines together. For this, Toyota had organised 10 units of the Hilux with the VNT and another 10 units without, especially for invited media members to do their comparison.

Covering a total distance of 380 km from Toyota’s headquarters in Shah Alam to the Royal Belum National Park in Perak, the media got to experience the power difference by switching the two cars at a mid-point lunch stop at Indulgence restaurant in Ipoh. Three media members shared a vehicle together with driver changes at designated spots for the first 210 km to Ipoh before changing cars for another 170 km to Belum.

Personally, I did feel quite a disparity in power and torque especially during overtaking. While the VNT model can perform overtaking rather well, it’s quite a struggle for the non-VNT model. The non-VNT model seemed like it was choking and wheezing with acceleration that is quite bad if compared to the VNT equipped.

Apart from the power differences, the two Hiluxes looks exactly the same except for one small exterior difference. The new Hilux not only took the VNT from the 3.0G but also the hood air-scoop. The intercooler for the VNT is top-mounted and requires a scoop to direct air into it to cool down the hot air from the turbine before it enters the intake. The older engine without the top-mount intercooler doesn’t need the scoop.

Another small difference between the two is on the interior.  A new Bluetooth feature is now available through a new 2-DIN audio system that allows connection with a smartphone for music or calls. There’s also an AUX-Jack and USB Port if your phone is not so smart. I didn’t test this feature out as I don’t store music in my phone.

What I did get to test was the vehicle’s capabilities on a rugged environment. As soon the our convoy reached the national park, Toyota had organised an off-road excursion through narrow dirt trails that leads up a big hill somewhere deep inside Belum’s jungle.

Although the photos don’t show it, the trail was actually quite rough with steep elevations as high as about 50 degrees at some points. We switched the transmission to four wheel drive and we given basic instructions on how to handle such terrain before executing it. I threaded up the trail slowly but confidently, knowing that the extra power and torque on the VNT will get us up to the summit of this… hill, which we did, effortlessly. Yes, I was quite impressed.

Once at the summit, there was a short tea break and a group photo session before we headed back down. The off-road test session ended with a short photo session of the vehicle in the midst of nature before we retired at the Belum Rainforest Resort on Pulau Banding in Perak.

The current Toyota Hilux has always been a popular vehicle as it is the market leader in it’s segment with about 120,000 units sold since it was launched way back in 2005. It has built a good reputation of being both durable and reliable, and after my off-road test, I can add that this new Hilux with Intercooler VNT quite a capable vehicle too.

Bearing an on-the-road with insurance price of RM99,988 for the new Toyota Hilux Double Cab 2.5G AT 4X4, it is also an affordable vehicle that can easily achieve Toyota’s target of a 40 percent sales increase. It’s durable, reliable, capable and affordable, and will maintain it’s position as one of the best pick-up trucks in Malaysia.

Alternatively, the 2.5 litre D-4D Common Rail Turbo Diesel for their Toyota Fortuner model is also equipped with Intercooler VNT but is priced much higher at RM171,288.

2012 Toyota Hilux VNT
Price (RM) RM99,988 OTR
Engine Type D-4D Common Rail Turbo Diesel
Displacement 2.5 Litre Intercooler VNT
Power 142 hp @ 3,400 rpm
Torque 343 Nm @ 1,600 – 3,200 rpm
Brakes Ventilated Disc (F), Drum (R)
Gearbox 4-Speed Automatic with ECT
Kerb Weight 1,885 kg
Wheelbase 3,085 mm
Length 5,260 mm
Width 1,835 mm
Height 1,850 mm
Tyres 255/60
Wheels 15-inch Alloy

TOYOTA HILUX DOUBLE CAB 3.0G AT 4×4 : RM107,267Listed below are the price list for other models of both the new Hilux and Fortuner :

TOYOTA HILUX DOUBLE CAB 2.5G AT 4×4 : RM99,988
TOYOTA HILUX DOUBLE CAB 2.5G MT 4×4 : RM94,988
TOYOTA HILUX DOUBLE CAB 2.5 STD MT 4×4 : RM86,788
TOYOTA HILUX SINGLE CAB 2.5 MT 4×4 : RM76,288

TOYOTA FORTUNER 2.7V (P) AT TRD SPORTIVO :RM182,465
TOYOTA FORTUNER 2.7V (P) AT :RM179,007
TOYOTA FORTUNER 2.5G (D) AT TRD SPORTIVO :RM174,772
TOYOTA FORTUNER 2.5G (D) AT :RM171,288