We’re in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, for the launch of the Toyota Hilux 3.0G, the new range topper of the best selling pick-up in Malaysia. The 3.0G can only be had with an automatic transmission (4-speed) and 4WD. While the 2.5L model is locally assembled, this 3.0G is imported CBU from Thailand. The OTR price with insurance is RM106,000 (individual private, Pen. Malaysia).

This 3.0-litre D-4D engine is the 1KD-FTV engine with commonrail injection and intercooler. Unlike the 2.5, the turbo here is a variable nozzle unit (VNT), which vanes are adjustable for optimum exhaust pressure and flow speed into the turbine. It pumps out 163 PS and 343 Nm, a huge jump from the Hilux 2.5’s 102 PS and 260 Nm.

The higher torque is also produced lower in the rev range and sustained for longer – 1,400-3,200 rpm compared to 1,600-2,400 rpm in the 2.5. Toyota doesn’t provide performance figures, but since weight is only up by 55 kg over the 2.5G auto, acceleration should be much better. For comparison, the RM101,980 Mitsubishi Triton 3.2 has 160 PS/343 Nm while the RM105,800 Nissan Navara 2.5 LE has 174 PS/403 Nm.

From the exterior, there’s little to tell the 3.0G apart from lesser models except for the stickers and air scoop on the bonnet, which is functional. As you can see from the gallery, it feeds air to the top mounted intercooler. The chrome wing mirrors aren’t new, but they are now power retractable. The signal lamps have clear lenses. A bedliner and sport bar are optional.

Inside, the 3.0G adds on some exclusive kit, such as the Optitron meter panel and multi-information display, which sits on top of the centre stack next to the clock. The MID can read out ambient temperature, compass direction and all regular trip computer info. Another obvious upgrade is the 2-DIN audio system, which has USB and AUX jacks, besides being MP3 compatible. It’s linked to six speakers. Also, there are now seatbelt reminders for both driver and passenger, who also get an airbag each.

It was revealed that the Hilux commands a staggering 44% market share in the double cab pick-up market, and the 3.0G will no doubt widen the margin between the Toyota and its rivals as the Hilux is already the leader in East Malaysia despite just having a 2.5 all this while. A big gallery awaits you after the jump.

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