toyota hilux main 630Enlarge Photo
For us in the States, the Hilux is somewhat of an unknown quantity, since this truck was never sold under that name in the North American market. Unbeknownst to the unwitting American compact truck-driving public, however, the super reliable, though admittedly rusty, third through fifth generations of the Hilux in the 1980s were sold here as Toyota pickups.
During the mid-1990s, Toyota decided the world was too big to be adequately serviced by just one form of compact pickup. In 1995 the Toyota Tacoma was born for sale in the U.S. While it was based on the Hilux pickup, Toyota allowed the evolution of the Tacoma to accommodate for American vehicle preferences. For starters, the Tacoma is a bit "supersized" for a compact truck to cater to us "supersized" Americans.
If the Hilux lives up to even a fraction of what the slickly produced Top Gear video showcased about the vehicle's off-road prowess, we in the States just might be missin' out. With the compact truck market taking such a beating in recent days, maybe Toyota might see fit to reunite the Hilux and Tacoma bloodlines and downsize its next generation of compact trucks.
If you have some time to kill, head over to YouTube and check out the arctic exploits of the Toyota Hilux on the Top Gear polar special, which airs in three individual videos, the first of which is embedded below. Enjoy!