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Toyota 4x4 Trucks, New vs. Old

A 1980 Hilux vs. a 2020 Tacoma Double Cab SR.

A lot has changed since 1980. Many things are better, and many problems still plague Americans and all humans around the world. We could wax poetic on what's better about the world and what isn't, but we are realists. You are not here to hear us stand on a geopolitical soapbox. Instead let's talk about what has changed in Toyota pickups since 1980, while standing on a Four Wheeler Network soapbox. We can do this with text, and opinions, and, more important, visually thanks to our friend and Overland Adventure 2020 participant Ryan Kennelly and his 1980 Toyota Hilux. This truck is typical of any of Toyota's 4x4 trucks sold in the U.S. in 1980. It has a carbureted 2.2L four-cyl (20R) engine, a four-speed transmission, a two-speed transfer case, ladder frame, solid front and rear axles, a bench seat, a bed, a cab, and more. As a comparison we have a 2020 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4x4 SR. It has a 3.5L Direct injected V-6 (2GR-FKS), six-speed automatic transmission, a two-speed transfer case, a ladder frame, IFS and a solid rear axle, seating for five, a bed, a cab, and more. It's a base model with a surprising amount of options, a few that most would consider upgrades. Some things have stayed the same, and a few changes have been made that we, at least, wish Toyota had kept the same. Check it out.

Size Matters?

Back in 1980 the Toyota Hilux 4x4 pickup was decidedly a mini-truck. The 2020 Tacoma Double Cab 4x4 SR is on the large side of mid-sized. The Hilux has a curb weight of 2,910 pounds (1,320 kilograms) while the Tacoma Double Cab V-6 4x4 short bed weighs in at 4,445 pounds (2,016 kilograms). A 1980 Ford F-100 with short bed, a V-8, and 4x4 has a curb weight of about 4,500 to 5,200 pounds for comparison. Length is also different. Wheelbase on a double cab 4x4 third-gen Tacoma is 127.4 inches (3,236mm), while a third-gen Toyota Hilux short bed has a wheelbase of 101.8 inches (2,585mm). Overall width and length for the Hilux short-bed is 63.4 inches (1,610mm) and 169.3 inches (4,300mm), while the Tacoma is 75.2 inches wide (191mm) and 212.3 in (5,392 mm) long overall for a Double Cab short bed. Tires as shown are 285/70R17 (32.7 inches) for the Tacoma and 31x10.50R15 for the Hilux.

New vs. Old, Tacoma V6 Double Cab vs. Hilux

Price: Tacoma starts at $26,880, Hlilux was $6,948

Power and Torque: Tacoma V-6 makes 278 hp and 265 lb-ft, while the 20R makes 90 hp and 122 lb-ft

Axle Gears: Tacoma has 3.91:1 axle gears, while the Hilux sports what sure seem to be 4.88:1 gears, but 4.56:1 may be more common.

Transmission Gears: Tacoma has 3.6:1 1st and 2 ODs with .69:1 (5th) and .58:1 (6th) and a 3.9:1 1st in the 6-speed manual with a .85:1 5th and .71:1 6th, the Hilux has 3.67:1 1st and a 1:1 4th gear.

T-Case Gears: Tacoma has a 2.57:1 low range, while the Hilux has 2.28:1 low-range gears.

Crawl Ratio: Tacoma 36.2:1 (39.2:1 manual), Hilux 40.8:1 (38.2:1 with 4.56 axle gears).