My new dream car: Toyota Hilux Double Cab 3.0 D4-D January 6, 2010Posted by oktyabr in consumer, movies, opinions, other cool stuff, personal, technology, television, vehicles, video.
I sat down to watch a little TV and spotted an episode of Top Gear, one of my favorite shows, had been recorded on my DVR. It was an episode I had never seen before so I would have watched it anyway but this particular episode was absolutely EPIC!
Titled “Top Gear Polar Special” this episode consisted of a race (like most episodes) that pits a “car” against something else… In this case the Top Gear crew were racing to see who would be first to make it from Resolute Nunavut, the northern most town in Canada, to the 1996 location of the magnetic north pole (the “pole” location wobbles over time), a distance of nearly 400 miles across polar bear infested frozen tundra, fragile sea ice and “boulder fields” in tempuratures dropping as low as -50!
One team, the “something else”, was made up of a sled pulled by ten very experienced dogs and their drivers, Richard Hammond and expert Matty McNair. The second team consisted of the other two Top Gear hosts, James May and Jeremy Clarkson, who got the “pleasure” of completing the race in a highly modified Toyota Hilux Double Cab 3.0 D4-D, which is now my new dream “car” 😉 Incidentally this show set a record as being the first team ever to reach the magnetic pole with a “road going vehicle”!
It was an excellent episode! Ranks highly in my opinion as one of the best episodes of this show ever (catch the episode where they ride motor scooters across Viet Nam for another great one!) If you live outside of North America (the US anyway) you can watch the whole episode online at the BBC Top Gear website. The rest of us can catch the show in pieces on youtube, find it on DVD and BlueRay, or if you are lucky, BBC America (check with your cable or sat provider), the channel I recorded the episode from, may very well run it again and you can catch it there.
What I really wanted this post to be about though, is the vehicle they used! Introducing the Toyota Hilux Double Cab 3.0 D4-D! I believe the one used in this particular episode was a 2005 model. “Hilux” is a very well known model name in just about every corner of the globe *except* in the United States! It is the fastest selling vehicle in South Africa, it’s made in Argentina and very popular on that continent too, and in fact the Hilux (an older model) has made an outstanding appearance on Top Gear before!
Here in the United States, for whatever reason, Toyota markets the similar (but NOT the same!) Toyota Tacoma instead. And the biggest difference? The incredible Hilux used in this challenge is powered by a 3.0 liter turbo diesel engine, NOT gas! Toyota has, in fact, been selling reliable, fuel efficient diesel powered trucks for many, many years, all over the world… EXCEPT in the United States!
I really can’t blame Toyota for this. Many companies I admire have been selling diesel versions of their vehicles elsewhere too, for a LONG time… The BMW 3 series diesels, for example, are quite popular in Europe and might actually make it to the US one day. One of the smaller versions actually outperforms the Prius for fuel economy! I know part of the problem has been that US refined diesel has not, at least until recently, met European “low sulfur” standards. This means our diesel is cheaper but also that it burns much more dirtier, and has a bad habit of wearing hard on the engines it powers, basically resulting in a fuel of such relatively low quality that if used in one of these “European standard” vehicles, like the Hilux or the BMW, it negates the manufacturers warranty! You can’t warrantee it because you’d go bankrupt replacing engines quite frequently (Note: BMW had to do a huge recall back in 1995 of some of their gas burning engines because the sulfur in our gasoline was eating away at the cylinder liners like acid!) How can you sell a vehicle in a competitive market place if you can’t warrantee it?
But, as I hinted at, the US is adopting clean diesel standards similar to those used in Europe and other parts of the world that should allow foreign made diesels like the Hilux (errr… the Tacoma) to make an appearance. I hope so, because I want one of them!