Toyota Hilux 'is spacious and robust'
Thursday 17 May 2012 | By Evolution InternetBack to Newsroom
The Toyota Hilux is one of the toughest pick-up trucks on the market, which explains its appeal as both a family car and a commercial vehicle (CV).
Introduced back in 1968, the Hilux range has a proud tradition and has picked up a string of awards during its time on the market, with the V6 Xtracab SR5 named Motor Trend magazine's truck of the year for 1988.
While the Hilux's dual cab makes it a more than capable family transporter, it's as a CV that the pick-up truck really shines.
The vehicle is capable of shifting loads of more than 1,000 kg and has a pretty generous cargo bay, measuring 1,545 x 1,515 x 450 mm.
Fuel economy is never the biggest selling point for pick-up trucks, but the 3.0-litre diesel manual Hilux delivers a fairly respectable 36.69 mpg combined, while the 3.0-litre diesel automatic and 2.5-litre diesel manual offer 32.85 and 38.7 mpg respectively. CO2 emissions vary from 194 g/km for the 2.5-litre diesel manual to 227 g/km for the 3.0-litre diesel automatic.
If anyone has any doubts over the toughness of the Hilux, they only need to cast their mind back to a series of tests conducted by Top Gear. The BBC motoring show set the pick-up on fire, drowned it and dropped a caravan on it, but were unable to break the hardy vehicle.
When it first hit the market, the Toyota Hilux was a pretty spartan vehicle, with little in the way of luxury extras. This has all changed with more recent versions of the pick-up, with the latest range featuring options such as a tachometer, ABS and a load-sensing proportion system.
The Hilux also boasts an array of additional storage areas, including a lockable glove box and a space in the central tunnel and armrest.
Pick-ups are traditionally afflicted by bumpy ride quality as they are designed with off-road motoring in mind, but the build of the Hilux means this is less of a problem than with other models. The Hilux Invincible features a stiffer chassis and wishbone front suspension, reducing the bounce that affects many of its rivals.
Praising the Hilux, VansA2Z described the pick-up truck as "extraordinarily robust" and said it is one of the world's only "truly global" commercial vehicles.
The publication was impressed with the truck's on-road performance, commenting: "Hilux rides and handles remarkably well for a pick-up of its size. It's no slouch off-road either, with plenty of torque on tap."
Referring to the many high-profile issues that blighted Toyota's car range, the reviewer stressed that these problems have not affected the manufacturer's commercial vehicles, which is sure to be welcomed by prospective pick-up truck leasing customers.
What Car? handed the Hilux a steady score of three stars out of five. It said the vehicle is decent to drive, with a sizeable load bay and a solid, flexible cabin, and stated that most of its advantages are offered to commercial users.
However, it warned that the vehicle does have some shortcomings, including slightly heavy parking and the lack of seat adjustment. The publication also claimed the 101 bhp diesel engine struggles even when there's no cargo in the load bay.
Auto Express had fewer misgivings about the Hilux, handing it a strong rating of four stars out of five and reserving praise for the vehicle's durability.
Good forward visibility and "light" controls mean the Hilux is surprisingly easy to drive in urban settings and the new version is also much more agile than its predecessors, the reviewer insisted.
Although it described the 2.5-litre engine as "durable", Auto Express recommended the 3.0-litre option from the Toyota Land Cruiser.
"Acceleration is impressive for such a large machine and it's more refined at a cruise. An optional automatic gearbox is available, too," the publication commented.
It went on to declare that the new Hilux feels less utilitarian than previous iterations, with comfort-enhancing upgrades including a larger cabin and a "quality" dashboard.
The vehicle's value for money, bulletproof reliability and fuel economy - which compares favourably with the Land Rover Freelander Td4 - were also marked out as positives.