When Ford introduced its all new Ranger in late 2011, Toyota knew their HiLux was in trouble in the retail market. So they acted by upgrading the model range with a heap of new features and dropping the prices, sometimes by as much as $5,000 plus.
The HiLux has always had an enviable reputation especially in the commercial market, e.g. in mines etc. However the ‘unbreakable’ tag isn’t quite so strong now.
HiLux now comes with the choice of three cabins – Single, Xtra and Double Cab; two styles – pick-up and cab-chassis; three equipment grades – WorkMate, SR and SR5; three engines – 2.7-litre four-cylinder petrol, 4.0-litre V6 petrol and a 3.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel; the choice of two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive; and 5 Speed manual or automatic transmissions.
Toyota’s HiLux range now starts with the 4×2 WorkMate Single Cab cab-chassis at $18,990 through to the range topping 4×4 SR5 turbo-diesel Dual Cab at approximately $58,332 RDAP.
HiLux interiors have been updated where the centre stack features new controls for the heating and ventilation system and, for SR5 variants, automatic climate control has been added to the air-conditioning.
A major improvement is the addition of advanced new audio systems on all variants. Depending on the grade, they feature voice recognition, touch screen, radio text, 3D graphics for the satellite navigation and safety warnings for school zones and speed and red-light cameras. As part of these audio upgrades, all SR5 models will come with satellite navigation as standard, viewed on the 6.1-inch LCD touch screen.
Seating is comfortable however like a lot dual cab utes the driver’s seat could have more travel. Overall there is adequate room but the rear passengers may be a little cramped especially if there are three of them.
Safety has improved as well with the following now on various models, not all though. Anti-Skid Brakes (ABS) Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD) Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control (TRC), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), front and side and curtain airbags, seat belt pre-tensioners etc.
On road handling is a little bouncy especially if the tray is empty however off road on sand or almost anywhere you may point the HiLux it remains composed and will take everything in its stride. It’s here that the HiLux shines and the reason they are so popular.
The lack of power shows up when towing heavy loads. Toyota has a habit of under powering their engines, but at the same time they are under stressed. It’s just very noticeable how far the competition has come with more powerful engines and 6 speed boxes the standard.
No one is ever really disappointed by buying a HiLux, it will do what you want and the enviable reputation is richly deserved, however there are better choices for those that want to tow heavy trailers especially off road.
For the recreational off road driver that also likes to tow the SR variant is probably the lick of the bunch, but the SR5 has more goodies and is more popular in this segment.
What is Good
• Off Road ability
• Build Quality
What is Not so Good
• Underpowered engine
• Low Tow rating
• unladen ride
Model Toyota Hilux SR5 5 Speed Auto
Model Price $58,332 RDAP
Engine 3.0L DD4
Drivetrain 5sp Auto 4X4 part time
Power 126 Kw @ 3,6000 rpm
Torque 343 Nm @ 1,400 rpm
Safety 4 Star ANCAP
CO2 Emissions g/km 219
Green Vehicle Rating 2 ½ Star
Fuel (ADR comb) 9.3 L/100Km
Tow Capacity – Max 2500 kg
Tow Ball Rating 250 kg
Warranty 3yr/ 100,000 km
Overall OzRoamer Rating 70/100
Behind the Wheel 7
Ride & Handling 7
Fit for Purpose 8
Towing Ability 6
Off Road Ability 8
Value for Money 7