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Toyota Hilux review
There was a time when you’d only ever see a Toyota Hilux at a building site or farmyard. And there was a good reason for that; like the rest of its pick-up rivals, it may have been very capable off-road and blessed with legendary reliability, but it was slow, unrefined and uncomfortable on the road.
Fast forward to the present day, though, and pick-ups have become an increasingly popular alternative to large SUVs. While improvements to how they drive have helped to broaden their appeal, we suspect the tax savings available to company car users are more of an incentive.
You see, any pick-up with a payload of 1000kg or more is classed as a Light Commercial Vehicle, which, in finance terms, means a fixed road tax and a benefit-in-kind (BIK) price based on age, regardless of how big it is, how thirsty the engine is or how much it costs to buy.
Like most of its rivals, the Hilux is available with a two-seat Single Cab, an Extra Cab with a couple of occasional rear seats or a full Double Cab. With four doors and usable rear seats, it’s no surprise that the Double Cab is the most popular option. As for engines, 4×4 toyota hilux stickers there’s a 2.4-litre diesel with 148bhp and a more potent 201bhp 2.8-litre diesel. Both can be paired with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearbox.
Performance & drive
We’d recommend opting for the more powerful 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel engine in the Toyota Hilux as its 201bhp gives far punchier performance than the significantly slower 2.4-litre. If, like many, you decide to go for the six-speed automatic gearbox rather than the manual option, the former hauls itself from 0-62mph in a decent 10.7sec, with the latter taking an additional 2.1sec to cover the same sprint. Both have plenty of low-down shove that’ll make towing pretty painless, it’s just you’ll have fewer irate drivers behind you with a 2.8 up front.
The bigger engine also means you won’t be working the engine quite so hard in all situations; no bad thing as both of them sound pretty agricultural when pushed – you’ll find a Ford Ranger or Ssangyong Musso a bit less grumbly. However, settle down to a cruise and you’ll find the engine’s pretty muted, to the extent that the wind whistling around the big mirrors will prove more of a distraction.
Although the six-speed manual gearbox demands that you move the gearlever an almost truck-like a long way, it’s surprisingly slick, beating the Nissan Navara for shift quality. Unusually, the automatic ‘box actually improves performance on the 2.4-litre, if not the 2.8, bizarrely. It feels very old school, slurring heavily between gear changes and taking a while to change up gears, but will at least make for a more relaxing experience when trying to manoeuvre the Hilux’s huge frame around country lanes.
Because the Hilux is designed to deal with huge weights in its bed, the rear suspension is pretty stiff. This causes the back of the truck to feel a little bouncy over speed bumps and rough roads, a trait shared with all other pick-ups. It’s by no means the worst, with the Musso and Isuzu D-Max proving even more jittery, although the Ranger provides a smoother ride, especially if you opt for a Ranger Raptor.
While stiff suspension usually helps handling, the Hilux quickly feels out of its depth if you pitch it into a corner hard. Its soft front suspension means lots of body lean and you don’t have to be going fast for the tyres to start squealing and then run out of grip. Should cornering smarts be high on your priorities, you probably shouldn’t be looking at a pick-up at all, although the Musso and especially the Ranger are more accomplished.
Off the road, the 4×4 toyota hilux stickers is virtually unstoppable. All models get selectable four-wheel drive with high and low range gearing for particularly demanding ascents. If that’s not enough, a switchable rear diff-lock is standard to get you out of really sticky situations. There’s also hill descent control – an electronic system that helps prevent the car sliding down a steep hill – and plenty of other tech, so muddy, uneven hills shouldn’t be too tricky.
With 60mm more ground clearance and a larger obstacle-approach angle than the Ranger, the Hilux can take on rocky surfaces with ease, although it can’t quite wade as deep as the Ford (700mm against 800mm respectively.)
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