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Durable, dependable Toyota Hilux makes even stronger case for itself

PUBLISHED: 07:31 06 October 2016

Mighty Toyota Hilux is a born survivor when the going gets tough and is now more pleasant to drive on-road.

Mighty Toyota Hilux is a born survivor when the going gets tough and is now more pleasant to drive on-road.

Toyota

The Hilux is a byword for reliability and dependability. We find out how Toyota's all-new version of its famous pick-up stacks up.

What’s new?

You’d be forgiven for not spotting much of a recipe change in the latest Toyota Hilux. You might even need to see the two vehicles side-by-side to appreciate any difference, but the new Hilux really is a new car.

Most obvious from the outside is the new ‘Keen Look’ Toyota face, while the engine options have slimmed down to a single 2.4-litre direct-injection diesel unit.

Toyota Hilux

Model: Toyota Hilux Double Cab Invincible X £33,765 including VAT (range from £22,955)

Engine: 2.4-litre, 148bhp, four-cyliner turbo diesel producing 295lbf.ft of torque

Transmission: Six-speed manual with selectable four-wheel drive

Performance: 0-62mph 12.8 seconds; top speed 106mph

MPG: 40.4 combined

CO2 emissions: 185g/km

Looks and image

The Hilux name carries with it a dependable image. You know you’re getting something that will survive. It has a pretty imposing road presence too.

The new external treatment brings the appeal of the Hilux up a level though. It’s a good-looker in addition to all of its other qualities.

Space and practicality

It seems unlikely anyone will have any complaints about the Hilux when it comes to space or practicality.

The load bay is more than 10cm wider, giving it a load area of around 2.5 square metres, with a one-tonne payload. The Hilux is also rated to tow up to 3.5 tonnes.

Cabin space has been improved too, with 8mm more headroom and 19mm more shoulder room in the front. In the rear, there’s room for three abreast, with only a small bump for the transmission tunnel in the floor. There are plenty of cubbies dotted about the cabin too.

Behind the wheel

The Hilux enjoys an electronic switchable two and four-wheel drive mode, with high and low-ratio options in four-wheel drive. In combination with the electronic aids like active traction control, downhill assist control and hill-start assist, the Hilux has rather good off-road manners, tackling a pretty brutal forest course – on road tyres – without too many complaints. This included a river fording with the water lapping at the top of the bonnet.

On the road, the Hilux is still clearly a truck, toting a ladder chassis and leaf springs, but attempts have been made to civilise things a little. The frame has been made stiffer and the number of spot welds on the body increased to resist flexing, while the springs have been lengthened and mounted differently to make it ride more like a sport utility vehicle.

It’s an improvement and, combined with the more accurate steering, Toyota has created a more pleasant driving experience.

Value for money

How much value the Hilux represents depends on whether you can claim back the VAT which makes the difference between our Invincible X version setting you back £28,185 or £33,765.

In either case you get the colossal Hilux with DAB, Bluetooth, Toyota Touch 2 with Go multimedia, smart entry and start, LED headlights, electric adjusting steering wheel and door mirrors, full leather interior with heated front seats and automatic air-conditioning.

The Hilux tends to resist depreciation pretty well, too, so retained value ought to be reasonably strong.

Who would buy one?

Businesses that operate far from the beaten track, or those that habitually lug heavy equipment, and need something to double as a family car.

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