Since 1968 Toyota have been a firm favourite in the commercial sector with its Hilux pick-up and this latest model is set to remain popular.
Now in its eighth generation the Hilux has never looked better, nor been more capable and carries on the renowned reliability the Toyota badge carries. At a glance the latest Hilux has quite a road presence, just like that of the Ford Ranger, maybe even a bit Americanised for want of a word in its bulky styling.
This model tested thanks to Conor at Charles Hurst Toyota on the Boucher Road, Belfast is the range topping ‘Invincible X’ and is finished in the nicest colour available in my eyes – Nebula Blue. All but one of the eight colour choices come in either metallic or pearl with Pure White being the only basic finish available.
LED daytime running lights are prominent as they run along the top of the headlight cluster whist this model under scrutiny is fitted with chrome side steps, chrome roll bar, chrome rear light side spats and wind deflectors around all the doors as well as the bonnet, adding style and purpose.
With a roller cover or two types of hardtop available you are sure to keep possessions safe in the load-bay at the rear of this pick-up and with a payload of at least 1000kg across the range (some models are closer to 1300kg) – carrying ability is most certainly there.
Inside the Hilux is as utilitarian as expected for such a vehicle and comes very well kitted out even from the base model. I will admit though, the aesthetics are good and the cockpit and door trims are manufactured in a way to take away from the hard wearing, easy-clean, hard materials used – instead making it look much more car-like inside.
With spacious, comfortable seating up front the rear of the Hilux may feel a little claustrophobic over a long run with four well built agricultural lads or lassies on-board – comfort in the rear of this double cab model is aided with a central armrest featuring cup holders, whilst another pair of cup holders sit in front of the gear stick up front.
A multi-function steering wheel enables control of the multimedia system built into the dash which on this model tested is Toyota’s Touch 2 system featuring sat-nav, reverse camera, DAB-AM-FM Radio, USB connectivity, Bluetooth with full phone connectivity and apps etc.
Being a commercial vehicle, all prices stated are plus vat and the model range begins with the base model ‘ACTIVE’ starting from £19,711.01 and is available in Single Cab, Extra Cab or Double Cab – this model receives 17” steel wheels, durable plastics inside and out, Vehicle Stability Control, Trailer Sway Control, Active Traction Control and Hill-Start Assist Control along with a rear diff lock, air conditioning, Bluetooth, automatic headlamps with welcome home feature and an ECO power button.
Next up is the ‘ICON’ which adds 17” alloy wheels, chrome details to accentuate the colour coded bumpers, rear privacy glass, front fogs lamps and side steps along with DAB Radio and a reversing camera via the Toyota Touch 2 media system.
Available in double cab only this model starts from £24,190.17 and also features cruise control and Hill-Decent control. This model is likely to be the most popular however for not much more the ‘INVINCIBLE’ is certainly worth a look starting from £25,556.84 with added bling.
Again only available in double cab the Invincible adds 18” two-tone alloy wheels, LED headlights and chrome side bars with keyless entry and start/stop button inside. Toyota’s ‘Safety Sense’ system features, this is a pre-collision system featuring pedestrian detection, lane departure alert and road sign assist.
Finally the ‘INVINCIBLE X’ (as tested) receives 18” black machine-faced alloy wheels, a plethora of chrome around the outside and front and rear parking sensors on top of heated front seats, full leather upholstery and sat-nav.
Again only available in double cab, the Invincible X starts from £28,902.67 and is the perfect lifestyle pick-up. A mass of options are available across the full range to make sure your Hilux best suits the purpose intended be that heavy agricultural use, light commercial use or simply leisure be it pulling a jet-ski or horse-box.
Engine wise the all-new Hilux is equipped with just a single power-train in the form of a 2.4L turbocharged diesel unit producing 147bhp with 295lb/ft which can be mated to a six-speed manual gearbox across the full range or a six-speed automatic ‘box available on all but the entry model.
The manual version will see stand-still to 62mph in 12.8 seconds with a claimed combined economy of 40mpg with the automatic seeing a claimed 36mpg average on a combined cycle with a 0-62 time of 12.3 seconds and a top speed across the range of 106mph.
The model tested was equipped with the latter gearbox and on-road its anticipation as to what gear it needed to be in was a little off the mark, resulting in holding gears a bit longer than I would have liked and with it, high engine rpm and noise – perhaps the manual is the best option to select when ordering.
Off-road however the auto ‘box was just fine when in four-wheel-drive and only once during my time within Clandeboye Estate at Ireland Offroad Experience did I have to engage the differential lock to conquer an obstacle that only thought it could stand in the way of the Hilux.
A dial on the dash, just beside the air con controls, allows the Hilux drive-train to switch between two-wheel-drive-high (best suited for daily driving and motorway etc) four-wheel-drive-high (best suited to lower speed towing or with a heavy load on-board) and four-wheel-drive-low (for when no other mode will get you across or through whatever terrain you are stuck upon).
Pick-ups are generally not that agile on challenging off-road terrain due to entry angles but predominantly the exit angles are poor due to the overhang of the load bay behind the rear wheels however modern machinery is starting to become more capable.
So much so that the Hilux genuinely surprised me off-road with not only its ground clearance, but also the bumper angles allowing it to complete areas of the off-road centre in Clandeboye that a few other pick-ups would leave you stranded on.
Towing is a big part of a pick-ups life and only recently has the Hilux been able to compete in the towing stakes as it can now legally draw 3500kg across the range and with a 5 year 100,000 mile warranty it is certainly going to remain a popular choice.
Words & Photos: Graham Curry
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