Toyota Hilux 3.0D-4D Invincible

Date: Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Toyota executives left reeling from the appalling publicity the company has received in recent months can allow themselves one crumb of comfort. The well-aired problems suffered by their cars have not spread to their light commercials; at least they hadn’t at the time of writing.

 

That matters desperately to Toyota because the Hilux pick-up is a best-seller on a global scale. The line-up was revamped some 18 months ago and has undergone additional revisions since as the manufacturer tries to make further headway in what remains a tough market for everybody.

Up for grabs solely as a 4x4 and in Single Cab, Extra Cab and Double Cab guise, the Hilux is usually powered by a 2.5-litre diesel D-4D recently upgraded from 118hp to 142hp.

We decided to give ourselves a treat for a change, however, and sampled the top-of-the-range Invincible four-door Double Cab 3.0-litre D-4D diesel five-speed automatic instead. It’s also available with a five-speed manual ’box.

Top power of 169hp kicks in at 3,600rpm while maximum torque of 360Nm — 17Nm more than the equivalent manual model has to offer — bites across a 1,400rpm-to-3,200rpm plateau. To engage four-wheel drive and/or a lower ratio set of gears you use a lever adjacent to the auto shift. If needs be you can switch off the Vehicle Stability Control system. ABS is standard.

Gross weight is 3,020kg and our test vehicle could handle a 1,110kg payload. It could also haul a trailer grossing at 2,250kg.

Access to the cargo area is by means of a lockable tailgate that can be lowered to a horizontal position. A hefty rear bumper that incorporates a step ensures that it cannot be dropped down completely.

You’ll find a tie-down point in each corner of the cargo box. Load length is 1,547mm, load width is 1,515m narrowing to 1,100mm between the wheel boxes while sidewall height is 450mm. Loading height is 850mm.

Our demonstrator wasn’t lacking in in-cab niceties. For your money you get climate and cruise control, airbags all over the place and front and rear electric windows. Electric exterior mirrors are fitted too, as are steering wheel-mounted remote controls for the radio/CD player.

Our test vehicle also featured a leather-trimmed interior for £1,100 — all prices quoted here exclude VAT — plus satellite navigation, Bluetooth and iPod integration for a further £1,000.

Oddment stowage facilities include a lidded bin between the front seats, a lockable glovebox and door bins. That’s in addition to a pull-out cup-holder at each extremity of the dashboard and cubby-holes on either side of the heating and ventilation controls.

A label on the facia provides a timely reminder that you may have to fit and use a tachograph if you’re proposing to tow a heavy trailer.

Legroom in the back isn’t fantastic but shouldn’t be too much of an issue on short trips. Good to see that all three rear passengers are protected by headrests, but not so good to see that the centre occupant is held in place solely by a lap-strap.

On the Road

With that big 3.0-litre lurking under the bonnet there’s no shortage of performance and a decent kick-down makes overtaking a doddle on single-carriageway roads.

Invincible handles and rides remarkably well for a big 4x4. It doesn’t so much bounce over bumps as steam-roller them flat and its sheer size and presence means that pesky little hatchbacks tend to get out of your way fast as you bear down on them.

What’s more, Invincible is more frugal than we expected it to be. We averaged 33mpg; not a bad return for such a large, heavy vehicle. CO2 emissions are quoted as 236g/km.

On the downside the engine sounded a bit ragged under pressure, but noise levels were well-suppressed otherwise.

While we’re cautious about taking automatic 4x4 pick-ups off-road, we have to concede that Invincible is by no means a bad performer in the rough. Ample torque and engine braking both help. A rear limited-slip diff is fitted too.

Invincible looks good with its standard chrome mirror housings, chrome sill protection bars and 17in alloy wheels. Ours were shod with Bridgestone Dueler H/T 265/65 R17 tyres.

All Hilux models are protected by a three-year/60,000-mile warranty with service intervals set at 20,000 miles.

Verdict

We like it, and if we had the cash we might well be tempted to go and buy one. Now that’s something you don’t always hear said about a Toyota these days…

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