First Drive: Toyota Hilux

Date: Friday, May 18, 2012

With the increasing competition in the pick-up sector fuelled by last year’s introduction of the VW Amarok, followed by this year’s recently launched new Ford Ranger, Toyota took the opportunity to upgrade its market-leading Hilux.

The pick-up took the top sales spot in the UK last year, well ahead of Mitsubishi’s L200, and since then the Japanese brand has upgraded the engines in line with the Euro5 emissions regulations. It also made a series of tweaks inside and out to consolidate its top spot in the face of the increased competition.
The external ones are more subtle – it’s a reasonably large job for a facelift, but only by parking new and old side by side would you spot the new bonnet, grille, headlamps and bumper. The interior changes, though, are more obvious to those familiar with the Hilux cabin. The upper dash has been redesigned, and on the more expensive HL3 and Invincible models, Toyota’s Touch system, with its 6.1-inch colour touchscreen, bluntest and USB port, brings even more car-like features and quality to the LCV market. The interior is still a way behind the class best of the Amarok or new Ranger, but is a clear improvement.
Although the engine options are the same as before, the Euro5 improvements to the 142hp 2.5-litre diesel take emissions and fuel consumption down by 10% to 194g/km, which Toyota claims as best in class, and 38.7mpg.
While not as refined on-road as most of its contemporaries, the Hilux is still recognised as one of the best off-road, with Toyota claiming it wins returning business from customers that work their vehicles hard and try other products but come back to the brand because of its durability.
The changes freshen up the exterior and in particular the interior, bringing welcome improvements and technology advances. The competition is more fierce than ever, but these improvements give the Hilux an improved chance of holding onto its market lead.

 

Verdict

Revised Hilux offers a series of welcome tweaks, especially inside, and it’s well-placed as a leading pick-up for hard work



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