You use a push-button starter to fire up the engine and you need the key fob present.
Featuring a silhouette sketch of the Invincible X’s frontal design, it should probably be kept in a metal-lined Faraday pouch to ensure the code it contains isn’t read and copied by thieves who aim to steal your vehicle.
The four-cylinder in-line 16v common-rail diesel produces max power at 3,400rpm while max torque of 400Nm bites across a 1,600-2,000rpm plateau. For most applications 148hp is adequate, but you might want a bit more punch if you regularly tow a heavily laden trailer in hilly terrain.
Tap the auto gearbox’s shift lever to the right and you can use it in manual mode. All you need to do then is either push it away from or towards you depending on the gear you want. The number of the gear selected will appear on the instrument panel.
Swinging smoothly through bends without drama or fuss, the Hilux handles remarkably well for a four-wheel drive pick-up with a comparatively high centre of gravity. It rides well too, coping with all but the worst of potholes without lurching or juddering.
On the downside, the automatic transmission’s gear change is not as smooth as what is on offer from some rivals, and the transmission can at times sound harsh and unrefined.
Performance depends on which button you push. Hit the Power Mode button and you enjoy extra-strong acceleration when you overtake slower-moving traffic or if you need to climb a steep incline when heavily laden. Press the Eco Mode button instead and your performance is restricted, but you should enjoy better fuel consumption.
Of course, you can always opt to press neither, and if that is your choice, you are unlikely to feel short-changed. The Hilux pulls away from rest briskly and cruises comfortably at the legal motorway speed. Cruise control is fitted if you need it.
Maintain a light touch on the accelerator pedal and you are rewarded by a little green Eco button illuminating on the instrument panel. If you are heavy-footed then it immediately goes out, and never lights up at all if you move to Power Mode because it knows you intend to put your foot down hard.
Fortunately, a road sign assist symbol on the dash tells you what the prevailing speed limit is and warns if you are breaking it. Although on one occasion it told us that it was 100mph (!), it appears to be reliable for the majority of the time.
If you want to hold a particular gear for longer than automatic mode will let you then being able to switch to manual is a useful facility. If you are trundling down a dual-carriageway, however, then you might just as well leave it in auto.
Venture off-road and you may, of course, wish to opt for the manual setting depending on the terrain. Four-wheel drive is engaged by twisting a knob on the dashboard. You twist it again to engage a set of low-ratio gears.
The Hilux is fitted with a locking rear differential and if you hit the downhill-assist control switch it will help rein you in when heading down a steep slope. It only works if four-wheel drive is engaged and at speeds of up to 18mph.
If you intend to plough through mud then it might also be worth noting that you can switch off the truck’s VSC and its stop/start system. You can switch off the lane departure warning and pre-collision warning systems too. The latter alerts you if you are getting too close to the vehicle in front. You can increase the distance at which it cuts in so you receive the warning earlier. The system includes pedestrian detection.
Turn off the traction control and you can rock the truck backwards and forwards to free yourself from the embrace of clinging mud. Leave it on, and it may reduce power to the engine, making freeing yourself more difficult.
If the going gets rough then there are grab handles on the cab’s A and B pillars so some passengers will have something to cling to.
If you get lost while off-roading then bear in mind the onboard computer boasts a compass that will hopefully help you get back to civilisation.
We didn’t get lost, but then again we’re not that adventurous. We simply squelched across one or two sodden Herefordshire fields, up and down a steep embankment, then negotiated a couple of rutted and overgrown farm tracks. Honour satisfied, we returned to the public highways.