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- Launched: 2015
- Large and useable load bay
- Great off-road, wide choice of body styles
- 3.5 tonne towing capacity.
- Not as good on-road as some other pick-ups
- Average fuel economy
- Top spec models are expensive.
On the inside
Cost to run
Prices and Specs
"The Toyota Hilux has an enviable reputation for toughness and quality. This is what's made it such a firm favourite with builders, forestry workers and outdoor enthusiasts. However, with this, the eighth-generation Hilux, Toyota has looked to gentrify its pick-up somewhat, with better ride comfort and improved refinement."
As well as more car-like features, the Toyota Hilux gets improved towing ability, which means it will pull up to 3.5 tonnes - when hooked up to a braked trailer. Payloads vary from 1030kg - 1055kg, depending on which body style you choose.
The Hilux is offered with just one engine - a 150PS 2.4 D4-D diesel - but gets more torque than its predecessor with 400Nm available from just 1600rpm. As a result Hilux is well-suited for towing huge loads, although business users might need to fit a tachograph to take full advantage of its 3.5 towing ability.
One area where the Hilux has always excelled has been off-road and the very little changes here, with the Toyota providing surefooted traction for the most extreme of environments. All versions get switchable four-wheel drive as standard, along with low ratio gearing and a locking rear diff that makes it easy to tackle heavy mud and snow. An automatic braking system is also standard, allowing the Hilux to moderate its speed when tackling steep off-road descents.
On the road, the Hilux's ride can get quite bumpy. It lacks the low-speed composure of the Navara and Volkswagen Amarok, which means potholes and speed bumps produce lots of body movement. Things improve at motorway speeds, with a calmer ride that feels predictable and comfortable, but the Hilux will never rival family SUVs for ride quality. That said, the Hilux is easy enough to drive and - even in rear-wheel drive mode - has plenty of grip in the corners.
Robust and hugely capable off-road, the Toyota Hilux continues very much in the same vein as its predecessors. Admittedly, it's not the most refined or efficient pick-up on the market, but its wide choice of body styles and 3.5 tonne towing capacity will make it an attractive choice for those in need of a tough workhorse that will rival the best when it comes to off-roading.
Comfort and design
"Double cab versions offer the best balance between work and family practicality. The interior is large and comfortable, with plenty of head and legroom for up to four adults. There is also lots of storage, with deep door bins and two lockable gloveboxes. Air conditioning is standard across the range, while high spec models get automatic climate control, DAB, rear-view camera and a colour touchscreen."
The Hilux can be specified in three body styles - single cab, extra cab, double cab – but only those in need of a basic load carrier will want the two-seater single cab. The extra cab is technically a four-seater, but the lack of legroom in the back makes it only ever suitable for taking the kids to school. Most buyers will opt for the double cab, which will easily carry four large adults in comfort, with acres of head and legroom.
The interior boasts plenty of all-round visibility with electric door mirrors fitted as standard. The driver's seat has lots of adjustment while the reach and rake steering makes it easy to get a comfortable position. Obviously, owing to the fact the Hilux is 5.3 metres long it can be tricky to park. Thankfully most models get a rearview camera as standard, which makes it simple to park without scraping a bumper.
Engines, gearboxes and on the road
"Few workhorses are as tough or as capable as the Hilux. Backed by Toyota's proven four-wheel drive know how, the Hilux will make short work of wintry roads or off-road conditions."
All versions get four-wheel drive as standard, while low ratio gearing and a lockable rear diff will allow the Hilux to cope with everything from muddy fields to snowy conditions.
The Hilux runs in rear-wheel drive as standard, but can be switched into four-wheel drive by a simple rotary dial. The system can be activated up to speeds of 30mph and takes seconds to operate. Low-ratio gears are also available for heavy duty off-roading, although the vehicle has to be brought to a halt for this.
Depending on which version you choose, the Hilux will carry payloads of 1030kg - 1055kg. Double cab models boast one of the largest load beds of any double cab pick-up, stretching 1525mm in length and 1645mm in width. Single cab versions will take a considerable 2315mm in length.
Accessing the load area is easy, with a wide opening, although the fold-down tailgate is heavy and has a tendency to crash open if you click the handle and release it. But load tie hooks are plentiful and Toyota also offers a huge choice of load bed covers and protectors.
Like many pick-ups, the Hilux will tow up to 3.5 tonnes when hooked to a braked trailer. A trailer sway control system is fitted as standard and will apply braking and control engine power to prevent a braked trailer from becoming uncontrollable in high winds or on poor roads.
Like many modern pick-ups, the Toyota Hilux is built on a ladder chassis and uses leaf sprung rear suspension, which makes it well-suited for carrying heavy loads. The trade off, however, is that the ride can get extremely bumpy. Especially so when the vehicle isn't carrying anything in the back.
As a result it can get uncomfortable at low speeds and is prone to crashing over potholes and speed bumps. Corners also present a challenge, with lots of bodyroll. That said, the Hilux is easy enough to drive and a good motorway companion, with the ride settling down to a smooth and composed ride. There is plenty of grip in the corners, even in rear-wheel drive mode.
The 2.4 D-4D diesel engine is not particularly refined. There's lots of clatter at start-up and it tends to get quite vocal under hard acceleration. There is plenty of torque though - 400Nm from just 1600rpm - which gives high levels of mid-gear acceleration, making it great for towing up to 3.5 tonnes when hooked up to a braked trailer.
Off-road, the Hilux is brilliant. It will easily keep up with a Land Rover Defender on a muddy field or wintery farm track. The four-wheel drive system is easy to understand and can be activated in a matter of seconds while on the move.
As well as all-wheel drive, the Hilux gets a lockable rear diff and a host of electronic driving aids, including hill hold assist and an automatic braking function. This allows the Hilux to control its speeds when tackling steep off-road descents. It will also work in reverse, which means you can safely retrace your steps if you have found an off-road hill to be a bit too steep...
MPG and fuel consumption
Improvements over the older model
The 2.4-litre diesel is more efficient than the 2.5 and 3.0 D4-D engines it replaces with claimed economy peaking at 40.4mpg. However, both the Mitsubishi L200 and Nissan Navara are more economical and more refined, with the 2.4 D4-D suffering from lots of diesel clatter and noise under hard acceleration. Automatic versions will only return an official 36.2mpg.
What equipment do you get with the Toyota Hilux?
Well equipped cabins, go for a later model if you can
Cars from mid-2020 get new front and rear LED light clusters are available, plus 18-inch alloy wheels with a contrast machined/black finish. There is also a striking new colour option – Titan Bronze metallic.
The upgraded cabin features a new-design instrument combimeter and an eight-inch multimedia screen mounted on the centre console. This uses buttons and dial controls for easier use in all driving conditions. The multimedia system has faster software and screen response, and enables easy smartphone integration using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Features include smart entry and push-button start, satellite navigation, automatic air conditioning, front and rear parking sensors and a nine-speaker JBL premium sound system with an 800W eight-channel amplifier and CLARI-Fi technology for improving the reproduction quality of digital music files.
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