Toyota Hilux review

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Our test Hilux is invincible by name and nature! We’re testing the legendary Toyota pickup in its range topping Invincible guise this week.

The new Hilux launched in the middle of 2020 and the latest version now comes with a choice of diesel engines a 2.4 litre and a new, more powerful 2.8 litre diesel. The familiar 2.4 litre four cylinder is paired to a manual gearbox and is available in the entry DLX and SR5 grades. A single-cab DLX is available but all other Hilux models feature a five-seat double-cab. The 2.8 comes as an automatic and can be ordered in the level 2 SR5 grade and is the standard unit in the range topping Invincible grade. Power is impressive with 204hp and 500nm of torque on tap. The Invincible can tow up 3.5 tonnes and its pickup bed can carry a 1 tonne payload.

`The Invincible gets additional dark plastic trimming to add to its ruggedness compared to the other Hilux grades. Its exterior styling is that bit more imposing and smart. There is a new front end amd headlight clusters, but its styling remains true to the functional pick up form that is so loved throughout the world. The new styling help smarten it up but its body is all about function and this dictates its appearance. To help scale it, at 5325mm long Hilux is longer than most full size SUVs – a five door Land Cruiser is 4840mm. Hilux sits at 1815mm tall, similar to big SUVs yet is relatively narrow at just 1855mm (1885mm Land cruiser). The Hilux has great approach and departure angles plus its high ground clearance helps deliver a 700mm water wading rating… it is a go anywhere machine.

The new interior is far removed from the overtly plastic-y, functional original. Yes hard plastics can be seen and felt but there is comfort and refinement where it matters e.g. the heated leather seats up front. The driver’s dials are redesigned and sit in a smarter looking dashboard. For the first time in a Hilux there is a JBL premium sound system available. Overall there are far more car-like creature comforts to be enjoyed. The invincible grade gets all the toys and comes with heated leather seats and other comforts like parking sensors front and rear, LED headlights (and front fogs), wiper de-icer, auto air con and an 8 inch centre touch screen display. SR5 and Invincible grades get smart phone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard.

Dynamically the Hilux Invincible hits all the markers – it can tow, carry and drive with ease. Unloaded 0-100km/h takes a sprightly 10.1 seconds. Sadly as a diesel workhorse emissions are poor by even SUV standards at 233-259g/km CO2. Fuel consumption during our test was in the 9sL/100km – Toyota quotes a 8.8-9.8 L/100km range. The suspension of the big machine has been refined further to improve on road manners – let’s not forget most pick ups have fairly primitive/agricultural rear suspension. The ‘variable flow control’ steering makes it easier to steer off road and on.

The double cab’s turning circle is pretty good too for a pick up and we managed to negotiate super market parking spots without fuss – well it is long at 5.3 metres so you do have to be mindful where you leave it- literally. The Hilux Invincible rides on Bridgestone Dueller tyres on 18 inch alloys. The big rubber features a nice road bias so there is less sway and lane straying at speed. The tyres deliver a great blend of grip for traction on the slipy stuff but also truly impressive refinement on the motorway. The automatic gearbox works really well and makes life so much easier than in a manual. If you’re doing any distance you’ll appreciate the auto box as it saves your legs having to do relatively high lifts from the high floor to the pedals as with a manual. Driving and living with the big bus is really easy and dare I say pleasurable.

The Hilux is a serious workhorse with features an AWD capability that is incredibly competent. A good tweak by the engineers has seen 4X4 engine idle lowered from 850-600rpm to aid off road work. Driving dynamic stability (VSC) has also been tweaked and improved. Swapping between drive modes is a doddle with a rotary switch for 2WD, 4X4 High and 4X4 Low (there is a VSC button switch). An automatic electronic LSD limited slip diff is standard on SR5 and Invincible in 2WD for when the going gets tough and traction is hard to find. Toyota assures us that it is far superior and more efficient next to a manual diff. The Hilux is at home off road but cruises the motorway with ease. We experienced a very stable rear when unladen – a trait of less sophisticated pick ups, with no suspension hopping or tail stepping out experienced. Invincible specification features adaptive cruise control and a host of ADAS and other driving aids that are far from basic or agricultural. We did a couple of long motorway routes during our testing and the combination of active lane keeping, adaptive cruise and of course the Hilux’s default commanding driving position made the experience effortless.

The Hilux range starts at €29,860 for the single-cab DLX (2.4) or €36,915 for the double-cab DLX, rising to €51,810 for the Invincible model. A vast amount of customisable options can be sought for the Hilux including a hardtop for the deck and even a motorised deck roller cover! For the user chooser or owner/user the Hilux Invincible ticks all the boxes. Our test car over its lifetime would clearly be money well spent.

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About Author

Michael Sheridan

Michael Sheridan is a senior and highly respected motoring journalist based in Ireland. He is a frequently heard voice on motoring, transport and mobility matters and has multiple credits on national television, national print media, national and local radio and other outlets. Michael Sheridan has been a Car of the Year Judge for more 20 years (& more recently a Van of the Year judge). Michael has produced and directed many international and national motoring TV programmes and documentaries both on cars and motorcycles - including four films on the iconic Route 66. Michael Sheridan is a former Chairperson of the Association of Professional Motoring Press (APMP).

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