Although the Toyota Hilux may seem ancient to some, after 50 years on British roads, trails, and tracks, it is surprisingly cutting-edge
Pick-Up Reviewed: Toyota HiLux Invincible X Double Cab
Toyota consistently improves but does not fundamentally change its widely acclaimed pick-up truck. Now that there are five models to pick from, it is especially appealing to hard-working people and those who enjoy weekend trips. It offers two different diesel engine sizes (2.4 and 2.8 litres), selectable 2WD or 4WD and three different cab configurations.
Since its 1972 introduction in the UK, more than 180,600 have been sold, making it the best-selling vehicle in the country. Engineers at Toyota have performed marvels under the hood of the newcomer, completely changing the feel of the vehicle.
Sensors identify pitch and dip and instantaneously modify throttle responses to soften the severity of the natural leaning, despite the use of rear leaf springs to support large loads.
Experience is the best way to describe the makeover that has made the Toyota Hilux Double Cab Pick-up drive more like a large SUV.
Is it a car or a pick-up? The issue may be slightly confusing, but the answer may be, too, depending on the legal counsel you seek. The HMRC classify double-row seats as primarily for passenger use, whereas the DVLA take a different view; furthermore, the loadbed weight capacity (under or over a tonne) and cab cover status also play a role. We have adopted Toyota’s interpretation in our technical panel pricing for BIK; however, it is strongly recommended that you get professional legal or accounting guidance before making any final decisions.
We’ve confirmed that the current iteration of the dependable 2.8-litre diesel engine achieves roughly 32 miles per gallon on a variety of roads, thanks in large part to its sophisticated fuel-saving technologies. It’s not as quiet as a gasoline engine, especially when running hard in the lower gears, but its sizeable four-cylinder diesel is excellent for hauling heavy loads.
The transmission tunnel’s push-buttons for Eco and Power modes optimise operations without compromising the vehicle’s ability to do its job in any setting. Despite the clutch’s heaviness and long travel, the transmission’s smooth-shifting six-speed gearbox is a joy to use.
Even though tight manoeuvring required a lot of arm whirling, the steering delivered good feedback, and the power assist was very much appreciated. The steering also did not suffer from vibration or kickback at high speeds or on poor tracks.
On the test hill we use regularly, the brakes easily and swiftly slowed the vehicle, and the old-fashioned wired handbrake (which is becoming increasingly rare) kept it there.
Lights and windscreen wipers were operated by simple stalks on either side of the steering column, while the cruise control was manipulated by a third stick located beneath the washer/wiper lever. The controls for the audio system and other settings were conveniently clustered on the steering wheel’s spokes, and the buttons were clearly labelled and large enough to be easily located.
Turning on the heat seats, for example, was made more difficult by the layout of the switches, which were clustered on the off-side fascia and spread out along the centre console’s lower border.
The eight-inch infotainment screen may be used for a variety of purposes, and it comes with both physical buttons and touch functionality. It served its purpose, and it was easy to understand.
A single, not particularly user-friendly USB port and a pair of 220v outlets are located up front. However, no such outlets are provided for those seated in the back. The higher glovebox air conditioner is convenient, and Toyota Touch2 is compatible with iPhones and Androids.
Large bins on the front and rear doors and a bin and tray in the centre console provide ample storage for miscellaneous items.
Our model came with a helpful step and grab bar to help taller users get in, but once inside, there was plenty of space for everyone, including the back-seat passengers, who were not forced to sit three across.
The heavy tailgate had to be lowered and the long roller cover pushed back before the loadbed could be used; the cover was attached to a long leash so that it could be pulled back over obstacles. However, the tailgate and bonnet both require muscle to open and close, and a high lift is required.
The cabin of the Toyota Hilux is well-equipped for a long drive, with roomy, supportive seats, good adjustment for the front pair, and unobstructed views to the front and sides. However, navigating by looking over one’s shoulder presents more of a challenge, so the driver will need to rely heavily on the 360-degree camera and all-around sensors. Some mornings and evenings in the autumn called for bright headlights and large washers/wipers.
The inside has minimal decoration, which makes it durable yet uninspiring to look at.
The Toyota’s 4WD capability to drive anywhere and, more importantly, return again is a lot more realistic proposition for some users going off-road, and its spaciousness and comfort are on par with a larger SUV.
Its handling was reliable and trustworthy on and off road, with no drama or letdowns. The combination of its high ground clearance, good approach and departure angles, and 4WD drivetrain made it nearly invincible. Long live the Toyota HiLux.
Robin contributes to a number of outlets in Wales and the UK, including the Driving Force editorial syndication agency feeding the biggest regional news and feature publishers in Britain.
Robin was the longest serving chairman of The Western Group of Motoring Writers. He specialises in the Welsh automotive sector and motor related businesses with interests in Wales and publishes WheelsWithinWales.uk which covers news, features, trade and motor sport in Wales.
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