Toyota Hilux Review
The Hilux pick-up is a tough, go-anywhere workhorse, suitable for business and pleasure
Strengths & weaknesses
- Reliability: it has a reputation for being indestructible
- Strong off-road ability
- Quieter than most pick-ups
- Rivals have more power
- Fuel economy lags behind recently launched rivals
- Automatic increases noise and fuel consumption
When Jeremy Clarkson and James May became the first people to drive to the magnetic North Pole for Top Gear, they were driving a Toyota Hilux.
And when they decided to test the Hilux’s durability by placing a different version on the roof of a 22-storey tower block which was then demolished, the pick-up truck didn’t just survive the 65-metre drop - it started up and was driven into the studio. This, following a barrage of other tests designed to destroy it.
That’s why the Hilux is one of the stereotypical pick-ups of choice, from the Peshmerga military force using it as a machine gun platform in the Middle East, to builders ferrying their tools in Middlesbrough.
The current model promises even higher levels of durability with the latest safety features and technology, that make driving a Hilux more car-like than in previous models.
But the most important bit is still at the back, where you can pack just over a tonne of equipment in the 2,315mm-long loading area.
The interior is more comfortable than before, especially in the higher trim levels, which feature leather upholstery, touchscreen media systems and phone connectivity, noise levels are reduced (although it's still very much a commercial vehicle), the body has been strengthened and there’s more safety kit.
Off-road, the Hilux is still highly capable, with the ability to tackle to toughest of terrains in low- or high ratio modes with limited-slip differentials at the front and rear to maximise grip off-road. This means slippery surfaces, sharp drops and rises and uneven ground can be handled without fuss, allowing owners to get on with whatever job is at hand.
The Hilux also does the job on the road, too, thanks to a comfortable ride quality and handling that comes close to the likes of the Nissan Navara and VW Amarok, with accurate steering and a well-contained body being notable upgrades compared to the previous-generation Hilux.
Time will tell if this Hilux is as robust as is required to uphold its reputation, but build quality is certainly impressive, outside and in. The cabin is certainly more comfortable and refined place than before, even at high speed, with notably reduced wind and road noise.
|Warranty||Five years / 100,000 miles|
|Width||1800 - 1855mm|
|Height||1795 - 1815mm|
|Tax||From I (£355 in first year and £230 thereafter) to K (£650 in first year and £295 thereafter)|
Best Toyota Hilux for...
Best for Economy – Toyota Hilux Single Cab 2.4 D-4D
There is only one engine in the current Hilux range. The lighter Single Cab body helps it return a 41.5mpg fuel consumption figure and lower CO2 emissions (178g/km).
Best for Performance – Toyota Hilux Double Cab 2.4 D-4D 6AT
Double Cab versions fitted with the six-speed automatic transmission are marginally quicker in the 0-62mph acceleration test, shaving 0.4 seconds off the time and lowering it to 12.8 seconds.
- July 2016 The first of the current generation of Toyota Hiluxes arrive in Britain
Understanding Toyota Hilux names
Trim level Invincible
There are four trim levels – Active, Icon, Invincible and Invincible X – gradually increasing in price and adding more standard-fit equipment as they become more expensive.
Body style Double cab
There are three body styles: Single Cab has just a front row of seats; Extra Cab has four seats; and Double Cab has five seats.
Engine 2.4 D-4D
There is a single engine used across the entire Hilux range
Active models are only available with a six-speed manual gearbox, while other versions also have the option of a six-speed automatic.
Toyota Hilux Engines
British versions of the Hilux are only available with a 2.4-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine, which generates 149 horsepower. It comes with either a six-gear manual transmission or a six-speed automatic (Active versions just come with the manual ’box).
The Single Cab versions in Active trim are the most efficient, returning 41.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 178g/km, while Extra Cab and Double Cab variants have an official consumption of 40.4mpg and emit 185g/km. Buyers who opt for the automatic transmission will take something of a hit in running cots, as the significant figures are 36.2mpg and 204g/km – the latter of which means going up two car tax bands, from I to K, which will almost double the first-year rate (from £355 to £650), with £295 for subsequent years (as opposed to £230 for manual versions).
The new engine is quieter than in previous Hilux models but you’re left in no doubt that you’re driving a commercial vehicle when behind the wheel. There’s enough power for most users – it has a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes – but it can’t match the Volkswagen Amarok’s 3.0-litre V6 unit or the Navara’s 160 and 190 horsepower engines, for example.
Toyota Hilux Trims
Active, Icon, Invincible, Invincible X
In addition to the three bodystyles – Single Cab, Extra Cab and Double Cab – there are four trim levels.
Equipment fitted to the base Active trim (available in all three bodystyles) includes Bluetooth, a cooled front storage box, driver and front passenger airbags, driver’s knee and curtain shield airbags, Hill-start Assist, Isofix child seat anchors (Double Cab model), plus follow-me-home headlight function and turn indicators integrated in the electrically adjustable, heated door mirrors (but not on Single Cab versions).
Upgrading to Icon (in Double Cab form only – as are all other trim grades above) adds a 4.2-inch display, cruise control, DAB digital radio, 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, headlamp cleaners, side steps, chrome front grille, rear privacy glass, leather steering wheel and the Toyota Touch 2 multimedia system.
Invincible models add the Toyota Safety Sense system, a colour display, 18-inch alloy wheels, Smart Entry and Start, LED headlights, electric steering wheel adjustment, air conditioning, dusk-sensing headlights and chrome side bars with steps.
The range-topping Invincible X trim further adds a chrome pack that includes fog lamp and headlight surrounds, bumper trims, scuff plates and rear light cluster trims; leather upholstery and heated front seats are; Toyota Touch 2 with Go multimedia system, which adds satellite navigation and connectivity functions; and front and rear parking sensors.
Toyota Hilux Reliability and warranty
The Hilux is famously indestructible, but as a predominantly commercial vehicle, previous generations haven’t tended to appear in customer satisfaction surveys. However, Toyota does well in the 2016 Driver Power manufacturer table, coming fourth in the reliability index, which augurs well for this new Hilux.
Toyota is now offering the Hilux with a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty, which is significantly better than the three years with the Volkswagen Amarok and Ford Ranger.
Used Toyota Hilux
The latest Hilux has only just gone on sale, so it’s too early to accurately assess the used market. However, the pick-up’s reputation for indestructability should continue.
This reputation is something of a double-edged sword, though, when it comes to used values and availability.
Thanks to the Hilux’s bulletproof character, there are cheaper, older examples on the market with high mileages, but the robust and reliable nature of the engines means that there should still be quite a bit of life in them, so they could be bargains.
Ex-lease, used, previous-generation Hiluxes hold their value fairly well, so although you can save a big chunk of cash, they’re not exactly bargain-basement prices.
Nearly new cars with delivery miles on the clock are also available, with a few thousand pounds off the price – but you’ll need to shop around to find the best deals.