A driving impression by Wayne Gorrett
So far, 2016 has been a big year for pick-ups and the most eagerly-awaited of all is finally here. This month, the all-new, eighth generation Hilux enters UK showrooms – a little late, but good things are always worth waiting for.
Toyota has left no stone unturned with the new Hilux. It’s comprehensively better than its predecessor, both on- and off-road. With around 34,000 units sold in UK/Europe last year, it’s a very important model for the Japanese car maker.
Available in Single Cab, Extra Cab and Double Cab body styles, the 2016 Hilux has an all-new body and chassis, a brand-new 2.4-litre turbo-diesel, new suspension, beefed-up off-road credentials and myriad other advances.
The new Toyota Hilux looks quite different and many of the changes are a case of function before form. The turned up edges of the snout and rear end are designed to provide greater clearance at the corners of the vehicle. The car is longer and wider than the old model and rear wheel articulation is now 520mm on both sides; it was uneven before.
The Hilux range starts from £19,177 (excluding VAT) and tops out at £29,435. There are four trim grades; ‘Active’, which is available in all three body styles, while ‘Icon’, ‘Invincible’ and ‘Invincible X’ are available only as double cabs.
Once inside, the driving position is high with a commanding view of the road and rear visibility is good. The driver’s seat is comfortable and the dashboard is logically laid out. There’s a mixture of plush-feeling materials and more hard-wearing plastics on the dashboard and the insides of the doors.
UK and European buyers get only the 2.4-litre turbodiesel engine, but Toyota is quick to point out that it offers 148 bhp and 400 Nm of torque, both of which are more than the outgoing 3.0-litre.
On the move the ride is comfortable and the new engine performs strongly: the suspension does a good job of soaking up bumps, although the rear does fidget over crusty surfaces, particularly when it isn’t weighed down by anything in the load bay.
By pick-up standards, the Hilux’s steering is accurate and nicely weighted, but when going round corners you are unceremoniously reminded of the vehicle’s commercial roots; there’s lots of body sway and not a great deal of grip.
Wind whistle from the door mirrors from as little as 30 mph was beyond acceptable levels and once you notice it – and you will – it gets in your head and is difficult to ignore. Folding the mirrors on the fly alleviated the din, but negates their raison d’être.
The new Hilux is very good off-road and lots of technical aids like hill decent control and all-wheel drive mean that it excels at navigating over challenging terrain.
INITIAL THOUGHTS: The all-new Toyota Hilux is better to drive on and off road than before. It’s competitively priced next to its rivals and benefits from the longer five-year/100,000-mile warranty for the first time. With a hard-fought reputation for solid graft and reliability, the new Hilux deserves its continued success.