+More road presence
+Improved fuel economy
+Impressive load carrying
-Better handling rivals
-Practicality over performance
Famed for its starring role on Top Gear and known for being one of the most rugged pick-ups that you can buy, the Toyota Hilux needs no introduction. The Hilux is one of the best-selling one-tonne pick-up trucks of all time and there is a new eight generation model now on sale which offers revised styling and revised engines for improved economy. Can it continue to lead the class in terms of durability and character, or has the competition caught up in the interim? Carzone recently spent a week driving it in the Wicklow mountains to find out.
What is it like?
Featuring a longer and wider body than before, the new Hilux undoubthedly has more road presence. The front grille has been updated in similar fashion to the Toyota Land Cruiser which subtly improves the front end styling. There are three body styles to choose from, with a Single Cab option for increased load space, an Extra Cab version with a 2+2 seating layout and lastly the Double Cab version which has a full five seats and this is the one that we drove.
The interior of the new Hilux is notably improved with better comfort and a modern dashboard layout. A new 7-inch touchscreen display has been introduced to the centre console on higher specification models and lends the drivers area a slick feel, but the system can be slow to respond at times and it does take getting used to. In our Double Cab version, it’s easy for four adults to get comfortable and there’s lots of head room and leg room on offer.
It’s surprising to note that Toyota has downsized the engine in the new Hilux. The old 3.0-litre diesel engine has been replaced with a new 2.4-litre diesel that produces 161hp and 400Nm of torque (more than the outgoing model). There are two transmission choices with a six-speed manual and a six-speed automatic, and we found the performance to be reasonable considering the size of the body, with 0-100km/h taking well over 12.5 seconds.
The Hilux’s handling is definitely improved and on par with class alternatives like the new Mitsubishi L200 and Nissan Navara, despite the fact that it is based on a traditional leaf spring suspension setup for hauling heavy loads. In fact, the new model offers a max towing capacity of 3.2 tonne which should satisfy most buyers.
In terms of running costs, the new Hilux benefits from the smaller engine when fuel economy and motor tax is considered. Our six-speed manual version comes in at €333 for annual motor tax, while we achieved almost 8.0-litres per 100 kilometres in economy on the motorway during our test (35MPG).
Prices for the new Hilux start from €29.250 for the Single Cab 2.4-litre diesel manual, and equipment levels are strong right from the base specification. As standard the Hilux features Hill Start Assist, a Bluetooth hands free system, Follow-Me-Home headlights and a cooler in the upper glovebox. Our higher specification SR5 model gains a host of equipment with nice 17-inch alloy wheels, a chrome front grille and door handles, electric mirrors, a touch-screen display and road sign assist to name a few. The higher specification models also feature Trailer Sway Control (TSC) and Downhill Assist Control (DAC) which are useful for those regularly carrying loads.
Carzone verdict: 3/5
The Hilux is competing with more refined rivals than ever before in the new Mitsubishi L200 and Nissan Navara, but the new generation model is more than up to the task. Yes, it’s better suited to those who will use its strong load carrying and off-roading abilities than those looking for an everyday SUV, but it is a good everyday performer nonetheless. When you consider the build quality and finish of the new eight generation model, the Hilux’s reputation as one of the toughest pick up vehicles on the market is well warranted.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Toyota Hilux Double Cab SR5
Prices from: €29,250
Price as tested: €39,895
Annual Road Tax: €333
Engine: 2393cc four-cylinder turbocharged diesel
Power/Torque: 161hp, 400Nm
Top Speed: 248 km/h
0-100km/h: 12. 8 seconds
Body style: Pickup
Towing Capacity: 3200kg