Few pick-ups boast the heritage and reputation of Toyota’s Hilux. However, even though trim levels have kept pace with the competition, the company had fallen behind on engine output. Its 150hp 2.4-litre motor offers respectable, but not outstanding performance. With the addition of a 2.8-litre motor last year, that has all changed.
The 2.8-litre engine is still a four-cylinder, but it offers a far healthier 201hp, backed up by a solid 500Nm of torque. Despite this power boost, fuel consumption and exhaust emissions remain relatively similar to the smaller motor and are no worse than any of its competitors.
The bigger engine is an option on Invincible grade and standard on the range-topping Invincible X. Buyers of either can choose between six-speed manual or automatic transmissions, though most will opt for the auto at this price level.
It has to be said though, that 10,000-mile service intervals seem a little over cautious and will mean regular days off the road for those customers that put in the miles.
Load carrying capacity
You can have single, extra or double cab models in the base Active grade, but above that, Hilux is only sold as a 4×4 with double-cab layout. However, all models can carry over 1.0-tonne and can tow the industry benchmark 3.5-tonne trailer.
In the cab
All Hilux models are generously equipped, but for many the Invincible probably strikes the best balance. You get all of the Toyota Safety Sense ADAS systems that come with the lower models, including adaptive cruise control and an automatic limited slip differential. Invincible also comes with 18” alloys, front and rear parking sensors, an 8” touchscreen with DAB, Bluetooth and smartphone integration, LED headlights and auto air conditioning.
For those thinking of venturing off-road, the truck also has a locking rear differential and downhill assist control.
The Invincible X brings additional styling tweaks, leather trim, a more powerful stereo, navigation and electric driver’s seat. If you can live without them, you’ll save around £3,000 with the Invincible trim.
On the road
Though there are no changes to the six-speed automatic transmission, it seems to be a much happier partner for the more powerful 2.8-litre engine. Where the box would sometimes hunt between fifth and sixth at motorway speeds with the 150hp engine, the 2.8-litre truck is a very relaxed long-distance companion.
The engine is smooth and quiet, yet offers plenty of get-up-and-go when required, providing surprisingly swift cross-country travel. This is helped by relatively supple suspension that soaks up the worst of the UK’s pock-marked roads without complaint.
Typically, Toyota has moved into the more powerful end of the pick-up market just as many of its competitors have left the sector. However, the 2.8-litre engine competes well against Ford’s more powerful Ranger models and most importantly it delivers another choice to buyers.
Given that it seems to have few downsides in terms of fuel or emissions, the larger engine makes plenty of sense for those buyers that travel longer distances or regularly tow at full capacity.
VanUser rating : 4.5