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New 2012 Toyota HiLux review

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    ... the HiLux style is fresher and a little less gawky than its predecessor.

  • Video

Bruce McMahon road tests and reviews the new 2012 Toyota HiLux at its Australian launch.

Toyota is polishing up the HiLux team, readying for a fierce season as new and improved players take to the ute field.

The HiLux, as a two and four-wheel drive, remains the country's favourite ute but faces renewed attack with the imminent arrival of all-new Ford Rangers, Mazda BT-50s and Holden Colorado. Then there's Nissan's Navara, the Mitsubishi Triton and Volkswagen's Amarok already kicking goals while Great Wall and Ssangyong utes pick up points at the cheaper end of the paddock.

So with Toyota's seventh-generation HiLux now six years old and an all-new range at least three years away it's time for a refresh with price cuts, new sheet metal, a repositioning of models, recalibrated two-wheel drive suspension, ABS standard across the range and upgraded trim.

And with Australians looking more to utes as dual-purpose family vehicles, the spotlight here falls on the HiLux heroes — four-wheel drive Double and Xtra cabs.


So for HiLux there's now an entry-level, Workmate four-wheel drive dual cab under $40,000 (almost $6000 cheaper than the previous lowest-priced diesel Double cab) and price cuts up to $3650 across the dual cab line-up. The four-wheel drive SR5 Xtra cab has dropped $5650 and the dearest HiLux is now the auto diesel, four-wheel drive SR5 Double Cab at $53,490, just $250 dearer than the equivalent Nissan Navara and $100 more than the equivalent new Ford Ranger in October. Prices rise by up to $900 on two-wheel drive HiLux models which start at $18,990.


Seven new turbo-diesel models are added while four, low-demand, V6 petrol variants disappear; leaving 35 variants compared to the previous 32. There remains the 2.7 litre and 4 litre V6 petrol engines plus the 126kW, 3 litre turbo-diesel and choice of  manual or automatic transmissions.

All arrive with new front style — a tidier bonnet, front guards, headlights and grille. There's new audio systems and towing capacity on four-wheel drives is 2.5 tonnes, up from 2250kg.

But it's the flagship four-wheel drive SR5 models which score the most bling, ranging from dusk-sensing headlights to LCD touch screen and satellite navigation, Bluetooth streaming and silver highlights across the dashboard.

The SR5 Double Cab adds privacy side and rear glass, 17-inch alloy wheels and a restyled sports bar.


With the new sheet metal up front, plus fender flares for SR models, the HiLux style is fresher and a little less gawky than its predecessor.

On and off the road the HiLux continues to offer the usual comforts and capabilities. Extra touches, including steering-wheel mounted audio and telephone controls plus satellite navigation for SR5s, further the more carlike interior this time around.

The interior changes across the range refresh a pretty practical ute cabin without breaking too much new ground. Bigger drivers will still like a little more room height adjustment on the steering wheel, or a little less height to the seat squab.


The HiLux steers, rides and brakes with confidence (as before) although it would be hard to match the dynamics of the Volkswagen Amarok in this class. The Toyota launch machines — with 180kg in the tray — were quick and comfortable down the highway, as confident as ever in the scrub.

But for serious work consideration needs to be given to more substantial underbody protection up front.

And while the 126kW turbo diesel and four-speed auto are a sweet combination with excellent mid-range response, low-low is still a bit quick on some downhill bush tracks. But here highway fuel consumption can run into the low 8 litres per 100km.

The V6 petrol pushes out a handy 175kW, the 2.7 litre four has 116kW at 5200rpm and there remains the choice of Single, Xtra and Double Cab, three equipment grades, two and four-wheel drive plus manual and automatic transmissions.

So while much of the HiLux story remains the same it is the price repositioning, and value-added pieces, which Toyota hopes to counter the growing opposition in one of the market's brightest segments.


ImageNissan Navara D40 ST-X- compare this car
: from $50,990
Engine: 2.5-litre, 4-cyl petrol, turbodiesel, 140kW/450Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual or 5-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Body: 4-door utility
Thirst: 8.5/100km (auto 9), CO2 224g/km (auto 238)



ImageFord Ranger- compare this car
Price: from $57,390
Engine: 3.2-litre, 5-cyl turbodiesel, 147kW/470Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual or automatic, four-wheel drive
Body: 4-door utility
Thirst: 9.4l/100km (auto 9.6), CO2 238g/km (auto 256)



ImageVolkswagen Amarok- compare this car
Price: from $58,490
Engine: 2-litre, 4-cyl twin-turbodiesel, 120kW/400Nm
Transmission: 6-speed manual, four-wheel drive
Body: 4-door utility
Thirst: 7.9l/100km, CO2 209g/km




Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 32 comments

  • Teepee how can you have a burning clutch smell if you have a auto ?
    Please explain ?

    Glenn of Gosnells Posted on 24 March 2013 1:11am
  • Hi Daniel of Townsville, I have a new 2012 hilux also with steel bullbar and side rails and I get 700 + klms from my tank of fuel. I recommend that you get yours looked at for excessive fuel consumption.

    Glenn of Gosnells Posted on 24 March 2013 12:56am
  • the Hilux Double Cab 4x4 2.5 Manual (MT) is only MYR 95,000 which is only AUD 30,000. So I am assuming that toyota are ripping you off in Australia by up to 14,000 AUD. and you cant say it costs AUD14,000 to ship one 4x4?!!! I am sure it would be only a few thousand each since a 20ft container is only AUD 3000 to 4000 for one container. shoul;d fit 2 in a 20ft container. so 1,500 for each to ship! so if they can sell for AUD30,000 in Malaysia and have a profit still then how much profit is Australia toyota making! !!!! hahaahahaha you aussies are getting ripped off! Those Hilux are made in Thailand by the way. the Malaysian ones are CKD but thats only to bypass the custom and exise that in Malaysia! I am guessing its cheaper to buy a hilux in Thailand than it is in Malaysia. So once you take all this into account then you see that you really are getting ripped off yopu aussies! must be some sort of collusion or price fixing with other 4x4 companies!

    marcel dimoski of malaysia Posted on 23 March 2013 12:38am
  • Fuel injectors in diesel engines and clutch problems have dogged Hilux since the new model was introduced 5 or so years ago. My Hilux has been far less than unbreakable with problems like a bearing in the diff and two clutches in three years. It took on hell of a battle to get Toyota to pay the $1,800 to have the clutch fixed. I am considering considering buying a Ford the down side in buying a Ford they do not hold the used price like Hilux

    Fred Nurkes of Razorback Posted on 20 November 2012 6:35pm
  • Just bought a 4x4 single cab chassis aug 2012. Over the moon couldn’t have bought a better vehicle. I get about 500 kms to a tank of fuel and i have a steel bull-bar and heavy duty steel tray. Didn’t like the suspension but I changed it for OME which I was gonna do any way. Had it offroad before and after suspension change handled everything i threw at it with ease. 5/5

    Daniel of Townsville Posted on 18 October 2012 1:53pm
  • Wow, I thought since the Hilux was new, Toyota would have solved these problems. My family and I live in the United States, and we have owned Toyotas for all of my life (21 years) and we have only replaced one. I wish that these would release in the US, but I guess i could just buy a Tacoma, and it would be the same thing. In the US, Hiluxs are only in RC form at the moment. But they do have a near twin, simply called the Toyota Halfton pickup here in the US, I don’t know why, I kind of wish that Toyota would keep it simple and release their products with the same name on every continent, then they could get everyone’s input on their vehicles.

    Zach G. of United States Posted on 08 September 2012 4:40am
  • Anyone else heard of the problems with the injectors on the new sr5? Apparently diesel fuel ends up in the sump and completely destroys the bottom end, resulting in a $15k motor rebuild.

    Vince of Sydney Posted on 06 August 2012 2:44am
  • unhappy with fuel consumption. SR5 2012 dual cab manual
    getting 11.5+- /100km, nothing near what the toyota brouchers say or online.

    as previous post, im not sure whats causing the excessive fuel consumption as i dont thrash the vehicle and long trips has made not difference. done less then 2000km. i feel i kinda got ripped off considering all the added Modern extras that come default in the Volkswagen’s Amarok

    tolga erok of perth Posted on 26 July 2012 7:22pm
  • I have had gearbox and clutch problems with my 07 4x4 kun26r.
    ought secondhand with 60,000 on it and have spent 4800 on new gearbox and cluthc before it hit 100,000.. just unlucky i guess-a lemon??

    Pedro of Australia Posted on 18 July 2012 5:10am
  • Have a 2007 and a 2009 SR5 4x4 V6 auto and they have been the best vehicles I have ever owned. Never had a problem with eathier ute and the 09 has done over 130,000km pulling boats and working in forestry areas. It sounds like the newer models arn’t as good as the these ones. Get between 9.5 to 11ltrs per 100km

    Troy of Brisbane of BBrisbane Posted on 11 June 2012 11:17pm
  • the reason for hilux being used on mine sites is the fact that once upon a time they were more reliable and tougher than most 4x4’s.  which is the reason hilux have a great name.  BUT, others are catching up and others have surpassed the almighty hilux. i have a 09 sr hilux at work and love it.  i have a glxr triton at home and love it more.  what i really like is the ranger.  unless toyota pick up their game with the next generation of hilux i think it wont be long before we see rangers on mine sites. ranger is the only one in its category with 5star ancap rating.  the mines will soon be implementing this criteria to their vehicles. because of this, give it 5 years and every 4wd will have 5star ancap.

    toy yoda of hughenden Posted on 17 May 2012 10:15am
  • Say what you like but go to any mining site or mining town airport and check the 4 x 4 vehicles lined up, mining company, contractor or hire car at least 99% of the mine vehicles are Toyotas (no exaggeration). Why is this ?

    Whinger of Perth Posted on 05 May 2012 7:49am
  • What about big Injector rip-off! Businessman trying to raise class action over this?

    ray of wodonga Posted on 18 March 2012 7:20pm
  • 11 litres to 100 ks what am i doing wrong .diesel auto

    n emery of suffolk park 2481 Posted on 11 March 2012 9:04pm
  • I’ve got a 2008 SR 4 litre petrol single cab ute.
    It’s done 120 000 k and is still on the first clutch.
    It does 12l / 100k.
    It’s a great ute.
    I’m waiting for an all wheel drive like the Amarok.

    Martin of Tas Posted on 07 March 2012 9:55pm
  • This isnt a review, I got more info from the Toyota brochure!! There are no real world comparisons. No reliability investigation, ie investigation into clutch problems and the back up service from Toyota.

    Robert of QLD Posted on 03 March 2012 11:30am
  • i have a 2006 xta cab 180000 ks with no clutch problems and it been to the NT 3 times towing a boat full of gear the back of the ute full over some of the roughest roads you could come across still going strong not to mention other trips.

    blackman of newcastle Posted on 02 March 2012 11:09pm
  • I have 3 hilux’s all sr 4x4 single cabs(2009 models) and 1 duel cab 2008 model, . All have had new clutches before 50000 km, I get around 450km from 60l of fuel per average and one ute has 75000 km and is on its 3rd clutch. Toyota have told me through all the finr print that they can each carry 450kg of weight on the back tray after you add up fuel, people, steel tray, bull bar and side rails. I am a farmer and this is what they claim to made for. RUBISH 4 of the biggest peaces of crap and really bad sevice to boot. Toyota have lost there good name and Bruce McMahon you would be a lot better reviewer if you told us the good, bad and some heplful advice. I will not be getting any more Toyota’s and thats all this farm has seen!!!

    Ben of Narromine Posted on 20 February 2012 10:28pm
  • I have a 2011 sr5 duell cab, I cannot get better than 15L per 100k no matter how hard i try. I have bar, winch and rear bar but still,, pretty ordinary, but the ranger/BT 50 is worse apparently.

    Jason M of Melboune Posted on 28 January 2012 3:04pm
  • Clutch problems very common? I have an SR5 dual cab auto, spoke to toyota service rep today about burning clutch smell when reversing up slight incline with no load (less than 6deg).“This is very common to the latest Hilux’s” according to toyota service.

    teepee of wollongong Posted on 23 January 2012 6:57pm
  • Ranger at 57k and worse fuel economy, dream on.

    Victor of Melbourne Posted on 28 November 2011 5:02pm
  • Looks good, but the Ranger just kills this ud be crazy to buy one so dated . Overall dated and weak payload ,towing and a lazy engine oh and 4 spd auto .

    ryan s of melbourne Posted on 15 November 2011 7:34pm
  • The Ranger better looking than the Hilux? You’re joking right? Need to get your eyes checked. Obviously looks aren’t that important but the Hilux leaves the Ranger for dead ... Inside and out. The Navara is better looks wise too.

    Rich of Syd Posted on 13 November 2011 6:45pm
  • My money is on the Ranger. Good power and towing. Hilux need to do more with driveline and Navara’s fuel economy is the worst in its class ( do not read into what they claim they get. Try 18-22 Litres/100km. Worst when towing )

    Dave of Queensland Posted on 07 November 2011 9:24pm
  • Toyota should have upgraded the suspension, clutch and gearbox. As expecting customers to buy a Hilux for upwards of $42, 000 and expecting them to buy an aftermarket clutch, due to the weak clutch in the new car is a joke. The suspension is also destined to be upgraded too, as the vehicle is not up to carrying “Work Loads”, so are they just ” The Bosses Car”. The “Toyota Experience” call back center suggests that l acknowledge that the car has been produced in “Thailand”, so what do l expect! Shop around, as its a lot to pay for a car (4x4)

    Tim Frazer of East Gippsland Posted on 17 October 2011 8:58am
  • Toyota has again produced a Hilux, with poor running gear. Clutch problems, thrust bearing wearing quick, thin wiring throughout, two wheel drive suspension and a gearbox that isn’t destined for heavy loads or hard work. Being built in Thailand isn’t an excuse for a lack of quality, ” As the Toyota Experience feedback suggests. Buyer beware, spending upwards of $42, 000 on a 4X4, to then have to upgrade suspension, clutch and so on is a good way to lose long term supporters of a great car company. )+:

    Tim Frazer of East Gippsland Posted on 17 October 2011 8:50am
  • It might surprise most people, but most Thai built vehicles are built in Mitsubishi owned factories. Toyota has a 40% share in Mitsubishi Motors, Mitsubishi, possibly the largest corporation in the world owns 3% of Toyota, among others Mitsubishi are the major shareholder of Lion breweries, Pura milk, Warnambool cheese, and so on. Cars are a very small part of the Mitsubishi Corporation, I suspect most car journalist have know idea just how big they are.

    archg of melbourne Posted on 12 September 2011 7:35pm
  • I like the single cab pickup 4x2 as well.

    levi Posted on 09 September 2011 6:07pm
  • The new Ford Ranger is a much better looking ute than this and would get my money.

    Jim C of Sydney Posted on 07 September 2011 1:36pm
  • Waiting on the new Ranger. Nicer interior, 3350KG towing, better looking truck!

    Chris of Morwell Posted on 07 September 2011 11:37am
  • I want a single cab pickup 4x4.

    levi Posted on 07 September 2011 10:37am
  • I can’t believe you can’t get an extra cab SR5 4x4 auto. I waited for nothing. You wont be getting my money Toyota even though you won’t miss it. Now what ... wait for the Ranger or Colorado or bite the bullet and get the Navara kingcab.

    unhappy paul of adelaide Posted on 06 September 2011 9:14pm
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