Toyota’s HiLux ute is one of Australia’s most popular 4WDs. That’s borne out in sales charts, the sheer volume of them on Aussie roads and the passion with which HiLux owners love their utes.
And it’s easy to see why: the HiLux is tough, reliable, good-looking and it has fantastic resale value. It’s the ute standard that all others are measured against. It’s been 10 years since a new HiLux was unleashed on the Aussie market, so expectation for this one is through the roof. Here are the top 5 reasons to buy it.
#1 Great styling
The new HiLux looks great: it’s sacrificed a bit of chunky-truckness but, thankfully, no modern dual-cab utes look like they used to. This HiLux has a strong and slick contemporary appearance and can now comfortably hold its own style-wise against trend-setting lookers like VW Amarok and Ford Ranger.
Its sharp, flared front-end and tapered sides, all the way back to the business end of its tray, meld nicely into a good-looking truck with plenty of on and off-road presence. This HiLux looks right at home on city streets and country back roads.
#2 Cool interior
Those good looks continue inside. The cabin is a touch taller and wider than previously and it really is easy on the eyes. It looks and feels like a car’s interior and it’s been designed for real-world use: the multi-function touchscreen unit on the dash is nice and big – great for viewing maps or the reversing camera – and it’s user-friendly.
There’s also plenty of storage everywhere – including a cooler box in the dash.
And with that interior style comes substance. All buttons, knobs and dials are within easy reach – important when you’re touring or off-roading; there’s tilt-and-reach steering-wheel adjustment in all 4x4 models, and SR5s, like this one, have seat-height adjustment. And the seats are comfortable: we did more than 3000km in this without any grumbles.
One of the first things you notice when you drive this HiLux is just how supremely smooth and quiet this new 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine really is. There is a 2.4-litre diesel option (mated to the new six-speed manual or auto gearbox); and a 4.0-litre petrol V6, tweaked from the previous Hilux (that’s only available with the auto gearbox).
In the 2.8-litre, there is little to no of that oiler rattle, evident in the 3.0-litre it replaces. You really have to kick this thing in the guts to get any noise out of it. The drive experience over highways, gravel roads and off the beaten track is a quiet one.
#4 Impressive drivetrain
The gutsy 2.8 is a real winner. On paper, it produces 130kW and 450Nm – that’s 90Nm more than the previous one in auto form. In real terms, it’s punchier and responds more readily than the outgoing 3.0-litre.
What’s more, it works superbly with the six-speed auto, which is a much more refined, fast-working unit than the five-speed auto of old, which tended to feel a touch agricultural at times.
#5 Off-road ability
The good news is that HiLux has lost none of the model’s hard-earned off-road credibility. It’s been redesigned and rebuilt from the ground up: 10 years in the making; six years of research, testing – hard-core testing – and development right here in Australia.
Toyota’s white coats drove this thing over more than 650,000km of Aussie roads and tracks. And it shows. There’s all-new stiffer chassis and firmer suspension, improved ground clearance, more rear-wheel travel (the leaf springs are 100mm longer than before), and sturdier underbody protection. Bonus: The new A-TRAC electronic traction control system is very effective at limiting wheel spin. There’s also a rear diff lock in SR and SR5s.
The new HiLux is better in every way than the model it replaces: it’s better-looking, smoother, quieter, and more refined. There are 31 variations of the new one from which to choose; 19 are 4x4s, and dual-cabs make up the lion’s share of those.
List pricing for the SR5 dual cab 4x4 diesel auto we tested is $55,990.
It’s chock-full of mod cons, but the new HiLux has not turned its back on its tough-as-nails heritage; it’s embraced it.
You'll find anything HiLux related at our Toyota HiLux hub.
Related: Check out our hub for utes here.