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Toyota HiLux Workmate 4x4 auto dual cab 2016 review

EXPERT RATING
8
As we approach the biggest month for ute sales, we get acquainted with the cheapest version of the top-selling 4WD.

Want proof the Australian economy is powering? Most buyers of the Toyota HiLux ute are choosing the top-of-the-range SR5 that stretches beyond $60,000 by the time it’s in the traffic.

Which is why there are red hot deals on the HiLux Workmate and SR double cab 4WD models - from $41,990 drive-away, up to $6600 off - distinguished by their love-em-or-hate-em black steel wheels. These more affordable models are being overlooked by buyers chasing a bit more chrome and some extra creature comforts.

But after testing the cheapest model in the HiLux double cab 4WD range, I can’t figure out why you need one with the works. Especially at the current price. Until the end of June, the Workmate double-cab 4WD can be had for $41,990 drive-away (we tested the auto at $43,990 drive-away, add $550 for metallic paint), which is a big head start on the full RRP of $50,664 drive-away.

Unlike the HiLux SR and SR5 which are powered by a 2.8-litre turbo diesel, the Workmate is powered by a 2.4-litre turbo diesel -- also matched to either a six-speed manual or six-speed auto transmission. But the Workmate gets the same suspension, underbody protection, upgraded brakes, seven airbags, stability control and rear camera as the dearer models.

The biggest surprise was just how perky the 2.4-litre diesel feels compared with the bigger 2.8.

Towing capability is down only slightly: 3000kg for the Workmate auto versus 3200kg for the SR and SR5 auto. But payload is better on the Workmate than on any of the other double-cab HiLux 4WD pick-ups: 955kg versus 920kg on the SR and 925kg on the SR5.

Other differences: the Workmate has a vinyl floor, cloth seats and an auto-up driver’s window while the SR gains (in addition to the 2.8-litre diesel) a painted front bumper, height adjustable driver’s seat, and sidestep rails. The biggest surprise was just how perky the 2.4-litre diesel feels compared with the bigger 2.8. It was next to impossible to pick the difference.

Importantly, the 2.4 even has more torque (400Nm) than the previous HiLux 3.0-litre (343Nm), and not much less than the new 2.8 (450Nm). The extra grunt combined with the six-speed auto gives the HiLux Workmate more than enough oomph to get out of its own way, although none of these trucks can ever be mistaken for anything other than a workhorse.

The 2.4 is a little noisier than the 2.8 in our experience (in particular there is an induction hissing noise near the driver’s side front fender, Toyota says this is normal). But economy was impressive; with an 80 litre fuel tank you can in theory travel up to 960km between refills -- in ideal conditions (ie: without a load and travelling at open road speeds rather than the stop start of city driving).

The single biggest surprise was just how comfortable the Workmate is over bumps thanks to its cushy tyres (versus the 18s on the HiLux SR5).

Verdict

Toyota ought to be commended for not compromising on the heavy duty capability of its HiLux range, but it needs to find a way to make the SR5 feel as plush (comparatively speaking) as the Workmate and SR models on their black rims.

Which to buy? If the budget allows, it may be worth stepping up to the SR ($46,990 drive-away manual, $48,990 drive-away auto) but the saving is only $4300 off the full RRP.
For now, buyers of the Workmate are laughing all the way to the bank, mate.

Would you choose the Workmate over the SR5, or another ute entirely? Let us know in the comments below.

Click here to see more 2016 Toyota HiLux pricing and spec info.

Pricing Guides

$39,988
Based on 1053 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$14,988
Highest Price
$49,999

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
SR 4.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $19,987 – 31,990 2016 Toyota HiLux 2016 SR Pricing and Specs
SR (4x4) 4.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $24,990 – 47,990 2016 Toyota HiLux 2016 SR (4x4) Pricing and Specs
SR Hi-Rider 2.8L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $29,880 – 30,990 2016 Toyota HiLux 2016 SR Hi-Rider Pricing and Specs
SR5 (4x4) 4.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $35,998 – 49,999 2016 Toyota HiLux 2016 SR5 (4x4) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Pricing Guide

$15,880

Lowest price, based on 68 car listings in the last 6 months

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