2016 Toyota HiLux Road Test and Review.
The Toyota HiLux range had been a runaway success for years, but was well and truly in need of an update. Before this new one turned up late last year.
So, how do you improve and renew a vehicle thatâ€™s consistently been one of the biggest selling cars in Australia?
Rivals were circling in this highly profitable sector of the market, with a host of new generation twin-cab utes set for battle. Think Nissanâ€™s highly functional and comfortable Navara, the Volkswagen Amarok or the popular Ford Ranger.
Bigger than big budget television commercials set in a variety of challenging locations, swooping aerials of the action, drivers and their passengers having a great old time, and loving close-ups of the good looking new HiLux face. You certainly get a sense of whatâ€™s at stake here.
It comes as little surprise then that the updated Toyota HiLux SR5 is smoother, handles better and is a more enjoyable drive than the model it replaces.
Toyotaâ€™s local engineers worked through an unprecedented six-year program traveling one million kilometres developing a new suspension package, enhanced underbody protection, and electronic control systems tuned for more effective off-road driving.
Owners trading-in their HiLux on the latest SR5 version will appreciate the added features, improved ride and better economy from the smaller 2.8 litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel producing 130kW and 450Nm.
Claimed braked towing capacity is 3200kg, and while Toyota claims 8.5 litres per 100 km, I didnâ€™t manage that, but over a week of driving in various conditions I wasnâ€™t far off.
This top of the range vehicle starts about $55,900 before on-roads, and another $2,000 if you want the powered, leather seats. The new HiLux is covered by Toyota Service Advantage capped-price servicing at $180 per service
While clearly not carrying anywhere near the 925kg payload the HiLux is capable of, the twin cab ute effortlessly managed three golfers with their bags and gear, providing most enjoyable travel from Melbourne to the Mornington Peninsula.
A fun journey, despite one or two tense moments with the satellite-navigation.
I was having difficulties entering the location, so my front seat passenger decided she would take over, and, much to my amusement, had just as much trouble as I did! We eventually made it, all still on speaking terms. Bluetooth and the audio system though weâ€™re a breeze.
The earlier HiLux was a bit bouncy around town without a load to balance things out, but not so much now. Thereâ€™s no doubt itâ€™s comfortable on a long journey, and is just as functional around town.
The cabin feels more car like, the steering and drive more polished; but my back seat passenger said she would have appreciated a little more leg room.
So Toyota has breathed new life into the ever popular HiLuxâ€¦ It might not be class leader in every respect, but it advances the action, and will no doubt find a new generation of buyers, from tradies to families to the upwardly mobile who need the added flexibility of a tray as well as the dual-cab.
These buyers are unlikely to be disappointed by the new Toyota HiLux.
NUTS and BOLTS - 2016 Toyota HiLux SR5
Engine: 2.8 litre turbo-diesel producing 130kW and 420Nm(manual)/450Nm(auto) or 4.0 litre V6 petrol producing 175kW and 376Nm
Transmission: Six-speed auto or six-speed manual (diesel), automatic only in V6
Safety: Five stars
Price: SR5 HiLux from $53,990