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Hilux just got even better

 
Created on 23/08/2016 @ 12:38
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

The world’s favourite pick-up just got even better with Toyota revealing the stylish new Hilux – but the competition is improving too.

Hilux has been a dominant presence in the global pick-up market for nearly 50 years, recording global sales of over 16 million units, while in Europe some 34,000 models were sold in 2015 alone.

That represents a 23.1 per cent share of the market, making Hilux Europe’s best-selling pick-up.

But canny bosses at Toyota have been quick to identify the competition sneaking up on the rails from the Mitsubishi L200, Nissan Navara, Volkswagen Amarok, Isuzu D-Max and Ssang Yong Korando and moved up another gear.

The latest Hilux is tougher, stronger and more capable off-road than ever before and heralds a new era for the pick-up, adding comfort, safety and advanced technology, hoping to fend off any pretenders to the throne.

Hilux proved it has all the quality, durability and reliability to succeed in this sector by achieving podium finishes in the 2016 Dakar Rally and is now available in single, extra and double cab body styles with a new and stronger ladder chassis, reinforced deck structure, enhanced 4×4 capabilities and improved towing capacity.

The double cab version on test came with a 2.4 litre D-4D engine and featured stop-start technology, six-speed automatic transmission, vastly improved torque delivery and generated 148bhp at 3,400rpm with class leading fuel economy of 36.2mpg on the combined cycle.

The version was surprisingly quick too with a top speed of 106mph and 0-62mph in 12.8seconds.

At 5,335 mm long, 1,855 mm wide and 1,815 mm high, the new Hilux is 75 mm longer, 20 mm wider and 45 mm lower than its predecessor and really looks the part. A new upper-grille and headlamp design with a powerful looking bumper housing the large lower grille simply oozes toughness.

On the road this is a much smoother Hilux than the predecessor as Toyota look to cater for the needs of a diverse market. And they have succeeded because this model was equally at home on the motorway as it was on the lanes and tracks of Mid Wales.

Inside it would be easy to mistakenly think you were sitting in a Toyota saloon, with a stylish dash on the Invincible Double Cab model on test and stacks of information and technology on offer.

There was power steering, cruise control, reach and rake adjustable steering column, cooled glovebox, a multi-media system, Bluetooth connectivity, air conditioning, tip-up rear seats, cloth upholstery and a 4.2inch multi-information screen.

There are three trim levels at launch: entry-level Active is single or extra cab only and aimed at the commercial vehicle market, while Icon is the cheapest double cab variant with a more upmarket look. Invincible and in particular Invincible X models gain a host of added luxuries. 

Prices start at £19,177 for the Single Cab Active with a six-speed manual gearbox while the Invincible on test would set you back £32,645 or £27,251 if you could get the VAT back.

The increased load space will prove popular with buyers but the added inches mean parking is even more difficult than before – though the reversing camera does provide extra security in those tight-squeeze situations.

The opposition for Hilux might well be growing and improving but it’s hard to imagine the quality will grow to the levels of this Toyota.

 

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