What's the used Toyota Hilux pick-up like?
If you were asked to name a used vehicle that was figuratively bulletproof, then chances are you’d have replied ‘Well, that’ll be the Toyota Hilux, of course’. For more than 50 years, the Hilux has forged a reputation for dependability when faced with the most inhospitable of environments. It’s also given buyers exactly what they wanted in terms of towing, payload capacity and cost of ownership – values it continues to strive for even in its eighth generation.
Under its long bonnet is a large capacity 2.4-litre four-cylinder diesel engine. Unlike the ultra-smooth and very powerful 3.0-litre V6 found in the Volkswagen Amarok, the engine in the Hilux is grumbly at idle and gets no better once you’re on the move. To make matters worse, it only produces 148bhp to shift a vehicle that weighs over two tonnes before you’ve added any payload, so you’ll be working the engine quite hard when merging onto faster roads.
Despite its lack of outright oomph compared with rivals, the Hilux can still offer a payload capacity of 3500kg – one of the best in the business. It can even tow a braked trailer of 3500kg, if required. Only the most powerful Amarok can top that.
The bed is impressive, too. With a length of 1510mm and a width of 1560mm at its widest point (1080mm where the wheel arches intrude), the back of the Hilux has been well thought out, even if a Nissan Navara does have a longer bed and an Amarok has less wheelarch intrusion. At 475mm in depth, it’s deep enough to load up plenty of stuff, but not so low that you’ll need to clamber onto the tyres when reaching in to grab equipment out of the back.
Although pick-up trucks these days are almost as likely to be bought for family car duty as they are a workhorse role, the Hilux interior is durable rather than plush. Don’t expect any soft touch plastics or thick carpets; think of it more as a hose-down and wipe clean environment, even though top models come with leather seats. The driving position isn’t bad, but shoulder room isn’t great and rear occupants will find things a bit cramped. Shallow footwells mean they’ll have to travel with their knees bent at an uncomfortable angle, too.
This agricultural nature extends to the driving experience. The Hilux has rock-hard rear suspension that needs considerable ballast before the leaf springs will yield to bumps like the rather soft front suspension does. The latter also causes the front end of the vehicle to dive considerably upon entering a corner, while the rather knobbly tyres howl in protest if you try to carry speed through a bend. Don’t expect precision from the steering, either: it’s rather slow to respond for the purposes of off road driving.
The basic Active model comes with air conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, auto headlights and electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors. You’ll need a mid-range Icon model for alloy wheels, a DAB radio, cruise control and a reversing camera; autonomous safety equipment only comes as standard from Invincible spec onwards, while top-of-the-range Invincible X is the only one to get sat nav as standard.
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