Can you improve on perfection? Apparently you can, at least when it comes to the Toyota Hilux.
Okay, maybe perfection is an exaggeration, but the HiLux had already acquired the reputation for being unbreakable. There seems no reason for developers to make any improvements to its eighth reincarnation in 2016. However, they did. The HiLux utility vehicle is one of the toughest in the market, but competition from Volkswagen and Ford drove the developers to start from scratch for the new, improved HiLux model. It took them 6 years and 650,000 kilometres of test-driving in Australia. The results are quite impressive, potentially making the 2016 model the best one Toyota will roll out for the decade.
The new model has a stronger frame and platform, designed for improved structural rigidity and towing capability of up to 3.5 tonnes. It also has better suspension for a better and smoother ride for adventure seekers that favour off-road travel (which according to some sources comprise 100% of Australian owners).
It features the SR5+ dual-cab diesel engine and gear boxes. The engine may lag a little in pulling power compared to previous models, but it has a better payload at 925 kg and considerably more torque that keeps it from feeling overwhelmed. This provides a more refined, smoother and quieter ride that you barely register that it is running, something impossible with engines that are more powerful. You can say goodbye to annoying vibrations and noise with the 2016 HiLux engine.
Gear shifting (up to six) is smooth and effective, dropping cleanly when braking. You could comfortably take a steep hill in first gear (in 4L) with total momentum control.
Towing was a pleasure, as the engine demonstrated its power impressively, and the all-terrain tyres provided impressive grip for the most slippery of slopes. Going uphill was no problem, even with a tow load, as the vehicle’s anti-rollback feature gave you just the extra two seconds you need to gather power for the pull. The wheel articulation, improved by 20%, made going up and down steep hills a non-issue, and better clearance (25%) and a wading depth of 8600 mm handled ruts and wet with ease. The new underbody protection system took care of any mud and rocks that the vehicle had to squelch through or lurch over.
Steering was also much improved compared to the heavy feel of older models. The 4H and 4L system was lighter and more accurate, making manoeuvring and parking a lot easier, and it could handle tight corners without a problem. This is an important feature when going off-road.
Head on over to the interior, and you will also find much to impress. It has been completely remodelled and equipped, featuring satellite navigation, digital radio, as well as the now-standard touch screen media system. It also comes with a rear camera, and optional cab chassis camera. You will find a couple of stowage bines hidden under the back seat and a cooler box big enough for two 600 ml bottles. It can also accommodate child safety seats with the included ISOFIX points in the back seats, which also have a lot more legroom, flip down armrests, and cup holders.