2016 Toyota HiLux Review : on- and off-road
The Toyota HiLux has long had a reputation for being one of the toughest utes on the market – and with this, the eighth-generation model, the brand says it has made the unbreakable HiLux even more unbreakable.
With six years and 650,000km of hardcore development testing in Australia, the HiLux is said to have taken a step forward from its record-selling predecessor.
Now, the fact the old HiLux broke all sorts of records in terms of sales in Australia meant Toyota could have rested on its laurels and done as little as possible to get the updated model over the line.
But they didn’t. In fact, in 2009 the company was part-way through the development of the new model when they tore up the plans in 2011 and started again because it wasn’t pushing the boundaries enough.
As a result there have been big changes.
An all-new frame and platform, new suspension, some new engines and upgraded transmissions, upgraded brakes and, for those who like to get off the beaten track – according to Toyota that’s everyone who buys a HiLux – there’s upgraded underbody protection.
The model we have here is the bulk seller – the SR5 dual-cab – and aside from obviously looking more stylish, the changes around the truck are pretty huge.
At the front there are LED headlights and a completely new look, and along the side the wheel arches are nicely sculpted. At the rear, the tub is bigger than before – most notably it’s considerably wider, but still can’t fit a pallet.
HiLux can now tow the benchmark 3-and-a-half tonnes, but only with the manual gearbox – the auto model can “only” tow 3.2 tonnes.
Inside the changes are, as you might expect, massive.
The interior is completely new, and in a first for the ute segment every model has a touchscreen media system. In the SR5 you get satellite navigation and digital radio, too.
The company has put quite a bit of thought in to the storage inside the cabin, and there’s even a cooler box that can store two 600mL bottles. There are also lots of storage spots for cups and bottles in the front.
The back seat has been improved in terms of space and comfort, according to the brand. I’ll check that out soon, but first we should hit the road.
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