Road Test: Toyota Hilux

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TOYOTA HILUX: A dominating road presence.

FIRST introduced almost 50 years ago, the Toyota Hilux has achieved legendary status in a tough sector of the marketplace. To date it has notched up global sales of over 18 million units, and in Europe last year, it was the best-selling pick-up. Now the all-new Toyota Hilux heralds a fresh era for the iconic model, with imposing styling, additional comfort, more safety features and advanced technology. It offers SUV levels of refinement and equipment, with the centre console dominated by an easy-to-use integrated tablet-like seven-inch touchscreen multimedia system. Priced from £19,177 (€21,259) it is available in Single, Extra and Double Cab body styles, it has a new and stronger ladder chassis, reinforced deck structure, enhanced 4×4 capabilities, plus improved towing capacity Although the 187 hp 2.4-litre D-4D diesel engine is smaller than the previous 3.0-litre unit, it provides vastly improved torque delivery in the low and medium speed ranges and has class-leading fuel economy. Two-wheel drive Hilux versions are equipped with six-speed manual transmissions, whilst all-wheel drive models offer a choice of six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes. My test model was a top-spec double-cab Hilux Invincible with auto gearbox and priced at £27,235 (€34,245). It has a 0-60 mph time of 12.8 seconds, top speed of 106 mph and fuel economy of 36.2 mpg combined. The driving experience is impressive, quite car-like much of the time and revised rear suspension gives a very comfortable ride. Light precise steering help make the Hilux surprising easy to manoeuvre. The vehicle – longer, lower and wider than its predecessor – is equipped with a switchable all-wheel drive system featuring a high and low-ratio transfer case, and both front and rear locking limited-slip rear differentials. It has a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes. In the cabin, the dashboard looks as smart as in most SUVs. Seating is supportive and comfy, and there is plenty of room for rear occupants. Standard kit includes cruise control, touchscreen multimedia system, Bluetooth, rear-view camera and automatic air con. It also has a wealth of safety features such as lane departure warning, road sign assist, stability and trailer-sway controls. With a dominating road presence thanks to its imposing size and slick styling, the new Hilux features eye-catching 18-inch alloys, scuff plates, chrome sidebars with steps, and rear privacy glass. Tough workhorse it may be, but added elements of luxury and driving refinement help keep it top of the pick-up class.

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