In an average day, the Hilux is put through work that would probably eventually kill other, less durable cars, or at least wear them out. It is important, then, that its built to withstand not only the abuse of a work day, but still be comfortable outside of business hours – for when you need a vehicle that is more style than substance.
Thankfully, the Hilux has been retuned to provide everyday drivers with something that can go anywhere and do anything, whether it’s going down to the shops for groceries or picking up a whole new kitchen to put the groceries in.
Driving around on paved roads, the Hilux is well settled with no pitching or skittishness when unloaded. 2WD mode is fine for city driving, and is good for conserving fuel, though it's not the worst drinker - coming into the low 7 litre mark per 100km in the 2.8L diesel.
Something to be aware of is the different braked towing limits on each model. 4x2 Hiluxes can only carry 2500kg behind them; while Hi-Rider models can tow 2800kg. 4x4 models get more complicated:
Got a V6 petrol (manual or auto) or the 2.4L diesel with an automatic transmission? You can tow 3 tonnes.
If you have a 2.4L diesel with a manual transmission or the 2.8L diesel with an automatic, you can tow 3200kgs.
The 2.8L diesel with a manual transmission is the only model that can pull the top figure of 3500kg, according to Toyota.
Of course, you probably can ask an automatic to carry 3500kg but the stress on the engine and transmission will be increased and you may not be covered under warranty if something goes bang when you decide to start pulling over the manufacturers recommendation. Plus, because of payloads and various other figures – loading the Hilux to the hilt may not even be legal if you’ve got all your passengers on board.
Safety has been beefed up on the Hilux, thanks to businesses increasingly requiring a five-star ANCAP rating as the minimum for the last couple of years. Seven airbags are standard across the Hilux range, including dual front and side; side curtain and drivers knee airbags. And because more and more utes are finding their way into driveways where little kids play, a reversing camera is standard across the range – which is a lifesaver not only when backing out in the mornings, but also around town.
However, the Hilux doesn’t come with live reversing camera guides (like the Corolla or Camry), or, more importantly front or rear parking sensors. It’s not as if the Hilux has the worst visibility for the front or back – far from it – but it would be nice to know approximately where you are so you’re not denting your brand new ute when driving around.