Sales Success Deserved for Toyota’s Number One
Toyota recently handed Car Showroom the keys to its number one best-selling vehicle…that would be the HiLux ute.
In fact in April last year (2008), HiLux became the first ever ute to be Australia’s number one best-selling vehicle outright when some 3,814 were sold in the month. Last month (June, 2009) HiLux achieved an all-time sales record with more than 4,700 being sold (buoyed by the Federal Government’s Investment Allowance taxation concessions for business sales).
The reasons for this sales success are simple: HiLux is well-specced, well-priced, drives well and there’s one to suit just about every purpose – for either work or recreational use. Incredibly the model range of HiLux 4x4 and 4x2 models now totals some 30 variants.
What You Get
HiLux comes in 14 4x2 models, 16 4x4 models, three cabin styles (Single cab, Xtra Cab and Double Cab), three equipment grades (Work mate, SR and SR5) and offers a choice of three engines – 2.7-litre, 4-cylinder petrol; 4.0-litre V6 petrol or 3.0-litre turbo-diesel.
All have dual SRS airbags while ABS anti-lock brakes are standard on SR5 models and can be optioned on SR versions.
So if you’re in the market for a light commercial ute and can’t find a HiLux to suit – catch the bus!
We spent a week in a 4.0-litre petrol manual SR model Pickup.
HiLux too light for your needs? Write to Toyota and lobby them to import the excellent Tundra truck from North America. We’ve driven the Tundra too and it’s excellent.
Under The Hood
The 4.0-litre all-alloy quad-cam V6 petrol engine – popularly now available across the range – is code-named 1GR-FE. That’s number is important as it signifies it is one of the current crop of Toyota’s latest generation engine designs.
Featuring an intelligent linkless electronic throttle, a laser-welded plastic air-intake chamber and plastic fuel delivery pipe and water inlet pipe (amongst a raft of weight-saving efforts), the smooth, refined all-new V6 delivers 175kW of power at 5200 rpm and peak torque of 376Nm at 3800 rpm. That’s 41 per cent more power and 29 per cent more torque than the previous iron V6.
Toyota’s new 2TR-FE 2.7-litre, four cylinder petrol powerplant offers VVT-I variable valve timing amongst a heap of new technology compared to the previous 2.7-litre engine. Power is up by 14kW to 118kW at 5300 rpm and torque improves by 13Nm to 214Nm at 3800 rpm.
HilLux highlights the all-new 1KD-FTV 3.0-litre intercooled common rail turbo-diesel with twin counter-rotating balance shafts to reduce NVH (noise, vibration and harshness). Good for 120kW and 343Nm, and available across the range (including the 4x4 auto for the first time), the turbo-diesel is a beauty.
Lining up against some formidable opposition, the HiLux range presents strong credentials with typically pleasant and ergonomic Toyota interiors.
The three-section instrument panel provides circular analogue instruments (LED in Work mate and SR models). SR5 range-toppers gain Optitron-type meters and a multi-function display containing information like outside temperature, fuel consumptions and range-to-empty.
Grey tone fabric trims are reminiscent of other Toyota models (Work mate models get vinyl naturally).
SR5 models have height adjustment for the drivers’ seat and standard air-conditioning.
Work Mate models have a two-speaker CD/Tuner sound system. SR models gain an MP3 compatible CD/Tuner while SR5s get two extra speakers and an in-dash six CD system.
Exterior & Styling
HiLux’s contemporary looks are typically Toyota – conservative yet stylish.
The new body styling has created extra load length – 155mm in single cabs and 165mm in Double Cabs
SR5 models are distinguished by 15-inch alloy wheels, body colour front bumper and radiator grille, a Sports Bar, chrome step rear bumper and chrome door handles and exterior mirrors.
The new headlights and clear lenses for the front indicator lights add a fresh touch to the front end.
On The Road
Behind the wheel of the Hilux, Toyota’s extensive efforts in reducing interior noise and NVH are obvious – refinement levels are much better than earlier models.
The 4.0-litre petrol model we tested delivered excellent response and even with no load in the cargo area was nicely balanced with nice feedback from the steering even in high-speed cornering. In the Pickup model visibility was good and reverse parking (often complex in utes) was no problem.
HiLux continues to dominate the ute market with both commercial and recreational buyers (around 20 per cent of HiLux sales are accounted for by private recreational use). It’s all-round competency, nice driving dynamics and modern styling continue to score big points.
Whether buying for commercial or recreational use the major issues in commercial vehicles are tray size, cargo and payload capacity.
Nice styling; nice to drive; interior comfort
Staggering model lineup takes some understanding