The Toyota Hilux has come a long way from its humble beginnings. The term ‘Hilux’ stands for a huge range of vehicles some with rear-wheel drive, some with drive to all four wheels, some with single cabs, some with dual, and that’s before you get to engines and trim levels. In total, 32 variants are on offer.
Toyota Hilux SR Overview
The mid-range SR variants are the biggest sellers. Car Showroom recently tested a 4WD petrol V6 SR fitted with a commodious steel tray. You score remote central locking and a CD player, but this remains a rather basic style of ute and to get any sense of being in command of a sports ute, you need to specify the topline SR5 variant of any Hilux.
The steel tray is a factory option and is beautifully finished with a timber floor. At $2750 it seems like great value. It is easier to list what you don’t get on the SR – no standard air-conditioning, no cruise control, no anti-lock brakes. The presence of several blank, inoperative pushbutton controls reinforces the sense of sparseness.
The cloth upholstery should last for many decades, as doubtless will all the hard plastic used throughout the cabin. You do get power steering, windows and mirrors. And the latest SR gets a single slot CD player as part of a pretty low-grade sound system.
Toyota Hilux SR Engine
Toyota’s 4.0-litre petrol V6 is a beauty. It makes 175 kW of power and 376 Nm of torque, which may not be the best figures in this class but are more than sufficient to endow the Hilux with excellent acceleration and reasonable fuel economy. You can expect to use less than nine litres per 100 kilometres at highway speeds.
Transmissions are five-speed manual or four-speed auto, with the latter being fitted to the test car. At least one additional ratio would be welcome but the engine does settle down to a very relaxed rpm regime in the highest ratio.
The Hilux is typical of the class it dominates by having the old-fashioned part-time four-wheel drive. Naturally, it also has low range. Off-road ability is first-class.
Toyota Hilux SR Interior
You never forget that this has been designed as a work vehicle. The cloth seats are comfortable enough and look as if they will last forever. These seats cannot be reclined far because there is little space behind them. The dashboard plastics look and feel (and probably are) cheap and there is something of an assortment of greys and different textures.
There is no leather wrapping for the steering wheel or handbrake and both items are reminiscent of what we expected in the 1980s. We are spoiled by the standard of trim provided in even some of the cheapest sedans. But the build quality is high. What controls there are operate efficiently. Just as we don’t judge a book by its cover, we shouldn’t judge a workhorse like this by its (no-nonsense) cabin.
Toyota Hilux SR Exterior & Styling
The current generation Hilux arrived here in March 2005 and offered something of a revolution in styling. From its bold Toyota grille through its nicely proportioned body, there is a great sense of mission to the Hilux.
You can understand why Toyota’s local executives reckoned a TRD (Toyota Racing Developments) Hilux might have been a good idea. That was certainly one hot-looking ute, but those looks failed to translate into sufficient sales.
The SR cab-chassis looks rugged and purposeful. It is actually a rather fine design, which has not dated at all in more than half a decade.
Toyota Hilux SR On The Road
It is unfair to judge the ride of the Hilux cab-chassis without a load in the back. This variant has a payload of 1110 kilograms but nothing graced that wooden tray during the time Car Showroom drove it. The cab-chassis would drive a great deal better with a load. In its naked state the ride is very jiggly. Even moderate throttle out of tight corners presents a challenge to the rear suspension’s tractive abilities and in this respect the 2010 Hilux is reminiscent of an old-style Falcon or Commodore ute in the days before traction control. It would be easy to slide the tail out on a wet or loose-surfaced road and with none of the safety features often taken for granted these days, discretion is far the better part of valour.
The high-profile and relatively narrow tyres offer little grip. Remember, this is not a sports ute. Nevertheless, it is pleasant enough to drive, always feeling responsive and, as long as you are smooth with your inputs, well balanced. The steering has quite good feel and weight but it does control a large turning circle.
Toyota Hilux SR Challenges
It’s unfortunate Toyota Australia did not specify anti-lock brakes for this popular model. Rear vision with the huge tray is difficult. The turning circle should be tighter.
Toyota Hilux SR Verdict
With its handsome tray and air-conditioning this Hilux SR5 would cost about $45K on the road. At this price, it offers a tough workhorse with a certain amount of road presence and a great heritage. And Toyota has the best resale in the class.
Toyota Hilux SR Competition
The Hilux dominates all rivals but the Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi are worthy rivals. It is fair to say that in most respects the Toyota is no better but it just enjoys a stronger reputation and brand allure.
Toyota Hilux SR Likes:
Excellent 4WD ability, hard work credentials, tough appearance, Toyota reputation
Toyota Hilux SR Dislikes:
Low standard equipment levels, reverse parking a challenge