When Toyota released the eighth-generation HiLux they made it stronger. Everything has been strengthened, including a thicker frame, stiffer body, new high-torque turbo-diesel engines, advanced six-speed transmissions, beefed-up suspension and brakes, and expanded off-road ability.
Externally it has a very distinctive grill and protruding nose. I actually like it but many don’t. The SR5, as you would expect, has plenty of external bling like LED headlights and daytime running lamps as standard, front fog lights, a sports bar in the tub, chrome radiator grille, chrome rear step and new 18-inch alloy wheels which are fitted with a new 265/60 R18 highway tyre that is designed to assist with fuel economy without compromising handling.
Internally the SR5 was fitted with the optional pack that included leather seats, which were well worth it. They are electronically adjustable and very comfortable and work with the height and reach adjustable leather steering wheel.
The dash has a two dial blue light style with a MFD between. Very clear and easy to use and read. The steering wheel frames toe dash perfectly, some vehicles, when you drop the wheel, you lose the top of the dash from sight. The wheel itself feels great in your hands and houses the audio and MFD controls. Toyota has introduced the slide out cup/bottle holders below the side vents, a brilliant idea copied from Isuzu.
The centre console is uncluttered with the transmission lever and a select for drive mode button. In front are two cup holders and behind a clever storage area. The centre console is padded on top and reasonable size.
The select on the fly dial for the 2WD/4WD system is located just below and to the left of the steering wheel. This sits alongside the rear diff lock, downhill descent control and traction control switches.
Sitting proud on top of the centre stack is the 7 inch screen that houses Satellite Navigation, Toyota Link, audio system etc. It works well enough but Toyota keeps refusing to include Apple Car Play and Android/Auto and that is a pain for some drivers.
The rear seats are comfortable for three people and they have more knee clearance, a top-tether anchor and two ISOFIX child-restraint anchors, and a 60-40 split-fold rear seat base with central armrest and A/C vents which is a bonus.
Top-of-the-line SR5 also has
- keyless smart entry and start,
- automatic air-conditioning,
- chrome door handles,
- premium steering wheel and shift knob,
- auto-levelling LED headlamps,
- front air conditioned cooler box capable of heating or cooling two 600ml bottles,
- Auto on/off LED Headlamps with auto-levelling and LED daytime running lights (DRLs),
- 2 12V accessory plugs,
- 220V accessory socket,
- USB input and
- Silver interior highlights.
Hilux is powered by an improved 2.8L high-torque turbo-diesel engine. It produces power of 130kW and torque of 450Nm. This is much better than the previous engine and translates directly to a more relaxed driving experience. This aided by the intelligent 6 speed automatic transmission that has been specifically developed for the engine. It is quieter on the road, more responsive to throttle inputs and more direct steering means better handling.
The Hilux has always been an outstanding 4WD Ute and it is now even better and stronger with unique underbody protection and heavy duty suspension package. The shift on the fly features an electronic 4×2 & 4×4 transfer switch and a rear diff lock.
The off road capability has been improved with 20% more wheel articulation and better approach and departure angles. There really is no need to discuss the 4WD ability of the HiLux. It if superb.
Towing has now been increased to 3,500kg. The increased torque and the low rpm delivery now means that towing with the Hilux gets a big tick.
Hilux SR5 has a 5 star ANCAP safety rating and features include:
- 7 SRS airbags Active Traction Control (A-TRC),
- Hill-start Assist Control (HAC),
- Downhill Assist Control (DAC) and
- Reversing Camera
- Towing ability
- Comfort and features
- 4WD ability
Not so good bits:
- Missing some safety items
- It’s a little pricey
- No Apple CarPlay®/Android® Auto
The Toyota Hilux continues to be a premier 4WD Ute. Recent improvements have made it better and stronger. It is now better at towing and driving off road while cocooning the occupants in more comfort and style. It missed the award by one point but to be honest I have never met a buyer that has regretted buying a Hilux.
Facts and Figures: Toyota Hilux SR5 Dual Cab Ute 4WD
- Engine: 2.8L 4 Cylinder CRD 130kW/450Nm
- Transmission: Six-speed AT 4WD
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: Thailand
- Warranty: 3 yrs/100,000km
- Price: From $61,882 RDAP