Reviews

NAVARA VS HILUX VS D-MAX

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3-WAY UTE COMPARISON

We put Toyota’s updated HiLux SR5+ up against Nissan’s Navara N-Sport and Isuzu’s D-Max LS-U.

 

Since debuting in 2015, Toyota has largely left the hot-selling ute alone. And why wouldn’t you, when it sells so well. But with ute buyers always wanting a bit of extra luxury and better specifications, Toyota has brought out the HiLux SR5+.

 

There’s also a HiLux SR+, but we’ve only got the SR5+ in this instance. While it has always been a solid ute, the HiLux has been criticised for its lack of value compared to the competition. Now with a bit of new spec on the sheet, Toyota is looking to adjust that.

 

From 2018 onwards, the HiLux SR5 gets a locking rear tub, daytime-running LED lights and air vents on the second row of seats. On top of that, the ‘+’ designation gives you an electric driver’s seat and leather accents on the pews. It’s not going to blow the Ranger Wildtrak or V6 Amarok away, but it’s a definite improvement.

 

Shock absorbers with some slightly softer valving have also been included on this round of updates, which goes a long way to fix the HiLux. It’s only a small tweak… but it does make a huge difference.  

 

To put this HiLux up to the test, we’ve got some competition: Nissan’s Navara (in N-Sport form), and Isuzu’s higher-specced D-Max LS-U. The Nissan is a bit of an oddity compared to the others. With two turbos under the bonnet, two coils under the bum, and 2.4 litres running through seven speeds in the automatic gearbox, Nissan does things a little differently.

 

On the other hand, the Isuzu D-Max is all about those traditional ute values. It’s the biggest engine out of these options, but does feel a little rough and lazy in relative comparison. The ute’s ride is all ute, as well. When unladen you bounce around plenty, especially on rough roads and tracks. But when you look at it as a ute, those things are forgivable. Actually, they’re almost endearing.

 

Anyhow, let’s get down to it. To see these utes in action, and to see what we think about them, check out the video at the end!

 

2018 Nissan Navara N-Sport
What we like:
  • Most efficient and powerful driveline is also very smooth
  • Well put-together interior
What we don’t like:
  • Poor visibility off-road
  • Coil-sprung rear end doesn’t have enough benefits

 

The Unsealed 4X4 Review

Driveline: 7.5

On-road performance: 8

Off-road performance: 7

Family practicality: 8

Interior and technology: 8

Fuel economy: 8.5

Aftermarket support: 8

Verdict: 7.8/10

 

2018 Toyota HiLux SR5+
What we like:
  • Segment-leading off-road traction control
  • Good on-road driving with composed driveline and improved suspension
What we don’t like:
  • Infotainment system isn’t the best around
  • Most expensive option out of the three

 

The Unsealed 4X4 Review

Driveline: 8

On-road performance: 8

Off-road performance: 9

Family practicality: 8

Interior and technology: 7

Fuel economy: 8

Aftermarket support: 9

Verdict: 8.1/10

 

2018 Isuzu D-Max LS-U
What we like:
  • No-nonsense nature
  • Gruff, torquey 3.0-litre motor
What we don’t like:
  • Underperforming off-road traction control
  • Infotainment unit feels dated

 

The Unsealed 4X4 Review

Driveline: 7

On-road performance: 7

Off-road performance: 6

Family practicality: 8

Interior and technology: 7

Fuel economy: 8

Aftermarket support: 8

Verdict: 7.2/10

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