We recently tested the new and more powerful Toyota HiLux SR5 Double Cab Cab Chassis variant, and now we’ve had a decent on-road and off-road drive of the HiLux SR5+ Double Cab Pick Up. Here’s what we think of it…
Until the launch of the revised HiLux Rogue and Rugged X models later this year, the SR5+ Double Cab Pick Up auto is the top-spec HiLux on the market and it lists at $62,420 plus on-road costs. Our test vehicle was also equipped with premium ‘Nebula Blue’ paint which adds $600, so price-as-tested is $65,520 +ORC.
So what do you get for your hard-earned?
Well, the obvious upgrade is the engine’s higher power and torque peaks. The 2.8-litre four-cylinder 1GD engine now makes a claimed 150kW of power at 3600rpm and 500Nm of torque from 1600-2800rpm. Torque output is limited to 420Nm from 1400-3400rpm when the engine is mated to the six-speed manual gearbox. In our test vehicle, this engine was mated to the six-speed auto and the same part-time 4X4 system as used in the previous model, with electronic traction control and a user-selectable locking rear diff.
The Toyota engineers have also revised the suspension to improve unladen ride and handling. See here for full details.
The first thing you notice about the revised HiLux is the new styling package with new bolder grille, sleeker headlights and rear-end styling updates. The HiLux also gets a refreshed interior with an upgraded multimedia system with a new 8-inch display with tuning and volume knobs, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity. The SR5 grade also gets sat-nav and digital radio.
There’s also a new 4.2-inch multi-information display that now shows steering-wheel angle and DPF status, in addition to the usual trip computer and multimedia information. The speedo and tachometer gauges have also been updated.
The SR5 Double Cab models now have a 60/40 split base for the rear seat, as well as under-seat storage bins and rear-seat armrest with two cupholders. Rear seat comfort is about class average with reasonable legroom, decent seat width and rear air conditioning vents. There are outer ISOFIX points and top-tether child seat anchors, and headrests in all three positions.
As well as leather seat trim, the $2500 SR5+ option adds driver’s seat power adjustment and heated front seats. The quality of the leather trim is impressive and it features subtle contrast stitching, but despite the 8-way power adjustment, the HiLux’s driver’s seat isn’t the most supportive. There is, however, plenty of fore/aft seat adjustment and tilt and telescopic steering wheel adjustment.
On the road
As well as higher power and torque peaks, the revised engine now has a wider and flatter torque curve that’s claimed to provide improved acceleration and better overtaking and towing performance. While we didn’t hitch up a trailer for this test, there’s no doubt performance is an improvement on the previous model. The abundance of low-rpm torque is noticeable as soon as you accelerate from standstill and the strong midrange is also noteworthy.
The engine isn’t the smoothest – or quietest under full throttle – but if you’re just poking around town or cruising on the open road it’s refined enough. And it’s well mated to the six-speed automatic transmission, which offers a good spread of ratios and shifts smoothly and decisively.
The revised suspension certainly provides improved unladen ride quality. The rear-end doesn’t feel as harsh over bumps as it once did and the front feels reasonably well planted, at least when driving on sealed roads. On rough gravel roads, however, the test vehicle was unsettled by a few big bumps, deep potholes and while driving over corrugations but the vehicle stability control (VSC) did a good job of ensuring everything stayed in check.
If you want more on-road driving impressions, or you want to know what the revised HiLux is like with a load on board, see here for full details.
Off the road
With a bit more time up our sleeves with this blue HiLux SR5+ Double Cab than we had with the Cab Chassis variant the previous week, we took it to one of our regular off-road testing grounds to see how it performs in the rough.
On our set-piece hill climb, the HiLux had no problems making the undulating and steep ascent. Low-range gearing is more than adequate for steep climbs and although the HiLux cocked its rear wheels a couple of times on some of the bigger washouts, it didn’t need the rear diff lock to be engaged to make the climb. Front wheel travel is also pretty decent and ground clearance wasn’t an issue. We even managed to avoid damaging the side steps, despite the fact they stick out a fair bit, and had no issues with approach or ramp-over angles. Like all dual-cab pick-ups, the HiLux has a pretty long rear overhang, so care has to be taken when exiting gullies or dropping off rock shelves. The spare tyre is, however, tucked up and out of the way, as are other vital underbody components.
The 265/60R18 Bridgestone Dueler H-T aren’t the best tyres for off-road use, but these days there are plenty of Light Truck construction all-terrain and mud-terrain tyre options in this size that will suit regular off-roaders.
The HiLux’s Hill-start Assist Control proved its worth when stopping and starting to take photos but, like the Cab Chassis model we tested earlier, this example loaded up a fair bit in the steering at low speeds when trying to negotiate off-road obstacles. The HiLux retains hydraulic power assistance, albeit revised, but some class competitors now feature electric power assistance.
Pop the bonnet of the HiLux and you have to fiddle with a stay to hold it open; we reckon it’s about time 4×4 ute manufacturers fitted gas struts to keep bonnets open, at least in high-grade models and, while they’re at it, an under-bonnet light wouldn’t go astray (Wes’ note: under-bonnet lights must be a Land Rover thing, Deano?). What you will find in the HiLux’s engine bay is plenty of room to fit an auxiliary battery, an alternator that’s situated above midpoint and seemingly well-sealed electrics. Toyota claims a maximum wading depth of 700mm.
The tub of our test vehicle was bare, with no tub liner, no 12V power outlet and just four tie-down points (one in each corner and quite high up on the sides of the tray). There’s also a fair bit of weight in the tailgate and no assistance. Of course, Toyota offers a wide range of accessories for HiLux, including a tub-liner and a rear chassis-mounted integrated step, but these are optional extras.
On the inside, there’s a 220V power outlet in the centre console bin, two 12V outlets and a USB port on the dash, plenty of cupholders (including below the air vents on the dash) and loads of storage spaces. Rear-seat occupants get privacy glass and A/C vents, but no power outlets or USB ports.
The revised instrument binnacle with 4.2-inch colour Multi Information Display and new speedo and tachometer gauges looks great, but those gauges now have a metallic finish and are virtually impossible to read with direct sunlight on them.
The HiLux SR5 still comes equipped with Toyota Safety Sense technologies that include a pre-collision system that can detect pedestrians (day and night) and cyclists (daytime); high-speed active cruise control; and lane-departure alert with steering assist (via the brakes). The road-sign assist can now recognise speed advisory signs and the SR5 Pick Up model (unlike the Cab Chassis) is equipped with a reversing camera in addition to front and rear parking sensors.
There’s no doubt the new HiLux is an improvement on the previous model, with better performance and better ride and handling, all while retaining good off-road capability, but there are better-equipped 4×4 utes on the market that offer significantly more in the way of equipment for less money than the revised HiLux SR5+ Double Cab Pick Up tested here.
Of course, four-wheel drivers have always paid a premium for Toyotas, but with more competition in the market than ever before, including from the top-selling Ford Ranger, as well as the all-new Isuzu D-MAX and imminent Mazda BT-50, we reckon it mightn’t be long before Toyota dealers have to sharpen their pencils to attract more sales, at least from private buyers.
Specifications: Toyota HiLux SR5+ Double Cab Pick-Up auto
Engine: 2.8L four-cylinder turbo-diesel
Power: 150kW at 3400rpm
Torque: 500Nm from 1600-2800rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic gearbox, two-speed transfer case, part-time 4X4 with locking rear differential
Ground clearance: 216mm
Wading depth: 700mm
Turning circle: 12.6m
Wheels: 18-inch alloys
Tyres: 265/60R18 Bridgestone Dueler H-T
Max braked towing: 3500kg
Fuel cons (ADR combined): 7.9L/100km
Fuel cons (tested): 9.2L/100km
Warranty: 5 years/unlimited km
Service intervals: 6 months/10,000km
Price: $62,420 +ORC
Price as tested: $65,520 +ORC