Toyota Hilux 2.4 Double Cab Invincible auto23 | 07 | 2016Scotcars rating

    It survived the greatest assault by Top Gear: now Toyota has launched its all-new Hilux

    IT’S THE WORLD’S favourite pick-up, with more than 18 million sold, and rocketed to iconic status when Top Gear — the ‘real’ Top Gear with Clarkson, et al — failed to destroy one: it even survived being blown up on a multi-storey block. And now, almost 50 years after it was first launched, there’s a new version: say hello to the new Toyota Hilux.

    The Japanese pick-up has long boasted a reputation for near bombproof durability. Now, the new model — already an established favourite with those whose working day involves heavy-duty work — is being targeted at a broader audience.

    Across the UK and the rest of Europe, the pick-up segment is gaining an even greater following, and the new Hilux pits itself against established rivals such as the Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi L200, both of which have recently received midlife updates.

    No surprise then that the latest Toyota includes a more premium interior, more efficient diesel powerplant mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and a stiffer chassis. There’s also a six-speed manual, but the majority of UK buyers will go for the auto.

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    Powered by a new, efficient 2.4-litre diesel engine, delivering 295lb/ft of torque and replacing the previous 3.0-litre oilburner, it returns 36.2mpg and emits 204g/km of CO2 in conjunction with the auto ‘box. And with its 3500kg towing limit, it outpulls both the Navara and L200.

    The six-speed manual performs even better delivering 40.4mpg and 185g/km, plus it’s £1250 cheaper.

    Refinement from the 2.4 turbodiesel is generally good, once you get passed the initial diesel clatter on start-up, but it pays not to expect SUV-levels quietness or smoothness.

    Once the Hilux is on the move, it settles into a relaxed environment, and one which is certainly more refined than the previous model.

    Another positive is the new auto ‘box. Far better than the previous model, it shifts smoothly through the gears, especially at low speeds. But it’s worth mentioning a couple of things.

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    If you find yourself stuck behind a vehicle moving at 45mph on an A-road, you’ll need to plan well ahead before starting the manoeuvre; and once you do accelerate hard, the aforementioned diesel clatter resurfaces.

    Toyota has reworked the suspension for the new Hilux. Perfectly at ease on normal surfaces, it really comes into its own when you go off-piste. There’s loads of new off-road tech, including a low-range gearbox and the choice of switching between two and four-wheel drive, plus hill descent control and a rear diff lock.

    Even on standard road tyres, the new Hilux is supremely capable off the beaten track, and managed to wade through the best part of one-metre depth of lake.

    There’s also a couple of different drive modes to choose from. While Eco smooths out the throttle response and puts the air-con in an eco mode that alters the fan speed, the PWR mode sharpens the throttle response. Sat in the middle is a standard drive mode.

    Steering has been improved on the Hilux, being weightier and more accurate than before. Ride? Well that’s better too. Sure, if the load area’s unladen you might experience the mild sensation of bouncing a bit over bumps, but really that’s to be expected. It certainly isn’t a deal breaker.

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    Inside the cabin it’s clear Toyota has brought the new Hilux into the modern era and certainly moves the environment closer to that found in any SUV equivalent.

    In Icon trim — which sits above the entry-level Active — you get a 4.2in touchscreen infotainment system, DAB radio, cruise control and manual air-conditioning all in addition to 17in alloys and side steps, all as standard.

    Step up to the Invincible spec — expected to be the big seller, and the one we drove — you also get 18in alloys and scuff plates, plus a much nicer-looking fascia an automatic air-con.

    In the double-cab format we tested, there’s ample space for three adults in the rear, and the seats fold in a variety of ways to maximise stowage options.

    There’s no getting away from the fact the Hilux is a big piece of kit, measuring just over 5.3m in length. But it’s also big, and wide. Sat in traffic in Thame behind a Range Rover, the Gaydon luxury express looked almost dainty by comparison.

    For anyone who requires a pick-up for their daily heavy-duty work, it’s difficult to see passed the Hilux. Throw in the fact it’s covered by Toyota’s five-year/100,000-mile warranty, and carries a very competitive commercial rice, it really does deliver on so many platforms and offers a compelling reason to get really dirty.

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    Jim McGill

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £31,350/£32,645 (£27,251 excl VAT)
    Engine / Power: 2.2-litre 4-cyl 2393cc, diesel, with 6spd auto gearbox, 4WD/ 148bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 12.8sec; / Max 106mph
    How big/heavy?: L5330mm W1855mm H1815mm / 2095kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: 36.2mpg combined / 204g/km CO2
    InsGP/Road tax: TBC / Band K
    Alternatives: Mitsubishi L200, VW Amarok, Nissan Navara

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