Here is the newest version of the most popular pick-up in Europe, and one of the most iconic pick-ups across the globe.
The Hilux’s reputation is one of bombproof durability, but this latest model is tasked with appealing to a broader audience, in a segment that is already congested and set to only get worse.
The pick-up segment is gaining popularity, with plenty of rivals old and new vying for sales. Seasoned workhorses such as the Nissan Navara, Ford Ranger, Volkswagen Amarok and Mitsubishi L200 have had recent refreshes to increase their appeal, while the newcomers such as the Fiat Fullback mudding the waters, while the Renault Alaskan and the Mercedes-Benz X-Class will only complicate matters further.
To try and keep the stiff competition at bay, we are trying the new Hilux with a six-speed automatic transmission, which is expected to account for the majority of sales in the UK, rather than the six-speed manual alternative.
The Hilux is as tough as ever. Despite the changes to appeal to some SUV-minded buyers as well as the usual commercial market, the Hilux has lost none of its go-anywhere, over-anything, ability.
The automatic gearbox is much better than the transmission it replaces. It does a respectable job of shifting smoothly through the gears, especially at low speeds, and isn't too jerky. However, plant your foot and the downshift often leaves the engine holding on to gears uncomfortably high up the rev range as it works through them, but progress is swift enough.
A 2.4-litre diesel engine is what you’ll find in all new Hiluxes, although the 2.8-litre unit that's available abroad could be offered at a later date. The 2.4 is more efficient than the 3.0-litre unit it replaces, and the 295lb ft of torque available in the new engine is more than the old one, too, but it doesn’t match that of the Navara and L200. Even so, the Hilux out-tows an L200 with its 3500kg limit.
Paired with the automatic gearbox, it has a combined fuel economy figure of 36.2mpg, with CO2 emissions of 204g/km. The manual transmission betters those figures, at 40.4mpg and 185g/km respectively, and it’s cheaper by £1250.
Aside from a harsh diesel groan at its top end, refinement from the 2.4 is generally good, but it's no match for that of SUV alternatives. Engine clatter is loud when accelerating, but it settles down at a cruise, and it’s more refined than before.