The Hilux is the grandaddy of 4x4 trucks, having been launched in the UK in 1972. To-date, some 18 million Hiluxes have been sold worldwide and last year it was Europe’s bestseller in the sector.
The new model is available in Active, Icon, Invincible and Invincible X equipment levels and prices go from £19,177 to £29,435 ex-VAT.
One point to note for fleet buyers is that, unlike rivals the Nissan Navara and Volkswagen Amarok, the new Hilux will be available as a single-cab. In fact, 20% of sales at present are for the 'cooking' version. There will also be extended cab versions with occasional seats along with the double-cab versions, which were the only models available for driving at the launch event.
The new truck has more interior space, more comfortable seats and a wealth of practical storage spaces.
The driver’s seat has been raised by 10mm and 15mm has been added to the seat’s height-adjustment range. The steering wheel is now adjustable for reach as well as rake and the front seats provide 8mm more headroom and 19mm more shoulder space. The intrusion of engine, wind and road noise into the cabin has been reduced and is now at class-leading levels.
The cargo deck, meanwhile, has been made larger and stronger, with maximum deck width increased from 1,544mm to a class-leading 1,645mm. The tailgate is fitted with stronger, link-type hinges, with support from heavy-duty steel plate brackets when in the open position. Towing weight is 3.2 tonnes (being upgraded to 3.5 tonnes from the end of the year) while payloads go from 1,025kg to 1,055kg.
The truck is slated to return up to 41.5mpg on the combined cycle, with CO2 emissions from 178g/km.
On the safety front, the Hilux gets the usual ABS and electronic stablility control systems plus a plethora of airbags, together with vehicle stability control, crosswind assist, trailer sway control, active traction control, downhill assist and hill-start assist. There’s also a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection function, lane departure alert and road sign assist. Whether or not these items are included depends on the spec level chosen.
We tested the new Hilux both on and off-road in Invincible guise mated to a six-speed auto box.
Climbing aboard revealed a stylish cab with plenty of black and silver flashings everywhere, while the driver’s seat is big and firm yet superbly supportive at the sides and in the lumbar area. We particularly liked the large screen infotainment and sat-nav system which turned out to be a £750 option, so many fleets won't invest in it.
Quite how the designers have managed to engineer such versatility into this truck we are not sure, but hats off to them anyway – the Hilux simply knocks all the other contenders into a cocked hat when it comes to on-road manners.