Review: Toyota Hilux - The Go Anywhere, Do Anything Vehicle
- India gets the 8th generation Toyota Hilux, which was launched last year.
- The Hilux is a very capable off-roader and gets a decent list of features.
- Toyota offers 3 variants of the Hilux priced at Rs. 30.40 lakh to Rs. 37.90 lakh.
Tough! Massive! And Virtually Indestructible! These are a few words that are usually used to describe the mighty Toyota Hilux. Originally introduced to be a workhorse pick-up truck, over the years the Hilux has transformed into a Lifestyle Utility Vehicle. In fact, for the last five decades, it has been one of the most popular models from the Japanese carmaker, with the company selling over 20 million units worldwide. And last year, Toyota Kirloskar Motor launched the Hilux in India, in its 8th generation avatar.
Also Read: Toyota Hilux Launched In India
Now, almost a year later, the company has finally invited us to experience the new Toyota Hilux’s capabilities, in the hilly terrains of Rishikesh, in Uttarakhand.
Design and Dimensions
Built on the same IMV platform as the Toyota Fortuner, the current-gen Hilux too has that massive road presence that its SUV counterpart enjoys. In fact, compared to the Fortuner, it is a good 530 mm longer at 5325 mm, while the wheelbase too has been increased by 340 mm to 3085 mm. However, on the flip side, it has a much wider turning radius of 6400 mm, which is about 600 mm more than that of the Fortuner. This means making those tight U-turns will be that much more challenging.
In terms of design and styling, the Hilux comes with a large trapezoidal grille with a chrome surround and piano black finishes. The grille is flanked by a pair of large LED headlights that are equipped with LED daytime running lamps and you also get LED foglamps below. It also gets a massive front skid plate along with side and underbody claddings that accentuate its tough off-roader look, at the same time, the abundance of chrome bit on the bumper, door handles, and rear panels add to the premiumness of the Hilux. Also, while the entry-level Standard trim gets 17-inch wheels, the higher-spec variants come with large 18-inch alloy wheels, which add to its massive stance.
Interior and Features
Step inside the Hilux and you will be welcomed by an expansive cabin, treated in an all-black interior. Now, India gets the double cab version which means you will get two rows of seating, and despite the limited under-thigh support, the rear seat feels quite comfortable even for long drives. However, seating three people abreast might be a tight squeeze.
However, the seats up front offer great comfort and lumbar support. In fact, the higher variants also get a power-adjustable driver’s seat along with dual-zone automatic climate control.
Now, the cabin of the Hilux is designed keeping utility in mind and that’s why you will see a tonne of storage places. Right from larger door pockets, storage space under the front armrest, cup holders and two large glove compartments, and one of them also gets a cooling function and a power steering that’s adjustable for both reach and height. In fact, even the deck area is big enough to haul around heavy things up to 470 kilograms.
However, what you will not find inside the Hilux is the luxury a refinement you would expect from a vehicle that cost over Rs. 40 lakh, on road. The faux leather seats are fine, but the quality of the plastic parts is a bit sub-par. Furthermore, while you do get a touchscreen infotainment system, the instrument cluster is still part analogue with just a small multi-information display (MID) unit. In fact, even things like a wireless charger or tyre pressure monitoring system are part of the accessories package, and not as standard fitment.
Infotainment and Tech
While the Hilux’s features list is limited, you do get all the important bits like - an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, however, they are not wireless. The Hilux also get more than 20 connected car features like vehicle location, emergency call geo-fence alerts and smartwatch compatibility. Among other features, the Hilux also gets cruise control, Bluetooth & USB connectivity, along with a multi-functional steering wheel featuring telephony, and voice command functions.
As with most Toyota vehicles, safety has been given increasing priority here as well. So, in addition to 7 airbags, you also get anti-lock brakes, brake assist and vehicle stability control as standard. What’s also standard are 3-point seatbelts and adjustable headrests for all passengers, ISOFIX child seat mounts, emergency braking signal, and whiplash injury lessening (WIL) compact seats for the driver and front passenger. Additionally, you also get the convenience of reverse parking camera, parking and hill assist control (HAC).
All that said, the Hilux is known for its off-road capabilities rather than its creature comforts, and to test its ‘Go anywhere and Do anything’ claim, Toyota took us through some treacherous forest routes and riverbeds. Additionally, we also got a chance to test our off-road skills on a bunch of obstacle courses, which included - negative & positive inclines, articulation challenge, water wading, hill climb and more.
To handle all that, the Hilux’s frame is built for exceptional torsional and bending rigidity. Plus, you also get a capable four-wheel drive system with a High (H4) and Low (L4) range. However, for all these courses, the ideal setting was the keep the car in four-low. The Hilux also comes with Electronic Differential Lock, which came in handy while performing the articulation challenges.
Also, tackling deeper water depths is not a major issue because the Hilux comes with a water wading capacity of 700 mm, along with approach and departure angles of 29° and 26° respectively. Next, it was time to go up and come down a highly steep incline, where the car’s Active Traction Control and Downhill Assist Control came in handy.
From off-road to on-road, the change in the setting of the terrain also changed the behaviour of this vehicle. On bad roads, the Hilux feels at home, but on the tarmac, it does take some time to adjust. Now don’t get me wrong. There is no dearth of power.
The Hilux is powered by the same 2.8-litre diesel engine that is offered with the Fortuner, which churns out 201 bhp between 3000-3400 rpm. And the automatic version we drove, which gets a 6-speed automatic torque converter unit, develops 500 Nm of peak torque, at 1600 - 2800 rpm. Toyota also offers a manual version with a 6-speed intelligent manual transmission that develops 420 Nm of peak torque at 1400 - 3400 rpm.
So, it is a powerful vehicle, however, on the tarmac, the ride is too bouncy and there is also a good amount of body roll, especially around corners. That’s because the Hilux is essentially a pickup vehicle and is meant to haul heavy things, and if we had some weight at the rear, the car would feel a lot more planted. Also, it doesn’t like quick directional changes, and while the heavy steering does come in handy in an off-road setting, on nicer roads it does feel a bit cumbersome at times.
Price and Verdict
Toyota offers the Hilux in three variants – Standard iMT, High iMT and High Automatic, and the three trims are priced at Rs. 30.40 lakh, Rs. 37.15 lakh and Rs. 37.90 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) respectively. Currently, its only rival in the market is the Isuzu D-Max V-Cross, which is almost Rs. 10 lakh cheaper. Having said that, it gets a much smaller engine, is not remotely as feature-rich as the Hilux, and India still gets the older-gen model, which is quite dated.
Now despite being the more expensive option, the Hilux certainly offers better value. Yes, the limited number of features might prompt you to question the premium price tag, however, the Hilux is not for everyone. It’s a purpose-built vehicle for those select few enthusiasts who not only want to take the car off the beaten path, but go beyond that, and experience the different terrains India has to offer. And in those regards, the Hilux checks all the right boxes.