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After two weeks and 8000km through the harsh deserts of Peru, Argentina and Chile, the Toyota Hilux, crewed by Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz has claimed second place in the world's toughest off-road motorsport event.
You’ll find the Toyota Hilux relied upon in life-or-death situations everywhere from the deserts of Africa to the jungles of Latin America. It was even the first road-going vehicle to reach the magnetic North Pole, taking the Top Gear team through hundreds of miles of arctic terrain, with temperatures as low as -35°C.
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The Toyota Hilux reviews are pretty good. It's a pick-up that can be a worker during the week and a family car at the weekend.
The Toyota Hilux is a classic piece of industrial engineering – and a bit of an icon too. The reality is that whilst it is a very good commercial vehicle it might just be a bit too crude for anyone wanting to use one everyday in lieu of a car, although we acknowledge that it can make financial sense for some.
Value for money
Well, there are other similar vehicles for sale, with the closest contenders being the Mitsubishi L200 and Nissan Navaro. None of them has the reputation for indestructibility that the Toyota has though, and that image is priceless!
The Hilux can be a great buy for those who can claim the VAT back on its purchase price. Some owners will also be able to take advantage of lower Benefit in Kind tax liabilities too.
The Hilux is a great pickup – but it’s still just a pickup and that means that it’s a useful thing to have about the place, but it’s no substitute for a car.
Stronger than a New Zealand Kauri tree and, as we found out, virtually indestructible, the Hilux is an unapologetically manly car.
The Hilux's rear suspension setup gets leaf springs and those, don't forget, date back to medieval times. Used to keep things rough n' ready, it allows for incredible feats of strength over unforgiving terrain.
A 2.5-litre four-pot diesel produces 142bhp and 252lb ft of torque, equating to a 0-62mph time of 12.5 seconds. The 3.0-litre diesel shaves 0.6 tenths off this time, but in truth, despite the slow 62mph dash, the 2.5 is the one to have. Be warned however, that the engine noise gets quite intrusive when you wind it up.
In South American jungles, Icelandic mountains with a propensity to explode or inner city Birmingham, very cool. In Chelsea, Cheshire or anywhere remotely civilised, you'll look like a tool. A tool with a very good tool, mind.
We took it to the North Pole, avoided some fiery volcanoes in Iceland and put an earlier version through every conceivable form of automotive torture; we drowned it, torched it, crashed it, pummelled it, dropped it and still it refused to die. Will last longer than the human race. Aliens will use its technology to construct their walled fortresses.
Drivers of the Hilux shouldn’t expect road manners comparable with a regular SUV. The more utilitarian underpinnings are designed, above all, to be tough, durable and unbreakable. Standard four-wheel-drive means it's accomplished off-road, too. However, take all this into account and you may be surprised by the latest model’s on-road abilities – it’s much more composed and agile than previous versions, while the ride quality is more settled, too. Light controls and good forward visibility help in town – though it’s tricky to reverse without parking sensors, as the rear deck is both very long and impossible to see from the driver’s seat! The 2.5-litre engine is durable, but we prefer the beefier 3.0-litre from the Land Cruiser. Acceleration is impressive for such a large machine, and it’s more refined at a cruise. An optional automatic gearbox is available, too.
The first Hilux pickup appeared back in 1968. Today, the model is renowned for its dependability – with the current sixth-generation model, Toyota was sure not to change the formula too much. In Double Cab guise, it has four doors and seats for five, plus a huge rear deck. Many owners fit a rear load cover, for added security; Toyota dealers offer a huge array of options. There are two diesel engines, the 120bhp 2.5-litre D-4D and a punchier 171bhp 3.0-litre D-4D. Three trim lines include HL2, HL3 and the lavish Invincible. The latter comes with distinctive exterior styling, privacy glass, even full-colour sat nav! Rivals include the Nissan Navara, Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi L200.
30th March 2012
“Only a Toyota Hilux could survive intact from being dropped off the side of a building,” says Ken Gibson in reference to the famous Top Gear stunt which secured its reputation as the “world’s toughest pick-up”. Gibson says he was “a bit shocked” to see the new model painted in “gleaming metallic white”, but soon realised it “highlighted the all-new big chrome grille and headlights, making it look almost meaner.“Put it this way,” he says, “ most drivers pulled into the inside lane when they saw the Hilux behind them. “At the end of the week of taking loads of rubbish to the tip, a very dirty Hilux had proved it remains one of motoring’s great workhorses, whatever colour it is.
“It can pull 2.5 tons and, as Top Gear proved, it can be badly abused – on or off road – so it will take whatever the average pick-up driver throws at it.” The pick-up now comes with added “gadgets” and is “surprisingly comfortable on a long motorway run due to the refined 2.5-litre turbo diesel and dramatically improved noise reduction.