At the beginning of 2021, the choice of pick-ups on offer to potential UK customers had shrunk, with the demise of the VW Amarok & Mercedes-Benz X-Class. And, in the not too distant future, the Mitsubishi L200. The good news for pick-up’s though, is that the daddy of them all, the Toyota Hilux, has just been improved & we got to try one out recently.
In essence, the new Hilux is now offered with a new 2.8-litre powertrain, offering improved performance both on & off-road. Whilst inside, the range features improved instrumentation & multimedia technology, with Toyota plainly aiming to cash in on the lifestyle sector, with it’s new top-of-the-range Hilux Invincible X, which gains bespoke styling & premium equipment features.
Hilux’s frontal design has a completely new look, with a more powerful, three-dimensional treatment of the grille & bumper. According to model grade, new front & rear LED light clusters are available, plus 18″ alloy wheels with a contrast machined/ black finish. There is also a striking new colour option – Titan Bronze metallic.
The upgraded cabin features a new-design instrumentation with an 8″ multimedia screen mounted on the centre console. The multimedia system has faster software & screen response & also enables easy smartphone integration using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Other features include smart entry & push-button start, SatNav, automatic air-con, front & rear parking sensors & a nine-speaker JBL premium sound system with an 800W eight-channel amplifier & CLARI-Fi technology for improving the reproduction quality of digital music files.
Where practicality is concerned, Hilux’s one-tonne payload & 3.5-tonne towing capacity are delivered across all three body types: Single Cab, Extra Cab & Double Cab.
Customers can also choose from a wide range of accessories to personalise their Hilux & equip it to suit their specific work or leisure requirements. Items include a range of hard tops & roll covers, a locking tailgate & a 12V power supply mounted on the deck.
Hilux’s powertrain range has been bolstered by the addition of a more powerful, 201bhp 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine, that generates 500Nm of torque & can accelerate Hilux from 0-62mph in 10 seconds – up to 3.2 seconds faster than the current 2.4-litre unit.
The new powertrain is available with six-speed manual or automatic transmission & all UK versions have all-wheel drive, with off-road performance enhanced with the lowering of engine speed at idle from 850 to 680rpm. The vehicle stability control has also been updated & a new tyre angle monitor has been adopted.
In order to capitalise on the lifestyle pick-up sector, Toyota’s engineers focused on improving Hilux’s on-road comfort, while preserving its legendary off-road capabilities. Hilux remains one of the few vehicles to still use a body-on- frame construction, a design that is hard- wearing and better able to withstand the twisting forces encountered in extreme off-road driving conditions.
Comfort and drive-ability have been enhanced through improvements to the suspension & power steering. The front & rear shock absorbers have been retuned, there is an improved leaf spring design & new bushing is used.
We were testing the range topping Invincible X, 6-speed manual, finished in Titan Bronze. Invincible X comes with Toyota Safety Sense, which is a Pre-Collision System with pedestrian & cyclist detection, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Road Sign Assist & Automatic limited-slip differential.
Standard pick-up fixtures, also include Emergency Brakeforce Distribution, Vehicle Stability Control, Trailer Sway Control, Downhill Assist Control, Active Traction Control & Hill-start Assist Control.
To widen it’s appeal & in common with both the Toyota car & Lexus model ranges, there’s a new infotainment system, Toyota Touch 2 with Go, which offer SatNav, an 8″ touchscreen, DAB, Bluetooth, a rear-view camera, smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay & Android Auto & a 4.2″ multi-information display.
Invincible X also offers, smart entry & start, a 220V plug socket & two 12V accessory sockets, a USB port with front & rear parking sensors. There’s also anew front bumper, body mouldings & tailgate handle. It also comes with scuff plates, LED headlights, rear lights, daytime running lights & front fog lamps, rear privacy glass, 18″ alloys, interior deck lashing hooks & side steps.
Whilst the improvements to the Hilux are aimed at making it more on-road friendly, there’s no doubting it’s ‘hard as nails’ off-road capabilities. Our NGMW colleague, http://themudlife.co.uk who knows the North West’s green lanes better than most, proved this with some proper workouts, whilst http://companycarandvan.co.uk took a longer look at it’s improved on-road credentials.
A good place to begin, is with the motorway. The Invincible X we were driving, featured a six-speed manual gear box & to be fair, it’s pretty good. The gear change gates are short making the shift into sixth-gear easy & once up to motorway speed, adaptive cruise control which comes with the X, makes short work of the motorway miles. And, unlike many similar systems it’s really simple to engage. The 2.8 engine is quieter than the 2.4 version as well.
What impressed us most was the Invincible X’s road holding, which even on tight motorway bends, was exemplary. The improvements to the suspension & power steering also shine through, making the latest Hilux far more driver friendly.
In town, or driving along more local roads, Invincible X shows improved road manners with little or no body roll nor bouncing, things that the previous version could sometimes be guilty of. Of course, any pick-up will always feel more stable as well as more comfortable with a sizeable load in the rear. Thanks to lockdown, we had to make do with just a click & collect from IKEA, transporting 50kg of cabinets to try this out, utilising the lashings in the floor to stop them shifting around.
As far as fuel economy goes, Invincible X has a claimed economy of 31.3 – 32.8 mpg. Driving in sub-zero temperatures in February, we averaged 27.8 mpg, so a little below but not entirely unexpected, as most of our work was motorway miles.
I don’t as a rule, look at any test vehicles price until I’ve driven it for a week & I have to say that I thought the Hilux Invincible X 6-speed manual double-cab, would be more expensive than its OTR price of £32,532.50.
If Toyota were aiming to make the latest Hilux more car-like to drive, then they have succeeded, with the new 2.8 engine, definitely a more refined motorway cruiser, which if you’re in one every day, has to be a good thing. We couldn’t fault the more comfortable ride, better equipped cabin & latest safety & infotainment system.
Reassuringly, the Hilux will still take you places other’s fear to go, which is clearly illustrated by the Hilux wining the Dakar Rally in 2019. Whether off-road or on, Toyota’s Hilux still cut’s the mustard.
A more refined 4.25/5
Hilux Invincible X 2.8 manual £32,532.50
Metallic Paint £ 583.33
Engine type 4-cylinder in-line
Displacement (cc) 2,755
Transmission 6-speed manual
Max power (bhp/kW @ rpm) 201/150 @ 3,000 – 3,400
Max torque (Nm @ rpm) 420 @1,400 – 3,400
Fuel consumption (combined WLTP) 31.3 – 32.8
Top Speed (mph) 109
0-62 mph (seconds) 10.1
CO2 Emissions (combined WLTP) 225 – 236
Overall length (mm) 5,325
Overall width (mm) (without mirrors) 1,900
Overall height (mm)1,815
Payload (kg) 1,015
Kerb weight (kg) 2,120 – 2,335
Towing capacity braked kg 3,500
Fuel tank capacity (litres) 80