will-the-hilux-legacy-continue New Toyota Hilux on- and off-road test

Will the Toyota Hilux legacy continue

Let’s make this clear, the Hilux has a long history. It’s been where no trucks have been before such as war zones in the African deserts, polar ice caps, in the midst of a rain forest and other far offs and exotic places. Fantastic, lets all go and get a Hilux then, but wait a minute, this might be true in the past but we don’t live in the past do we. We want to know if we are getting the best bang for the buck. Is the Hilux still one of the best in the pick up segment or is it possible that it’s nearing the end of its product life cycle? Will the Hilux Legacy continue….

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The normal city roads and jungle treks were picked for our test of the 2,5G Variable Nozzle Turbo Hilux, courtesy of UMW Toyota Motor. How was it? To put it simply, it’s what a pick up is supposed to be.

The cabin is a standard dual cab. It feels spacious and is actually relative comfortable, however the plastics used on the interior is a tad bit flimsy. Again like most quality trucks these days, engine noise is minimal, except when you first start the truck up. The engine noise, even in the cabin, became more audible during acceleration due to our incessant need to floor the accelerator everytime for a bit more power. Vibration, however, was very light, and we think the standard fabric seats did their part on the NVH factor.

The rear cabin is also decent with sufficient, head and leg room. The truck came with the optional 2 din 6.1” display DVD, navigation system, reverse camera, USB/IPOD, and Bluetooth set. It has dials on the sides that are meant for little soft pawed Smurf fingers to adjust the volume or change channels. In other words, the big stubby truck driver won’t like it that much, which would mean a problem to switch radio channels or adjust the volume while driving. For cost effective measures, UMW Toyota Motor has decided to ignore the dials or buttons on the steering for the 2.5G Hilux and lower specs, but included it for the highest spec Hiux, the 3.0. There’s no cruise control on this spec either, But, one feature that the Hilux 2.5G has and conveniently so is the reverse camera; we believe all pick ups should include such an important feature in their spec sheets.

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Putting the Toyota Hilux to the test

The driving experience as mentioned was moderate. We had expected more from the Hilux, since it’s got an Intercooler Variable Nozzle Turbo (VNT) and all. Cornering was less than smooth as there were tyre squeals that were very audible, either telling us that the truck was slipping, or just on unadequate tyres. And this was not a high speed turn, but not necessarily a low speed turn, but more of an enthusiast cornering. It squeals almost at every cornering we took, from the day we got the truck to the day we sent it back. This might be due to the 265/70 R15 set of wheels, which we think is a bit too thick on the broad side but not wide enough. But not to worry, it would be hard to under or over steer the truck as the engine was just unwilling to do so. Acceleration hit a concrete wall as soon as the truck reached 110km/h. After that, it’s something like a diabetic osteoporosis elderly patient doing a mile hike up Genting Highlands. The auto box frequently shifted lower to give us the acceleration we wanted. So we waited and waited and well, still waiting. It did take road potholes and unevenness nicely, yes it did, but any previous Hilux owners would know that already. There was a nice feedback to the steering. Yes, it does have a Variable Nozzle Turbo and it makes a nice noise, so? Where is the power? Where is the handling? Where is the fun? It was not nearly as powerful as the some of its competitors. While most manufacturers are moving to a six speed auto box Toyota has stuck to its four speed auto box. Fuel consumption-wise, we estimated about 800 kilometers in the previous truck, however in the Hilux, we would probably get 600 kms. To be fair off course the previous truck that we drove was a six speed manual while our tested unit was a four speed auto. On top of this, the Hilux holds 76 litres and the previous truck holds an even 80 litres. But a 20% to 25% improvement in fuel efficiency is a massive saving, and the Hilux does not deliver the performance to commensurate the higher consumption. Also we did floor the Hilux more frequently. Why, simply because we needed to as the Hilux just needed more encouragement to move.

Subsequent inconvenience of the Hilux was when we needed to bring it almost to a complete stop to engage the 4WD system. To engage between the 2H, 4H and 4L drive modes, the Hilux was required to be on ‘N’ and idle. Yea we know, it’s a bit lazy of us not to do something as simple as stop, engage and go, but why should we? Don’t blame us for being lazy, blame the competitors for giving us this option. Is this because of safety, reliability or a cost effective measure?

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Off-road with the Toyota Hilux

Well we did take the truck for so me off road, and it did perform reasonably well. We did not manage to get it past the river (as seen in the photo), simply because, firstly, the truck did get stuck and secondly, we did not know who was going to help us in the middle of nowhere. We hit a snag and decided to retreat. We are pretty sure that the truck was unable to lock the differential after engaging the 4 Low, which was a bit disappointing. If it did we might have gone in deeper. Up the slops on our journey the Hilux performed moderately. Braking was a touch weak on the descend at higher speed. The pick up’s standard front disc and rear drums didn’t like high speed downhill that much, so we backed off a bit more.

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After a hard day’s drive we decided to take it easy. Everyone on the road knew it was a Hilux and it was nice knowing that everyone knows that you are in a Hilux. This is where the Hilux surpasses all the other trucks, it’s in the pedigree. It’s a Toyota, and Malaysians get kind of passionate when you mention Toyota. Some have claimed that with clockwork service, the Hilux could possible surpass 500,000km on the odometer.

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With the existing updates, the latest Hilux makes good on the reliability factor. We know it won’t let us down and we know we look good in a Hilux. But gentlemen and ladies (if any), is that enough? We will let you answer that question. As for us, anything that is well design, economical, fast, spacious, high tech, safe, handles well are virtues we want in any vehicle. We are practical people looking to save every dime and pick up any on the streets. But we also want to have fun. What do you want?

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So what else do you get in your newly purchased Hilux, well it comes with its ABC’s that is Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS), Load Sensing Proportioning (LSP) with Bypass Valve, Airbags, side impact door beams, alarm system with immobilizer. The truck also comes standard with fog lamps, side steps, collapsible steering and collapsible brake pedal. The optional extra that can be fitted are the 2-din head unit with 6.1” color touch screen mentioned above and sports bar. There are ample bottle and cup holders which would be perfect for bootlegging. The tub size is 1,520mm by 1,515mm with a depth of 450mm, though not the biggest in its class.

Prices start from RM 76,288 for the 2.5 litre single cab manual, RM 94,988 for the 2.5 litre manual double cab (G version), RM 99,988 for the 2.5 litre Auto (G version) and finally RM 107,267 for the 3.0 litre version.

By Motorsportchannel.com & Associate Writer Avinash