The Toyota Hilux is hugely popular, not just in the UK but across the world. Synonymous with the word ‘pickup’ it’s recently been given a bit of a makeover. Vanarama’s Van Expert Tim Cattlin takes a look at what’s new...
It’s probably been around a lot longer than you think. Believe it or not the Toyota Hilux started life back in 1968 and the name is derived from the words ‘high’ and ‘luxury’. The latest version from the Japanese manufacturer bears little, if any resemblance to the truck that appeared over 50 years ago and it continues to offer a tough, rugged but comfortable and well equipped solution to those who need a truck for work, pleasure or both.
We’re not looking at an all-new truck here, more of a light refresh but with 1 major change under the bonnet. Due to the double cab pickups popularity with the dual purpose or leisure user (and, being a bit more car like than your conventional commercial vehicle) manufacturers tend to update them more regularly than vans, all intended to keep up with the competition and for them to remain appealing to those looking to buy or lease a new pickup truck.
What’s New On The Outside?
Designers are perhaps a bit limited on what exterior changes they can make on a ‘mid-cycle’ refresh, so, unsurprisingly the most noticeable change is to the front end. The latest Hilux has a 3 dimensional grille and bumper which the manufacturer claims ‘increases its road presence and strong stature’. They’ve also added some LED lights to both the front and rear on the higher trim models and there are some new, black 18” alloy wheels on offer.
And There’s A New Engine?
If there has ever been 1, perhaps justifiable criticism of the Hilux, it’s probably around the lack of engine choice. Previously, you only had 1 option, a 2.4 litre diesel unit with an output of 150hp. Compare this to all the other pickups on the market and it’s clear that Toyota needed to up their game to be competitive. Enter stage left, the 2021 Hilux. Whilst the original power unit remains available, you can now specify a 2.8 litre unit which produces a very healthy 204hp. It also offers a whopping 500nm of torque, really useful when operating in tough, off-road conditions or when towing.
A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard, and the automatic transmission with the same number of ratios has been upgraded with ‘an expanded lock-up range’ (whatever that is).
What’s Fuel Economy And Co2 Like?
It might come as a surprise, but the new 2.8 litre engine with a manual gearbox is the most economical Hilux of them all, with official WLTP figures of 31.3 to 33.2mpg. It’s also got the lowest Co2 emissions at 224-236 g/km.
How Does The Range Stack Up Now?
It’s basically unchanged. You can still get single, extra (a halfway house with half width rear doors and rear seats, which might not be great for adults on a long journey) and double cab versions. Trim levels are Active, Icon, Invincible and Invincible X. There’s also the AT35 version, the ultimate Hilux designed by Icelandic off road specialists Arctic Trucks. Based on Invincible X trim it’s really quite something...
What’s New In The Cab?
The main difference is the addition of a new, 8.0” multimedia screen using the Toyota Touch 2 system. It now includes the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, which is fast becoming standard equipment across most car and commercial vehicle ranges.
Interestingly, and in perhaps a genius move, Toyota have opted to increase the number of manual switches in the cab, rather than to integrate them onto the touchscreen. Why? Well, if you’ve ever been offroading and tried to adjust a setting on any media screen, you’ll know that it’s often almost impossible due to your finger being thrown around as the truck clambers over rock, ruts and other obstacles.
What’s The Difference Between Those Trim Levels?
For an entry trim level Hilux Active is pretty well kitted out. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, electric front windows, adaptive cruise control, automatic headlights and heated door mirrors. Toyota doesn’t skimp on safety tech either, with lane departure alert, road sign assist and a pre collision system with cyclist and pedestrian detection all included. Entry level Active is the only Hilux that doesn’t have the new touchscreen but you’ll still get a 4.2” display which offers the driver various snippets of information, and the truck also gets Bluetooth connectivity.
Next up, the Icon. This adds in some 17” alloy wheels, privacy glass, side steps and LED front fog lights to make it stand out from the crowd. Apart from the addition of the 8” touchscreen you’ll get a DAB radio, reverse camera, power retractable door mirrors and a 4-spoke leather steering wheel. What you won’t see is the automatic limited slip differential which can prove vital in some of the more challenging off-road conditions.
Things start to get serious in the specification stakes with Hilux Invincible. On the outside, LED lights all round and 18” 6 spoke alloy wheels give the truck some serious presence. In the cab heated seats and dual zone climate control make the environment even more comfortable, and the front and rear parking sensors will be appreciated by drivers who really want to avoid those little bumps and scrapes. If you want to make your new Hilux even more luxurious, take a look at Toyota’s tempting option list...
Finally, Invincible X. You’ll notice some enhancements outside, but step into the cab and you’ll find black leather seats and the touchscreen has satellite navigation added to it (although, smartphone integration is starting to make integrated nav less of a priority for some). Blue ambient lighting, a power height adjustable driver’s seats and panoramic view monitor complete the Hilux’s range topper.
Is It Still As Capable As The Old Model When It Comes To Loads?
There’s little, if any change there. Most models have a payload over the all important 1000kg threshold, and you’ll benefit from a towing capacity of 3500kg on every truck.
What About Warranty And Servicing?
The standard warranty is 3 years or 60,000 miles, whichever comes first. However, with the new ‘Toyota Relax’ programme, you’ll receive a 12 month warranty extension with every service carried out by a main dealer, right up to the truck's 10th birthday, providing it hasn’t exceeded 100,000 miles. There are a few t&cs to take a look at, but, it’s certainly something for those thinking about a new pickup to consider.
Service intervals are 12 months or 10,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Tempted? Then take a look at the latest Toyota Hilux lease deals available from Vanarama.