If you were planning to drive from the top of Africa to the bottom or just needing to give a lift to your friendly farmer or builder across a muddy field, there is only one vehicle to consider. That would be the Toyota Hilux, probably the best vehicle with an excellent reputation for dependability
The Hilux has built this reputation for over the last 50 years for its solid dependability. Almost 20 million have been built during that time with the model being improved every time there’s an upgrade, the last being the beginning of the year.
The Hilux is for sale in a range of Double Cab trim levels, from entry-level Hilux Active – with air conditioning and Bluetooth – to the top of the range Invincible X with sat-nav, heated seats and a suite of luxury and safety features, such as lane departure warning and pedestrian detection thrown in. As for the seats, the Hilux is more than comfortable than a RangeRover.
The two-door Single Cab and Extra Cab versions are the workhorses which don’t attract the lifestylers so they are offered only in the basic Active trim.
Prices start from £31,000 through to £33,500, £36,300 and finally £41,000 and last year Toyota brought in two engine options to the Hilux range. There is the existing 148bhp 2.4-litre four-cylinder diesel but there is now a larger 2.8-litre four-cylinder with 201bhp, which is available in Invincible or Invincible X trims. Both engines come with either a six-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic gearbox Icon, Invincible and Invincible X trims. Needless to say all models have selectable four-wheel drive, with 2WD, 4WD and low-range settings, plus a locking rear diff.
There is an electronic hill descent control to stop you from sliding down a steep hill should that be a problem.
There is 60mm more ground clearance and all models include a height-adjustable driver’s seat, with full electric adjustment in the Invincible X trim. The steering wheel on all models moves in and out as well as up and down.
While the latest model isn’t a complete redesign it is a mere evolution of the previous one. The updates have been extremely successful and there is a touch of Toyota cars with rather than a commercial and there is bags of space for four people and all the top top end specs are just excellent.
Fuel economy across the range is around the 30mpg mark and even the 2.8 engine can give you more than 33 miles per gallon and the Double Cab version is the most popular.
The Invincible X has the built-in sat-nav and all but the Active models have the Apple CarPlay and Android auto. Active has the basic radio with CD player, USB connectivity and Bluetooth. Then there is auto headlights, adaptive cruise control, heated electric mirrors, air con plus a front cool box.
The door bins are pretty big with a large cubbyhole under the centre armrest plus two glove boxes. There is a tray for your phone with a USB port, a pair of cupholders plus another pair of pop-out cupholders at the corner of the dashboard.
All models can take on board 1000kg and tow 3500kg for caravans and trailers.
The Icon has alloy wheels, a chrome grille, front fog lights, side steps and a leather steering wheel. The infotainment system is added, plus cruise control and fabric rather than wipe-down PVC seats.
Invincible models get the bigger wheels, a wiper de-icer, keyless entry and climate control. The top trim Invincible X has additional plastic cladding, blue ambient lighting, heated leather seats up front and sat-nav.
I’m little sorry that I’m not off to Africa, not for the spectacular views – just the ride.