Toyota: 2014 Hilux V6 SR5 review

Toyota: 2014 Hilux V6 SR5 review

toyota-hilux-sr5-2014-frontSome 38 years ago the Hilux was unleashed onto New Zealand’s roads. Today, there are as many variants of the 2014 model as there are the days of Christmas: Double cab or single cab, four-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive, petrol or diesel, wellside or chassis, manual or automatic, special TRD edition or one of the standard range? So, should Santa replace Rudolph and Blitzen with a Hilux to tow his sleigh?

toyota-hilux-sr5-2014-sideOur double cab SR5 petrol with automatic gearbox sits at the top of the range with a four-litre V6 delivering 175kW (that’s 235brp [brake reindeer power]). It’s a 4-litre 6-cylinder engine which gives it better torque than the diesel SR5 at 376Nm vs 343Nm. It also means fuel consumption is a frankly scary 13l/100km, whereas the diesel SR5 will see you just 8.7l/100km.

toyota-hilux-sr5-2014-trayThe SR5 is more expensive than the TRD (Toyota Racing Development models) at $65,290. You probably wouldn’t subject the TRD models to the same punishment as your regular rugged Hilux, though, because the TRDs are more designed for show with flashier wheels and a body kit.

The styling is blocky and rugged with its fair share of straight lines and corners – it’d be easy to gift wrap – but it is not as imposing as, for example, a VW Amarok or Ford Ranger. Integrated colour-coded bumpers and flared wheel arches give the Hilux a clean profile. An aluminium running board down either side helps you get into the cab. The grille is very similar to the Hilux we had in 2011 with a chrome toyota-hilux-sr5-2014-rearsurround and three strong horizontal chrome bars. At the back there’s an enormous Toyota graphic that dominates the tailgate, below which sits a chrome bumper. A tow hitch is included and you can tow up to 2800kg on a braked trailer.

The Hilux is 5.26m long, so check if it fits in your garage. The wellside length is 1.52m and width is 1.51m with a 0.45m depth.

We didn’t have the right tyres on to do any major off-toyota-hilux-sr5-2014-wheelroading, but it coped well with some bumpy grass/mud using its 222mm of ground clearance, an approach angle of 30 degrees and a departure angle of 23 degrees. I gave it a good thrash on some typical farming roads north of Auckland that had been subjected to some recent heavy rain, leaving big ruts and gulleys. It was a breeze in the Hilux. You do tend to feel a little like you’re commanding a ship, sitting up quite high and feeling the ute lean into the corners.

The suspension was not as bumpy as I expected. Unladen, you’d expect that the rear leaf spring suspension would be toyota-hilux-sr5-2014-front-interiorall over the place, but Toyota seems to have achieved a good balance on the 265/65R17 tyres. Any tendency for it to want to hang the tail out in the wet is reined in by Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) which is a combination of traction control, anti-lock brakes and system that detect if you are sliding, plus the four-wheel drive. The driver can select high range 2- or 4-wheel drive or low range 4-wheel drive for serious off road duties, and it can be changed between 2- and 4-wheel drive while moving.

The SR5 petrol only comes with a 5-speed automatic which is unobtrusive and changes swiftly. It also has a lock-up toyota-hilux-sr5-2014-front-seatstorque converter.

This top-of-the-range model differentiates itself from its lesser brethren with climate control and a clean air filter, metallic style instrument panel, front accessory power outlet, leather steering wheel, automatic lights and chrome door handles.

Reversing is camera-assisted, which will be welcomed by all the tradies that have to manoeuvre in tight driveways and building sites. There are six airbags (including rear curtain protection for Extra and Double Cab models and a 5-star ANCAP crash test rating.

Cabin storage is slim. None of the cup/bottle holders fit a water bottle very well. The glovebox is 50% occupied by the owner’s manual, and the compartments under the rear seat are only big enough for some small personal possessions.

Overall, while this is a solidly built and capable ute, it doesn’t seem like a huge step forward from the 2011 model. You do get some better electronics (sat nav with traffic avoidance in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, for example), but it’s not like it’s leapfrogged the Ford Ranger and Mazda BT-50 in terms of driving dynamics, towing ability, load carrying space, or occupant comfort. The diesel automatic SR5 is the same price but with much better fuel economy. I haven’t driven the latest diesel model, but the one which I drove back in 2011 acquitted itself well.

However, there are reasons why the Hilux has been NZ’s favourite ute for 32 of the last 38 years, and its practicality and abilities shouldn’t be underestimated. In terms of year-to-date sales figures the Ford Ranger is edging out the Hilux 1684 to 1503 and they’re both way ahead of the Nissan Navara in third place (947), so it’s obviously down to personal preference.

 

Price: $65,290

Pros

  • Image
  • Power

Cons

  • Even though it’s top of the range you still don’t get, for example, telescopic wheel adjustment
  • Minimal interior storage

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