Toyota: 2016 Hilux 4WD SR Extra Cab/chassis

Toyota: 2016 Hilux 4WD SR Extra Cab/chassis

Shortly before Christmas, we spent a week in the new Toyota Hilux 4×4 SR Extra cab/chassis variant, that retails from $53,990.

That may sound like a fair bit of the folding stuff for a rough and tumble pick-up, but there are more specifications and comforts built into every Hilux variant than there were in previous generations.

The importance of getting the new pick-up right first time was so critical to Toyota Motor Company president and chief executive officer Akio Toyoda, he delayed the new model’s release for a year, until it met his criteria, according to the local Toyota boss Alastair Davis.

2016 Hilux 4WD Extra Cab interiorOur test vehicle, JHR 220, proved to be a useful and friendly companion for the week, and even though we didn’t get to push the envelope of its capacity or capability, we have no doubt that loyal

Toyota fans will be more than satisfied with the new Hilux.

It’s a sturdy workhorse, whose appearance on those black 17-inch wheels belies a modern tool 2016 Hilux 4WD SR rear trayof trade vehicle that is comfortable to drive, well equipped, safe, and provides a pleasant daily companion for people who cover both short and long distances.

Toyota New Zealand is fitting genuine OEM alloy trays, such as the unit pictured here on our test vehicle, at its Thames facility.

Also, the OEM approved towbar and wiring are 2016 Hilux 4WD SR Extra Cab side viewalso installed here before the Hilux leaves for the dealership and its new owner.

Toyota recognises that the new Hilux needed to step up to the demands of workplace health and safety, as it is a de facto mobile office for many tradespeople, and those involved in civil construction, farming, forestry, as well as parks 2016 Hilux 4WD SR Extra Cab steering wheeland recreation.

For that purpose, besides the hands-free Bluetooth phone operation, the Extra Cab SR grade Hilux contains seven airbags – including a driver’s knee airbag – vehicle stability control, hill assist control, brake assist, electronic brake distribution, emergency stop signal, trailer sway control, and cruise control.

Our test vehicle also features standard 2016 Hilux 4WD SR Extra Cab Chassis cupholderequipment such as ECO/power drive mode for the engine, a rear differential lock, a black alloy side step, halogen headlamps and halogen daytime running lights.

The one feature that the cab/chassis model doesn’t get, which the well-side models do, is the reversing camera.

The new 1GD-FTV 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine powers it, in conjunction with a six-speed manual transmission, and a proper two-speed transfer case to engage low range four-wheel drive by the twist of a rotary dial in the cab.

The new 2.8-litre diesel engine produces up to 450Nm between 1600 and 2400rpm – a 25% increase on the previous 3-litre engine. It can deliver up to 80% of its maximum torque from as low as 1200rpm.

Toyota says the new Hilux offers better off-road performance through a 20% increase in wheel articulation.

The redesigned rear suspension has 100mm longer leaf springs at 1.4 metres to suppress rough surfaces. Their front attachment point is 100mm further forward and 25mm lower to enhance steering control.

The leaf springs are now mounted 50mm wider apart to increase stability when the Hilux is carrying a heavy load.

Toyota says it widened the track of the Hilux by 35mm at the front, and 50mm at rear, depending on the model, providing more stability for towing.

Ground clearance has been improved 64mm up to 286mm to provide better off-road capability, complemented by the increased approach angle of up to 31 degrees, and departure angle to 26 degrees.

An increase of 22mm in diameter to the ventilated front discs on 4WD models sees an improvement in brake power.

While the SR grade is the entry level specification for all Hilux 4×4 models, it is by no means a stripper.

The black cloth upholstery is very comfortable; the driver has the benefit of a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, and there is a heavy duty carpet on the floor.

That said, our vehicle arrived with some heavy duty accessory rubber mats covering it, which given the pick-up will see duty in grassy, muddy and sandy environments is a wise investment.

There is also manual air conditioning provided in the SR grade Hilux, and the 7-inch CD display audio system also provides a good sound quality through four speakers.

Driving impressions

Your first impression when hopping into the new 2016 Hilux SR is how much more car-like the new pick-up has become, even for a work orientated vehicle.

There are remote controls for the audio and Bluetooth functions on the chunky new steering wheel, that has a beautiful alloy detail on the lower rim spokes, and the new touch screen for the audio/display system does rather dominate the centre of the dashboard.

As you would expect from Toyota, the quality of the plastics is excellent as is the detailing – the only blight being the blanked off circular space on the dashboard – used for the most expensive models that offer push button stop/start. The SR uses a good old fashioned key in the ignition switch!

Fire up the new 2.8-litre turbodiesel, and there’s no denying it is an oiler, but the new powertrain pulls away lustily in first gear, and even more so when the power mode is engaged.

The difference in the power delivery between Eco and Power was quite surprising, and indeed, if fleets are trying to encourage fuel economy, the Eco mode will do that for them.

The cabin is quite spacious two up, the ‘dickey’ seats in the rear cabin are only suitable for shorter people (kids?) to sit in for short trips.

I would think most owner/operators of this vehicle will remove the rear seat squabs to put a tool box or other equipment in the cabin for security.

Thanks to the ample spaces between the three pedals, you can drive the Hilux wearing work boots or gumboots, and the six-speed gearbox has a nice throw, although you have to push the lever down and then up to the left for reverse, which is sometimes a bit of a fiddle.

I also missed not having a reversing camera/sensors in the Extra Cab due to having the tray fitted as a factory accessory.

For a vehicle designed to carry a load and also go off-road, the new Hilux rides comfortably and also handles well. I had no issue manouevring it around an inner city parking building.

The only blight of the driving experience was the hum created at motorway speed by the large cargo bar/cab rear window protector, and its two vertical rods mounted on the tray, just behind the cab.

All in all, the new Hilux is bigger, better and stronger; now the market will decide if it will regain the number one crown from Ford’s Ranger.

Words and pictures: Robert Barry

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