A new safety rating, new five-speed auto option plus some extra convenience features should keep the HiLux on shopping lists for at least another couple of seasons.

Story By Bruce McMahon

The HiLux ute kicks up clouds of fine dust as it heads down the forest track, gravel spitting up and out, bouncing off the undertray. It’s quiet and comfortable up in the cabin, Graeme Connors sings softly on the stereo and satellite navigation paves the way, a little further north.
Slow for the right-hander, a touch of brake, turn through and accelerate. The Toyota’s rear axle steps out a tad on the loose surface, the stability control system kicks in and, with a gentle nudge, corrects the slide; back seat passengers stay calm, the tray’s cargo doesn’t move and the dog is undisturbed.
Power on and there’s a smooth efficiency to this three-litre turbo diesel engine and five-speed auto combination. Treated well, there’s an easy 10 litres for 100 kilometres on these runs.
Ahead the good gravel ends in a rutted, washed-out and mud-puddled track. Stop and into neutral. Shift the transfer case lever into four-wheel-drive ‘low’ and, with care, head on down the track. There are some jolts as the ute clambers over lumps and bumps – there’s no mistaking that down below is a full and separate chassis with firm, workmanlike suspension to best handle rough conditions and decent loads.
Here the Toyota HiLux, with fair ground clearance and suspension travel, plus good engine torque and gearing, makes pretty light work of tough tracks.

This Story is from Issue #96

Outback Magazine: Aug/Sep 2014