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By Jonathan Crouch
The eighth generation version of Toyota's indestructible Hilux pick-up effectively builds on a strong heritage. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 59
Although the Toyota Hilux has forged a reputation as something that cannot be killed, a little luxury inside still plays well with buyers and the latest eighth generation model serves up a more refined feel aided by its more sophisticated 2.4-litre turbo diesel engine. The styling changes also give it a more upmarket look yet prices have remained reasonable.
Backgroundword count: 146
The Toyota Hilux found instant fame when Top Gear decided to crash one, have it washed out to sea, burnt and finally set atop a dynamited tower block and yet still it started and drove. This cemented a reputation for rugged durability that had built up over many years. Sheer cockroach-like indestructibility is an undoubted asset but the British pick-up buyer is looking for something more. With an increasingly sophisticated set of rivals, the Hilux needed to become a bit easier to live with. The improvements made to this MK8 model address that issue. Not only is it classier looking, but there's a more efficient 2.4-litre diesel beneath the bonnet, plus the interior feels a good deal plusher. None of the Hilux's essential toughness has been compromised in the process but you might now value your pick-up too much to subject it to the worst excesses.
Driving Experienceword count: 222
The key thing about this new-generation Hilux lies with the installation of its new 2.4-litre D-4D Global Diesel (GD) engine. With 400Nm of torque, pulling power is improved over the old 2.5 and 3.0-litre diesel units, plus there's enhanced efficiency too. All variants feature all-wheel drive, while the Invincible and Invincible X models at the top of the range offer the option of a six-speed automatic gearbox. Both transmissions have been extensively revised to improve durability and low-speed driving performance, with quieter, smoother gear changes. Both manual and automatic Hilux have a top speed of 106mph; acceleration from nought to 62mph is 12.8 seconds for the auto and 13.2 seconds for the manual. Under the skin, there's a new ladder-frame chassis that gives the vehicle a 20% increase in torsional rigidity, improving improved handling, ride comfort and refinement. The robust leaf spring and twin shock absorber rear suspension system has been extensively revised to provide off-road articulation capabilities and SUV-like ride comfort and handling stability. The Hilux is equipped with a switchable all-wheel drive system featuring a high and low-ratio transfer case, and both front and rear locking limited-slip differentials. The improved low and medium speed torque delivery of the 2.4-litre diesel engine and the increased strength of the redesigned ladder-frame chassis together enable an increase in towing capacity to 3.5 tonnes.
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