|1999 Hilux Review - Carnet - Australia
Toyota Blows Hilux
Date:20/12/1999 Source:Peter Barnwell
``The pace of technological development in the automotive sector is so fast that if you think about
introducing something new for too long, someone else will do it before you,'' said Toyota product manager,
Ironically, turbo diesel one tonne utes have been available on the Australian market for some time so
Toyota's new turbo diesel Hilux is a reaction to them rather than being a pace setter. But it's good, as good
or better than anything else in this segment and is backed by the unsurpassed Toyota reputation for
The Japanese-manufactured Hilux turbo diesel has additional features that give it an edge over largely
Thai-manufactured one tonne competition. The turbo engine joins a naturally aspirated diesel, and two
petrol engines in the model range. Using the 3.0L, SOHC, indirect injection diesel four cylinder as a base,
Toyota has added a turbo charger, twin counter rotating balance shafts, ceramic glow plugs and electronic
fuel injection for additional power and torque with up to 15 percent better fuel economy as a bonus on the
Maximum power from the ``blown'' diesel is 85kw delivered at 3600rpm and 295nm of torque delivered at
2400rpm. Both figures are substantially more than for the naturally aspirated engine.
The Hilux turbo diesel is a direct competitor for Holden's popular Rodeo turbo diesel ute that has stormed
the market in the past year or two. The Hilux turbo diesel is available only in SR5 grade which makes it a
rather expensive proposition as this is the premium model in the Hilux lineup. Prices for the turbo diesel
start at $36,930 for the cab/chassis model. These additional Hilux models bring the range count to 28 in a
Toyota commercial vehicle line-up approaching 100 models.
Toyota has fitted the turbo diesel Hilux with a manual transmission from LandCruiser 100 Series diesel for
added strength and reliability. The vehicle was refined for extreme Australian conditions with emphasis on
engine cooling and dust exclusion from the cabin.
There's a large radiator and radiator shroud and under-piston oil jets to aid engine cooling. Toyota tested
the vehicle in 45 degree heat towing 1800kgs. It passed easily.
At this stage, the turbo diesel engine is available only with 4WD in double cab, single cab and cab/ chassis
body types. In conjunction with the turbo diesel engine, Toyota will also offer SR5 grade 2WD models
aimed at the growing sports ute market.
These two petrol powered vehicles are available with manual or optional four speed auto transmission. No
auto is offered with the turbo diesel engine but the vehicle features a two speed transfer and an
automatic-disconnecting front differential. SR5 grade specifies plenty of goodies for the stressed worker
including comfy cloth upholstery, central locking, power exterior mirrors and windows and an optional
safety pack includes dual air bags, and ABS.
Air conditioning is extra. On a testing drive route, the Hilux turbo diesel proved to be extremely competent
on and off the road. Naturally, when lightly laden the heavy duty leaf spring rear suspension causes
bucking and pitching on rough roads but this diminishes with a load in the tray. Off road capabilities are
impressive but once again, the ride is very firm jolting occupants. But as the saying goes ``You can't have
your cake and eat it too,'' so if you need to carry a tonne off road, you'll need a vehicle with stout
suspension and a strong chassis.
The turbo diesel will climb over pretty well any obstacle and tackles steep climbs and descents easily. Low
range is a crawler gear that enables the turbo diesel to basically walk down a steep decline. We were able
to test an ABS equipped turbo diesel in a variety of off road driving conditions and found the gravel road
strategy very handy. The vehicle has a reasonably good turning circle and is easy to drive apart from the
umbrella hand brake under the dash.
Selecting 4WD can be done on the fly. On sealed roads, the turbo diesel feels almost car- like in terms of
engine smoothness and throttle response. Plenty of power is instantly available in the low and medium
engine speed range which correlates to normal city and highway driving speeds. Cabin room is good with
even dual cab rear seat passengers finding adequate leg room. A turbo diesel 2WD in fairly basic
specification would be a logical next step. The tradesperson's special.
Group Motoring Editor
142 - 154 Macquarie St