|2002 Hilux Review - Fastlane.com - Australia
Whistle while you work in Hilux turbodiesel
Time flies. It?s all of two years since we tested the Toyota Hilux with independent front suspension.
In something close to hysteria, the doomsayers predicted then that the torsion bar front end would fall
apart (or fall off completely!) if one of these new Hiluxes dared to go into the rough stuff.
But the world stayed round, no witches were burned at the stake, and the devilish new front end stayed in
one piece, so Toyota?s recent introduction of a turbodiesel to the line-up was greeted with smiles and
Hilux still has the same cabin and basic equipment as it did two years ago, so this time we?ll focus on that
all-important new engine (the presence of which is not-so-subtly proclaimed by the lairish tonneau cover).
First, a recap. The atmospheric diesel of `97/98, a revamp of Toyota?s proven sohc design, was good for
65kW of power at 4,000rpm and 197Nm of torque at 2400rpm, an eight percent gain over the previous 2.8
Using an aluminium cross-flow cylnder head, the 1KZ-TE diesel utilises a deep-skirt, externally ribbed
cylinder block for greater rigidity. Scissor gears on both the front and back of the timing gear idler, and
twin gear-driven balance shafts, help to further reduce engine vibration.
The aluminium pistons, incidentally, have a top ring groove of Fibre Reinforced Metal (FRM), which
sounds a bit like the `matrix metal? used in the engines of the 78 Series LandCruiser and the latest Celica.
So the engine-men had a good foundation to start with when they decided to bolt on a turbo - with
Power lifted by 30 percent to 85kW, and the torque output rose by a 98 Nm to no less than 295Nm, putting
Hilux at the top of its class. Now we?re torqueing seriously!
The first electronically fuel injected diesel in the one-tonne 4x4 ute category, it?s also the first
EFI-equipped diesel to be offered by Toyota Australia.
The turbo is a lightweight compact design, water-cooled for durability but, aware of turbodiesels? high
operating temperatures, the Big T?s designers subjected their new baby to extensive outback testing. This
resulted in a few changes, like fitting a larger radiator, revised fan shroud, and a change to long-life
Suitably impressed by the spec sheet, we got behind the wheel and were soon even more impressed.
First thing noticed is that the new ceramic glow plugs heat up very quickly, even on cold early-morning
starts. There?s always something oddly reassuring about the ease with which a diesel starts.
Second was how quiet it is for a diesel - then comes the whistle.
By the time you reach a steady 2,000rpm it?s less obvious due to overall engine noise and road rumble, but
when the engine first takes notice of your right foot there?s a definite whistling sound as the turbo spools
up. In rough country, with rpm fluctuating constantly, you could almost play a tune with it..
The gearbox is the R151F used in the 100 Series Cruiser, and I soon learned to dispense with first gear
around town as its 4.313:1 ratio sees the tacho needle zoom up to the redline. Second is more than
sufficient as the torque gets out of bed early, so a full payload will present no problems in first high.
The gearshift may seem a little slow and baulky at first for those more accustomed to the lighter boxes
used in the Hilux petrol models, but that?s a small price to pay for such a robust cog-swapper.
Highway running really is a breeze, loping along at a steady 110kmh with the diesel doing a fairly relaxed
2400rpm, but capable of quick response for overtaking when the turbo fires back into life.
And going offroad is even better, thanks yet again to the lusty torque delivery.
It soon became apparent that a gentle foot was needed on some of the more demanding tracks, the turbo?s
added urge creating a bit of wheelspin at the wrong moments at first, until I got accustomed to it.
Crawling over broken ground, the diesel just ticks along quietly and provides all the grunt needed to haul
the vehicle?s 1576kgs around with ease. And the same applies in soft, deep sand with the turbo available
when needed for that extra bit of power.
We liked Hilux on its release and were glad we hadn?t broken it ? with the new turbodiesel, we didn?t even