2002 Hilux Review  Worldoffroad.com
United Kindom (Great Briton)
Split Personality

The idea of a vehicle as a 'lifestyle' accessory is becoming ever fashionable with manufacturers who are
not quite sure where one of their products sits in the market. Instead of the Toyota Hilux Double Cab
complimenting his lifestyle, Andy Blois finds the need to adapt his lifestyle to suit it.

I am not a fashion guru, in fact I am not even fashionable which would probably explain why I completely
failed to see the point of the Mitsubishi L200 Double Cab 4 Life. When Toyota brought out a similar
version of their Hilux, being an open-minded chap, I thought it was time to put a "Lifestyle" vehicle to the
test.

The vehicle in question is the GX spec Hilux Double Cab resplendent in metallic red, sorry Ruby, and
adorned with chrome wing mirrors and grill. The 1998 model Hilux has also received a number of
improvements throughout the range, notably with the addition of a turbo charger to the 2.4 diesel and
independent front suspension. The new Hilux is faster, rides better and is more luxurious than its
predecessors but is that all it is really about.

In my book pick ups are for working. You load them up with tools and materials and then go off to build
fences or houses. Alternatively you can of course use them to feed sheep, cows or indeed any farmyard
animal. A true pick up should also have places for a large plastic lunch box and some deep trays for filling
with assorted nails, staples and bizarre broken plumbing fittings. When driving the aforementioned pick up
the window should always be down a factor usually necessary due to the tuna fish sandwich falling behind
the seat three months earlier. Talking of the seat, this should be a saggy vinyl affair with large areas of
yellow foam protruding, particularly where the driver has leapt in and out.

Thus you can understand my surprise when the GX version has an adjustable steering column, electric
wing mirrors and windows, cloth seats and a sunroof. Quite clearly this was never intended to be a true
working car so we had to find other uses for it. Mission one therefore was to take it shooting for a day.
Duly loaded with four people, three dogs and all the associated paraphernalia we set off. The first thing to
note is that the Hilux rides considerably better with a bit of weight in it, the rear springs actually start
doing what they are designed to do; spring. The thing is the cab becomes incredibly cluttered. With a light
drizzle descending from the heavens the occupants were understandably reluctant to put wellies and coats
in the pick up buck. The solution of course would be to fit something akin to a Truckman Top to cover the
buck. Then again that completely defeats the object of a pick up, if you put a lid on it you might as well
have a van or a conventional 4x4.

There were of course the derogatory comments from the Discovery and Range Rover drivers regarding
the chrome and magpie tendencies. The more erstwhile of the group expressed concern that I may have
become a builder. In the face of stalwart opposition there was no chance of the Hilux cutting a dash in this
lifestyle, undeterred I sought another activity and chose to be a builder for a day.

Swapping tweeds for jeans and check shirt I sought to move wheelbarrows, timber and steel around for the
day. The problem is the buck is not big enough for moving decent lengths of timber around so you find
yourself driving around the whole time with the tailgate folded down. The top of the range GX spec also
does not come with the lash down hooks around the buck or the rack frame to the rear of the cab. It does
though come, as with the rest of the range, with high tensile steel body panels which are supposed to offer
greater resistance to dents. I did though manage to restrain myself from testing this claim. The truck did
not fare too badly as a builder?s hack, but you were always very concerned about the interior and I am of
the opinion that the basic full length pick up would be a more useful tool.

Besides which I never did like getting splinters and hitting by thumbs with hammers, so perhaps the Hilux
would excel as a car, shopping, that sort of thing. As it happened whilst the Hilux was in my possession it
snowed. Given that the Hilux drives only on the rear wheels in two wheel drive, and that there is no weight
in the back? Yes you would be right the Hilux is a hoot to drive in the snow, providing you don?t actually
need to go anywhere. If you do actually need to get where you are going, selecting four wheel drive is
simple and positive and can easily be done on the move.

The thing is when you walk around the supermarket you have to be careful as to exactly what you buy.
Bearing in mind you will have to put all your shopping either on the back seats or in the buck there are
certain criteria. It must be heavy so it doesn?t blow away and it must be able to survive getting wet in case
it rains on the trip home. After a careful walk around the aisles I had it sussed. I could buy beer and baked
beans. There done it! Got this "Lifestyle" thing sussed, it?s for people that want to buy beer with their
mates!

The thing is the GX Hilux Double cab is not a bad vehicle, sadly in seeking to be a jack of all trades it
results in being the master of none. Having said this if I found the need for a double cab I would choose the
standard specification, forego the electric windows and mirrors, gain the lashing points and save the £800.



Further reading:
Toyota Desert Raid
Toyota Landcruiser Colorado
Toyota RAV4
Toyota Hilux Custom
Mitsubishi Double Cab



World Off Road Vehicle Facts:

Model tested: Toyota Hilux Double Cab GX
Price: £19,995 (on-the-road)
Transmission: Manual 5 Speed
2H/4H/4L 4WD system
Engine: 2.4 litre turbo-diesel OHC
Power Output: 89 bhp @3500 rpm
Torque: 161 lb.ft. @2200 rpm
Braked Towing Capacity: 2250 kg
Payload: 880/775 kg
Top Speed: N/A
0-60 mph: N/A
Economy: N/A
Notable Features:  Jack of all trades though master of none,
overstated chrome work, 4 seats, good safety features and electric windows!
The End
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