2018 Toyota HiLux Review
|Cars Guide||80%||"The Hilux does its best to be the best ute for all people, and with no less than 31 possible body style combinations, it certainly positions itself well to do just that."||Read more|
|WhichCar||80%||"The HiLux is very good off-road, and tows very well. Toyota’s remote-area service is second to none."||Read more|
|Motoring||70%||"Australia’s best-selling ‘car’ lacks the punch of its big-engine rivals."||Read more|
How does the Toyota HiLux compare with its peers?
The complete Toyota HiLux review
Toyota HiLux Pricing
When buying a HiLux, you’re paying in part for its reputation. Driveaway prices start at $26,400 for the rear-wheel drive, 2.7L petrol, baseline WorkMate single cab chassis model. The top of the range SR5 4x4 dual cab ute with a 2.8-litre diesel automatic costs $61,441.
Prices shown include 12 months registration, 12 months compulsory third-party insurance (CTP), dealer charges, stamp duty and non-metallic paint. Figures shown are for postcode 2000.
Single Cab Chassis
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|DX 4x4||RX 4x2||RX 4x4|
|2.3L Diesel 120kW Manual – $38,042||2.3L Diesel 120kW Manual – $31,862||2.3L Diesel 120kW Manual – $39,072 (Optional Auto $41,647)|
|WorkMate 4x2 chassis||WorkMate 4x4 chassis||SR 4x4 chassis|
|2.7L petrol manual $26,400||2.4L diesel manual $43,213||2.8L diesel manual – $45,708|
|2.7L petrol automatic $28,460||2.4L diesel $30,678|
|2.8L diesel manual – $47,776|
|WorkMate 4x4 chassis||SR 4x2 Hi-Rider pick-up||SR 4x4 cab chassis|
|2.4L diesel automatic – Unavailable||2.8L diesel automatic $45,178||2.8L diesel manual – Unavailable|
|2.8L diesel automatic – Unavailable|
|WorkMate pick-up||SR Hi-Rider pick-up||SR5 Hi-Rider pick-up|
|2.7L petrol manual – $34,649||2.8L diesel manual – $44,148||2.8L diesel automatic – $54,616|
|2.7L petrol automatic – $36,709||2.8L diesel automatic – $46,208|
|2.4L diesel manual – $38,048|
|2.4L diesel automatic – $43,713|
|WorkMate cab chassis||WorkMate pick-up||SR cab chassis||SR pick-Up||SR5 pick-up|
|2.4L diesel automatic – $51,651||2.4L diesel manual – $48,366||2.8L diesel manual – $52,246||2.8L diesel manual – $51,066||2.8L diesel manual – $59,341|
|2.4L diesel automatic – $50,466||2.8L diesel automatic – $54,346||2.8L diesel automatic – $53,166||2.8L diesel automatic – $61,441|
The HiLux is not only Australia's best-selling ute, it’s the best-selling vehicle overall. Toyota has a rock-solid reputation for building an unbreakable, capable 4x4 that’ll work hard for its keep.
With that said, this isn’t the best ute currently on the market. For that bragging right, you should look towards the Volkswagen Amarok or Ford Ranger.
Reviewers generally agreed the HiLux falls down slightly with its lower power outputs and less fuel-efficient engine fitments, as well as a relatively high-price. You are definitely paying a premium for the HiLux name.
||“To say that Toyota is really hitting its stride with HiLux sales is like suggesting that Steve Smith is in reasonable form, or that Lionel Messi is quite good at football.”|
||“The new-generation Toyota HiLux has a smooth diesel engine and comes in more varieties than any other ute….The HiLux is very good off-road, and tows very well. Toyota’s remote-area service is second to none.”|
||“The truth is the HiLux is starting to feel the heat in this company. The expensive purchase price, ageing interior traits and agricultural drivetrain are rightfully overlooked by some buyers, but cannot be underestimated in this instance.”|
||“The Toyota HiLux is by no means perfect and in SR5 guise it isn’t cheap either. What it is though, is incredibly capable and effortless.”|
Engine and performance
Toyota sells the HiLux with three engine options. For bog standard, rear-wheel drive WorkMate utes, Toyota offers a 2.7-litre petrol, with 245Nm of torque and a decent 122kW at 5,200 rpm. The petrol engine appears to be underpowered by modern standards but it’s cheaper than the lowest-priced diesel HiLux.
Moving up the range, Toyota has developed two oiler options. The first has a displacement of 2.4 litres, providing 400Nm when mated to the auto box and 110kW. This engine is the most fuel-efficient of the range. The HiLux is available with a more pokey 2.8-litre diesel, which produces 450Nm of torque and a reasonable, if not groundbreaking,130kW.
The 2.8-litre diesel is also fitted to the Toyota Fortuner and also the Prado. Reviewers found it to be an excellent engine, though it doesn’t offer as much power or torque as other power plants in its class.
The HiLux is available with three gearboxes too. There’s a five-gear manual for the lower-end WorkMate models. There’s also the option to fit a six-speed manual, as well as a six-speed auto.
Journalists noted how smooth the automatic swapped cogs, almost seamlessly. The auto box mated with the diesels also increases the maximum torque available, though you’ll burn through more fuel. Frustratingly, opting for the 2.8 diesel automatic which should tow like a train, actually lowers the maximum towing capacity to 3,200kg.
- Engine type
- - Direct injection, 16-valve with chain-driven double overhead cam, single or twin turbocharger/s
- - 4x2 or 4x4
- Engine size/displacement
- - Petrol: 4-cylinder petrol, 16-valve DOHC with dual VVT-i
Diesel: 4-cylinder, 16-valve DOHC
- - 4x2 or 4x4
- Engine size/displacement (cm3)
- - Petrol: 2,694
Diesel: 2,393 or 2,755
- Fuel type
- - Unleaded or diesel
- - Inline 4
- Fuel tank capacity
- - 80 litres
- Max. torque (Nm@rpm)
- - Petrol: 245 @ 4,000
2.4 Diesel: 400@1,600-2,000 automatic
2.8 Diesel: 450@1,600-2,400 automatic
- Fuel consumption – combined petrol / diesel
- - 11.1L/100km / 7.1L/100km
- Max. power (kW@rpm)
- - Petrol: 122 @ 5,200
2.4 Diesel: 110 @ 3,400
2.8 Diesel: 130 @ 3,400
- Combined CO2 emissions petrol / diesel
- - 259g/km / 203g/km
- - N/A
- Emissions standard
- - Euro 6
- Top speed
- - N/A
- - Engine immobiliser
- - 5-speed manual
6-speed manual or
- Towing capacity (braked/unbraked)
- - Up to 3500kg/750kg
Surprisingly, the HiLux isn’t the most fuel-efficient ute. The petrol engine uses a whopping 11.1L/100km combined. The smaller of the two diesels, at 2.4L displacement, uses around 7.7L/100km and the larger 2.8 diesel glugs through 8.1L/100km.
Take these numbers with a pinch of salt. Real-world economy figures are almost always worse. The automatic gearbox further increases fuel consumption, as do any loads or roof bars and different body style combinations. Compared with other utes in its class, the HiLux is actually one of the least fuel-efficient.
For a ute with leaf springs, journalists said the HiLux rides pretty well. The steering is progressive, not sluggish and imprecise like other utes. Reviewers commented that the ride is firm and solid, feeling secure around corners and on wet roads. However, the firm ride is translated through the seats and into the passengers, which becomes tiring on long drives.
Adding weight into the back helps to settle the leaf springs and the HiLux doesn’t suffer from a bonnet up in the air stance as with the Navara, for example.
The brakes feel responsive with the now-pretty-much standard front disc, rear drum convention.
The HiLux doesn’t really come unstuck in any key areas, doing everything you’d want from a ute and a little more.
The HiLux is excellent off-road. It has bags of grip, ground clearance and higher-end models have locking diffs plus high/low range 4WD. Toyota also clad the 4WD models with modest underbody protection.
With a maximum wading depth of 700mm and 279mm of ground clearance, it makes water obstacles and rock crawling a breeze. Fortunately, the firm paved-road ride translates into a supple and smooth ride off-road.
Interior and other features
With several body styles available, there’s a HiLux that will suit most drivers. Tradies will love the load-hauling ute double cab, whilst farmers will benefit from the tray-back single cabs.
Trim levels are: WorkMate, the base spec for workhorse utes; the SR which is slightly upgraded and offers long-distance driving comfort; then finally the top of the range SR5 trim. SR5 has all the mod cons.
Much like its rivals, every trim level comes with Bluetooth phone connectivity, voice recognition, cruise control, a touchscreen and steering wheel controls. Unlike its rivals, the HiLux has a reversing camera as standard. There’s a tilt-and-reach adjustable steering column too, which many other utes fail to include, or at least do so only partially.
There are plenty of airbags – seven in fact – protecting all occupants, including those seated in the rear of the double cabs. Electronic Stability Control comes as standard, in addition to a neat Trailer Sway Control feature which prevents drivers towing trailers from getting a swapper on. The HilLux also has a reasonable Electronic Traction Control, though some reviewers found it got in the way on off-road hill climbs.
The interior is well-made, using tough, rugged plastics. One reviewer felt it was as solid as oak. Front passengers have plenty of room, though the rear of the double cab is a bit more snug. On the SR5 model, passengers in the back receive cool air via rear vents.
Toyota has also done an excellent job of reducing cabin noise. Even at high speed, you can hold a conversation with the people behind you which certainly goes a long way to making long journeys less tiring and more enjoyable.
|5-speed manual gearbox||✔||✗||✗|
|6-speed manual gearbox||OPT||✔||✗|
|6-speed automatic transmission||OPT||OPT||✔|
|Locking rear differential||✗||✔||✔|
|Remote keyless entry||✔||✔||✔|
|Smart entry and start||✗||✗||✔|
|Underbody protection for transfer box, sump, fuel tank||✔||✔||✔|
|Standard rear leaf suspension||✔||✔||✔|
|Auto-leveling LED headlight||✗||✗||✔|
|Chrome exterior trim||✗||✗||✔|
|Built-in satellite navigation||✗||OPT||✔|
|Premium leather seats||✗||✗||OPT|
|Stainless steel sports bar||✗||✗||✔|
The HiLux has a wide-reaching reputation that precedes it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite live up to the hype. Toyota needs to revisit the HiLux to offer more active driving assists, higher engine power outputs and better fuel economy.
It’s frustrating that the 4WD system only works off-road and there’s a definite premium added to final prices because the HiLux is in such high demand.
Is the demand warranted? It’s a good ute, but it’s not the best.
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