In spite of its soft image, this pickup truck is still revered on the road because of its lofty size.
Having a large truck bed is always a plus for those who want to haul furniture or sporting equipment. But in this country, not everyone buys a pickup for its functionality; instead, some just slap on a set of large chrome rims in order to look good while driving around the city.
Within, passengers are greeted by a bright beige interior. Though luxurious, I feel that it’s a bit effeminate for a pickup truck. Just like the rest of the IMV line-up, textured hard plastics are used all over the interior, with touches of silver accents to make the ambience more buoyant. There are also a lot of useful storage spaces around the cabin to store your knick-knacks. Long drives are never complete without the company of good music, so it’s nice that the new Hilux now comes with an iPod-ready sound system. Plus, it's got a user-friendly interface, too.
The front seats give a good amount of side and back support, while three average-sized occupants at the back will surely be pleased with the enormous leg and headroom. Toyota claims that the new Hilux comes with an improved suspension package, but my passenger's persistent complaints over its bounciness on uneven roads says otherwise. Perhaps the ride will improve a bit with a full load of people or cargo.
Behind the wheel, the towering view of the road is great, but backing up and parallel parking is quite challenging due to the bed's length. The heavy steering also makes three-point turns a chore.
On the Run
Though the 3.0L four-cylinder diesel powerplant doesn’t improve on its 160 horsepower output, the engine never lacked grunt for during our trip up north. In fact, it had more than enough punch to overtake on the highway and to climb steep muddy inclines, thanks to 343Nm of torque and four-wheel-drive. At the end of the day, the D-4D engine managed to return an average of 9km/L on urban drives and 11.4km/L on the highway, which is pretty good for a vehicle of this size with a four-speed automatic gearbox.
Toyota's reincarnation of the Hilux for 2011 is still as good a value as it was when first launched in 2005. Priced at P1.4 million for the 3.0G AT version we tested, it might be a bit more expensive than some of its rivals, but Toyota's reputation for reliability and robustness will surely continue to attract pickup enthusiasts for years to come.