Toyota Hilux First Drive Review
Pick-up vehicles are not very popular among individual owners in India. While Tata Motors and Mahindra tried and failed in the market due to weak sales many years ago, Isuzu V-Cross was released in 2016. The V-Cross has dominated the market since 2016, and competition didn't arrive until Toyota decided to introduce the Hilux in March 2022. The Hilux, like the V-Cross, is a modern vehicle marketed to enthusiasts, proprietors of small businesses, wealthy farmers, and owners of large tracts of land.
Indeed, the Toyota truck has a more significant global following than the Isuzu. It has gone through eight generations and has been sold for more than five decades. In more than 180 nations, over twenty million units have been sold. Toyota had also hoped for some success in India. Our sales records, however, show that fewer than 600 units have been sold domestically since the pick-up truck's release.
Only one engine is available, and it is a 2.8L diesel engine. Both a 6-speed manual and 6-speed automatic transmission are available. The engine generates 420 Nm in the MT variant and 201 BHP 500 Nm in the AT variant. All models have four-wheel drive.
Three different Hilux models are offered, with prices starting at Rs.30.40 lakh for STD MT, Rs.37.15 lakh for High MT, Rs.37.90 lakh for High AT (ex-showroom Delhi). This sets it at a significant premium over the V-Cross, which has a price range of Rs.19.50-27.00 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi).
Exterior Design and Style
The Fortuner Innova Crysta have similarities, and the Hilux has several aesthetic features in common with both of them. The Innova Crysta and the Hilux resemble each other slightly when viewed from the front. There are significant distinctions between the Hilux its rivals, although the pick-up truck body type limits the similarities. In addition to physical type, there is a significant size disparity. This truck's huge length is 5,325 mm, and its wheelbase is 3,085 mm. The Hilux is an attractive car with a commanding presence on the road.
Notable features include 18-inch chrome alloy tires, LED fog lamps, rear fog lamps, LED headlamps featuring integrated DRLs, steel chrome rear bumper, and chrome door handles. The car comes in five single-tone body colors: Emotional Red, Silver Metallic, White Pearl Crystal Shine, Grey Metallic, and Super White. The first three are only available in the High grade, and the last one is only accessible in the STD grade.
Comfort, Convenience, and Features
It gives you a king-of-the-road sense as soon as you enter its cabin, making you feel unique. There is leather furniture, and everything you will touch has silky edges. Even though not much catches your eye, it's still a pleasant location to be in. This infotainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen is included with the Hilux. It enables Android Auto as well as Apple CarPlay connectivity, although it is inconvenient to connect with the cable every time. Although it isn't among the most visually appealing systems we've tried, the UI is responsive. This unit has six speakers as opposed to the Fortuner's nine, but it still produces enough sound for a tiny cabin.
The instrument cluster serves a similar purpose. There isn't much off-road technology on display, but it highlights the essential components. There are now eight-way power adjustments for the front seats, as well as cruise control, automatic headlights, and dual-zone climate control. Also making you feel special are the wireless charger, chilled glovebox, and dashboard with soft-touch leather. None of these convey the idea of being unrefined that utilitarian pick-up trucks do. In fact, it offers much more than any other pick-up vehicle in India.
Even in terms of safety, it has seven airbags, traction control, vehicle stability control, front parking sensors, variable flow control steering, a rear-view camera, and park assist. These pick-up trucks are superior to all existing pick-up vehicles or the competition.
The good news is that everything is within reach if you use it frequently and are driving alone. Water bottles, wallets, phones, and even larger items can all be stored and stowed in the center console along with many other items. These gaps seem sturdy when opened and closed, and the plastic has a solid feel. This Hilux 4x4 AT is identical to the Fortuner 4x4 AT except for the third-row seats. Therefore, if you intend to use it as a family car, you must choose the accessories kit to accommodate 4-5 passengers' luggage. Furthermore, passengers shouldn't anticipate being extremely comfortable on a long journey because of the backrest's upright position. The seat's base can be elevated to store goods, as is customary with utilitarian furniture. You can keep a toolbox under these seats in your car.
The major lifestyle component, which is this enormous bed, is now introduced. It effortlessly packs up all of your camping gear and fits in your motorcycle. Many people who live on farms find it beneficial when they go shopping for weekly rations for the family. Following that, you can go camping, fishing, and visiting golf courses with your luggage and equipment. No other vehicle could accomplish this all at once.
Ride and Handling
The Hilux struggles with city living. It seems large, but driving in populated areas requires effort to turn with heavy steering and always slows down traffic when making U-turns because of the enormous turning radius. The back camera and parking sensors take some of the uncertainty out of where to park it, but good luck finding a spot big enough for your Hilux.
Positively, the size and weight of the Hilux provide excellent confidence at greater speeds. It could be more agile, but it turns smoothly enough. Over long, winding turns, the steering does need to be fine-tuned.
The Hilux's load affects how comfortable the ride is. Without any additional weight on the back, the rear springs provide a lively ride that picks up even the smallest surface defects. Your back passengers will experience most of its hopping, skipping, and jumping. However, compared to most other SUVs, the Hilux withstands the impact of large potholes driven over quickly.
The Hilux really excels when you get off the beaten path. It feels like an SUV that was designed from the ground up to take a hammering, and it lets you keep moving forward when other SUVs would force you to slow down drastically. Not your Hilux will be rattled; you will.
The large 265/60 R18 tires serve as an excellent first line of defense on rough roads, and when the situation worsens, a turn of the 4WD knob unleashes tremendous potential. The medium-level rock-filled path we tackled was easily handled by the Hilux. It is safe to presume that a Hilux is capable of everything a Fortuner is. And it's a lot, too.
The front seats of the Hilux are designed to reduce whiplash injuries, and it also has seven airbags, traction control, ABS + EBD, brake assist hill assist control, vehicle stability control, emergency brake signal, a reversing camera, front and rear parking sensors, and ISOFIX child seat anchors. We had hoped for more safety features in the Hilux, such as TPMS, blind view monitor, and 360-degree surround view monitor, given the price of the vehicle and the kind of features offered on cars from lower categories.
In conclusion, the Toyota Hilux excels in rural areas but is not the best vehicle for city driving. The Hilux is a superbly balanced pick-up truck, but it is also one of the most costly ones. But then again, India's pick-up vehicle population is already too small. We've got the Tata Xenon, the Mahindra Bolero Camper, and even the Scorpio Getaway. However, the majority of these were fairly rudimentary, and only the Isuzu V-Cross set a new standard for satisfaction. The Hilux has significantly increased the luxury factor in recent years, but it will still be a niche lifestyle item. If you're searching for a distinctive yet effective workhorse, the Toyota Hilux is a wise choice. It has a luxurious cabin and a ton of useful amenities and excels at off-roading. Finally, it is dependable because of Toyota's renowned after-sales service network.