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Toyota Hilux Review

Toyota Hilux Ute Review 2019/2018

In the last 20 years, the Toyota Hilux has formed somewhat of an empire.

It topped the Australian vehicle sales the previous two years running, leading into the new Toyota Hilux 2018. Although this includes all 4×2 fleet sales, it demonstrates the trust and reliability we all have come to love about this iconic vehicle.

Despite its dominance, in recent years it has faced some stiff competition in the mid-range 4×4 market. A market which has risen in general popularity beyond beggars belief, and has just about every vehicle manufacturer jostling for a piece of the mid range 4×4 pie.

Currently, the biggest rival is the Ford Ranger in it’s latest form, the PXII. The Ford was basically neck and neck with Toyota last year in 4×4 ute sales. If anything, this competition is great for the customer, as it means the bar is ever increasing for reliability, capability and function.

Trayon’s Official Review of the New Toyota Hilux 2018

Since our beginning at Trayon, almost 25 years ago, we have watched as the Toyota Hilux went from just another ute, to THE ute. Throughout this time, we’ve been chucking Trayon slide on campers on the back of Toyota Hilux’s year after year.

As a result, we have built up an intimate understanding of how the Toyota Hilux brand suits the rigours of Australian Outback roads, and doubly, how it handles them with a Trayon on board. But we are as interested as the rest to see how time treats the latest versions of the Toyota Hilux in 2018.

Interestingly, since the Ford Ranger PX entry into the four wheel drive ute market in 2012, we’ve seen the number of Toyota Hilux’s in the Trayon workshop decrease. In fact, the Hilux is currently sitting in around fourth place on the Trayon list of vehicles people bring into the shop. Behind the Ranger, Mazda BT50, and the Isuzu DMax.

In this article, we focus on the new 4×4 Toyota Hilux range of 2018, as this is the ideal entry level Toyota beast of burden for Trayon adventures, or any Outback touring adventures for that matter.

The Birth of The New Toyota Hilux 2018

White Dual Cab Toyota Hilux 4x4 River Crossing, snorkle and Trayon ute back camper.

We all know the Toyota Hilux has been around for a while, but few probably guess that its existence stretches back more than 40 years!! Since March 1968, to be exact.

Born in Japan, Raised in the US

That was the slogan printed on the 1978 sales brochure. At that stage it was still only available in 2WD. Who could have predicted the success this new breed of Toyota was about to have.

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2018 Toyota Hilux Evolution

The Toyota Hilux we have all grown to love here in Australia took hold in the late 80s. By this stage the 4×4 variant had split off the evolutionary tree, with a few minor differences to the 2WD.

Since the Late 80s

In the last few decades the Toyota Hilux has gone from strength to strength. Smashing vehicle sales in both fleet sales and private sales.

2018 Availability

New 2018 Toyota Hilux Dual Cab Gray with Trayon Slide on camper in factory / warehouse

Like most Australian utes, the new Toyota Hilux of 2018 comes in a single cab, extra cab and double cab.

The 4×4 double cab model is the one the majority of Australians are currently interested in. While dual cabs are great multipurpose vehicles, we wrote a recent article explaining why they are not always the best pick for every situation, called ‘What Vehicle Configuration Should I Get to Go with a Trayon Camper’, focusing on 4×4 touring setups.

Each new Toyota Hilux variety can be purchased in various levels of luxury. Starting with the basic WorkMate, and moving up through SR, and top shelf SR5.

Recently, Toyota released the Rugged, Rogue and Rugged X variants.These are basically just jazzed up versions of the standard SR and SR5 models. They have a few extra genuine Toyota accessories and are more aesthetically pleasing (i.e. integrated steel bumper, bash plates/underbody protection etc.). They look more off road worthy, but bare in mind that performance wise, there is very little difference.

It seems Toyota have released these new options to try and combat the success of the Ford Ranger’s step up models like the XL, XLS and WildTrak. Only time will tell if the move pays off.

Toyota Hilux 2018 Interior Features

The interior of the modern Toyota Hilux has evolved a long way from the work ready ‘truck like’ interior of old. These days the cabin has a more SUV like quality, catering for the ever expanding variety of demographics interested in utility vehicles. This is a common phenomenon across the mid range for wheel drive ute market.

The real no frills work ready vehicles are now few and far between, including the Toyota Hilux’s bigger brother, the 79 Series Landcruiser, and the super heavy duty Mercedes G Class Ute.

Back to the new Toyota Hilux, the entry level single cab Workmate variant has the most simplistic interior, with usability and luxury increases as you move up through the models.

The top models come in leather options, but leather isn’t a great idea if dusty Outback driving is your goal. Leather and dust do not get along well.

With every model, you get a centre console touch screen, which although is handy, is also a bit fiddly. Competitors like the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok have moved ahead in this area.

Other internal features include a dual glove box system, and various cup holders. If you have young children the double cab is the only variant with attachment points for child seats. However, the minor issue with the double cab is that hand holders on the roof are not retractable, and potentially the source for a good bump on the head.

Comfort wise, the new Toyota Hilux of 2018 is second to none, with a number of useful adjustment for the steering wheel (a trait not many other utes have), and rear seat comfort and support.

Toyota Hilux 2018 Exterior Features

White extra Cab Toyota Hilux parked in Garage 2019 with Trayon Slide on Camper

On the outside, the Toyota Hilux 2018 models look basically the same to last year.

Alloy rims come with all models but the WorkMate. The SR5 and SR5+ come with larger wheels, more chrome and sidesteps. The SR and SR+ come with 17 Inch rims, while the SR5 and SR5+ come with 18 inch. And even if the 17s don’t look quite as good, they are actually easier to fit with off road tyres.

Even the WorkMate comes with humble 16 Inch rims, although not alloy.

All pick up versions come with a rear step up bumper, which is absent in trayback models (but we explain later in the article why tray backs provide the ultimate utility flexibility).

Toyota Hilux 2018 Engine Specs

The Toyota Hilux comes in both petrol and diesel versions.

The petrol, a 2.7 Litre four cylinder, comes in a five-speed manual or six speed auto. However it is only available in the entry level WorkMate model.

Diesel versions come in two engine sizes. A 2.4 Litre in the Workmate, and 2.8 Litre in the SR, SR+.SR5 and SR5+. All diesel models come with a turbo and diesel particulate filter.

Diesel versions have the choice of six speed manual or automatic, and rear wheel drive or four wheel drive.

Spec2.7L Petrol2.4L TDCi2.8L TDCi

For the purposes of off road Trayon travel, we are mainly interested in the 2.8L diesel option.

This is a downgrade from the previous 3L version which came with the old shape Toyota Hilux. The old but gutsy 3L D4D ran quite low turbo pressure. Now Toyota is running in excess of 24/25 PSI!

This change has produced great stats (albeit without a load, or towing anything). Under load, it’s a different story. We explain this further in the payload and towing sections.

Toyota Hilux 2018 Dimensions

The Toyota Hilux wheelbase is 3085 mm in length (from midpoint of the front wheel to midpoint of the rear wheel).

Its total length is between 5113 mm and 5426 mm, depending on which specific model. They’re 1855 in width (excluding mirrors) and 1795mm to 1810 mm in height, depending again on which configuration.

Toyota Hilux 2018 Driving Accessories

In terms of features and tech, the new Toyota Hilux of 2018 is in a lower category than the Ford Ranger. The Ranger is just about the most feature heavy 4×4 out these days. While this offers many great opportunities, electronic features can also be a burden when off roading.

Consequently, the Toyota Hilux actually doesn’t lose much in terms of electronic gadgets for off road suitability.

And it still come with electronic stability control.

What Safety Equipment and Ratings Come with a Hilux

In 2016 the Toyota Hilux scored a top five star ANCAP safety rating, and thus its safety format hasn’t been changed.

It comes with seven airbags in every model.

In addition to the electronic stability control, it comes with trailer sway control and a reverse camera (standard in pick up models, and an extra cost add on with tray backs).

Things like lane departure warnings, forward collision sensors and automatic emergency braking, which come with the Ford Ranger, are absent in the new Toyota Hilux of 2018.

New Toyota Hilux 2018 Driving Performance

The ride in a Toyota Hilux is a fine balance of modest comfort and sturdiness, with an honest work ready feel.

All Toyota Hilux models have a strong drive train. Pulling power is less than others like the Ford Ranger or Volkswagon Amarok, or Holden Colorado, but we will discuss this further in the towing section.

The manual versions have less pulling power than the auto options and are slightly less responsive in the ‘up and go’ department, but this is largely compensated for by a smart manual transmission feature, which removes some lagginess when downshifting, using rev matching technology.

Steering also feels slightly lighter than some other options out there, making the vehicle feel quite responsive and manoeuvrable.

New Toyota Hilux 2018 Weight and Payload Capacity

2016 Toyota Hilux Dual cab on rugged coastline camping with a Trayon Slide on Camper

While the Toyota Hilux isn’t the leader of the mid range four wheel drive market in terms of payload capacity, it does keep up with the pack.

The most capable variant is the single cab Workmate, with a payload of 1225kg. Moving up through the more luxurious models, payload capacity goes down, making way for the weight of more bells and whistles.

For example, the dual cab SR and SR5 have a payload capacity of 920 kg and 925 kg respectively.

Payload upgrades are explained further down in the section about Touring Australia.

New Toyota Hilux 2018 Towing Performance

Towing capacity is highly variable dependant on vehicle configuration, engine size and transmission.

It’s between 3 and 3.5 Tonnes across the range of models. At 3.5 T, the higher end towing capacity does match the current standard, although the pulling power, as previously mentioned, is slightly less than some competitors.

The decrease in size from the 3L turbo diesel to 2.8 means that towing anything will make the vehicle work quite hard.

New Toyota Hilux 2018 Fuel Efficiency

Naturally, fuel consumption is going to vary depending on which model and fuel type you choose.

Toyota claim that the diesel models will use around 7.2 to 7.3 Litres per 100 kilometres. That is unloaded, in a hypothetical world. This will most definitely rise drastically in the real world.

A more realistic, real world averaged figure, will be around 10+ litres per 100 kilometres, with the petrol version one or two litres more per 100 kilometres. When loaded up or towing, you’ll need to add a couple more litres per 100 kilometres to all variants.

You also have an eco-more and power up button to cater for different situations and needs, whether that’s long distance open road touring or off road responsiveness.

Bare in mind though, that because of the decreased engine size (in the diesel options), and increased turbo pressures, any kind of load can cause a huge rise in fuel consumption.

Most makes and models suffer the same issue, due to a decrease in engine sizes across the industry to try and lower emissions. However, it seems a bit counterproductive for those who need to make the vehicle work, where fuel consumption and thus emissions will go way up with a smaller engine running higher turbo pressures. The turbo is consequently under load the entire time.

For off roading and Trayon purposes, we would prefer a larger engine size that doesn’t have to work so hard, and can thus maintain consistently low emissions. The Volkswagen Amarok has gone down this route with its V6, and sales are skyrocketing. Plus, the onslaught of the Ford Ranger has also been helped by its 3.2L 5 cylinder option.

But the fuel efficiency/emissions reduction argument is a topic for another day.

New Toyota Hilux 2018 Off Road Capabilities

2015 Toyota Hilux crossing a desert road with a Trayon slide on camper

First of all, let’s talk stats.

The New Toyota Hilux 2018 has a ground clearance of 279 mm, a max wading depth of 700 mm, an approach angle of 31 degrees and departure angle of 26 degrees. All this makes it a more than capable off road machine.

A few extra perks make the new Toyota Hilux 2018 a real off road weapon. All models but the Workmate come with a rear differential lock. It has a turning circle of 12.6 metres, large for vehicles in general, but quite good for an ‘off road’ vehicle, making it feel nimble and manoeuvrable in the rough.

So yes, off road, the new Toyota Hilux of 2018 matches it with the best of the mid range four wheel drive pack.

Performance wise, the Toyota Hilux really shines on gravel roads. Its ability without question.

And while we are confident it will bring you to your destination (with proper off road driving to the conditions), it is yet to be tested in the long term.

And a side note about fitting a Hilux with off road tyres – you may need to think about wheel arch extensions.

New Toyota Hilux 2018 Configurations (Cab/Tray setup)

The Toyota Hilux comes in tray back and pick-up tub options. The Rugged, Rogue and Rugged X versions only come in the pick up tub option, so you will need to get a tray fitted (we explain why a tray is the best Outback option soon).

The Single Cab should have a dealer option for a 2400 or 2500 mm tray, which provides a heap of external storage space. However, there are also options to go up to a 2700 mm tray to maximise storage space behind the headboard.

Extra Cabs are best fitted with a 2100 mm dealer tray, but be careful that the dealer does not try and give you a 1950 mm stubby tray, as is often the case. Extra Cabs also provide the best cab space-to-tray space ratio. There is also aftermarket options to go to a 2250 mm tray, but you must go through Trayon for this upgrade.

The Double Cab will come with an 1800 mm tray. Also, when buying a DoubleCab, make sure the headboard is no higher than 890 mm (measured from the tray surface), so it doesn’t impede canopies, slide on campers or general loads which need to overhang the cab.

All Toyota Hilux trays should be either 1830 or 1880 mm in width (measured from the outside of the tray).

Tray Installation Tips

If you can’t get the tray you want through your Toyota dealer for the extra-cab, contact us at Trayon and we can organise a custom tray to be sent to and fitted at your Toyota dealer before you drive it out the door.

We don’t make the Genuine Trayon Tray here at the factory. We have an arrangement with a large, high quality tray manufacturer to build trays which are perfectly suited to a Trayon camper. We can then have it sent anywhere in the country (i.e. to be fitted at your specific Toyota/Vehicle Dealer).

If you’re planning to carry a Trayon camper with a new Toyota Hilux 2018, a Genuine Trayon Tray will help avoid hassles like:

  • Unsuitable tray length and width
  • Too much headboard height
  • Hook points in the way
  • Bad tray space usage (some tray manufacturers place the headboard on top of the tray load surface which pushes the camper back further on the vehicle’s wheelbase unnecessarily).
  • A lip on the tray’s back edge (some tray manufacturers include a pesky edge lip that rises up at the rear of the tray which can impede loads).

The Genuine Trayon Tray combats all of these issues.

Why is a Trayback More Practical than a Pick-up Tub?

A tub can severely limit what you can use the external storage space for.

A tub will also increase kerb weight, and reduce payload capacity. With an aluminium tray, you can carry more weight, and more awkward items that wouldn’t fit inside a tub. You can always fit sides to a tray to carry unstable loads like soil and green waste, but you can’t take the sides off a tub!

A tray will open up your canopy and camping options as well. When you store gear in a tray, rather than a tub, it provides the following advantages:

  • There is more surface area to spread the gear out in new toyota hilux, thus lowering the centre of gravity.
  • There is more space to distribute the load towards the centre of the vehicle (i.e. between the front and rear axles).
  • It results in a more stable and safe off road experience with Toyota.

For the same reason, canopies and slide on campers made to fit tray back utes, rather than pick up tubs, have better weight distribution, more space to fit in camping essentials, and provide an all round better off road rig.

For more information about which vehicle configuration is the best option for a Trayon camper (e.g. a single cab, extra cab, or double cab) check out our recent article about 4×4 touring setups.

Touring Australia in a New Toyota Hilux of 2018

Single Cab Toyota Hilux at beach, offroad camping setup with a Trayon Slide on Camper

The reputation for resilience and reliability is great for confidence while touring the Outback. But, the latest vehicle, with its smaller 2.8L diesel engine, has yet to be proven as a chip off the old models block.

All models have an 80L fuel tank, which is quite generous. But if your vehicle is under load, expect fuel consumption to skyrocket, and hence an auxiliary fuel tank should probably be added to ensure you can get long distances between fills.

In addition to all its touring advantages, we have a few extra tips which can help make the Toyota Hilux a complete touring package:

  1. Get an Aluminium tray.

As we previously explained. It has big implications for storage flexibility, payload capacity, and off road performance. These days Aluminium trays are super strong and much lighter than steel, so they don’t eat into your payload any more than necessary.

  1. Add an On-board diagnostics (OBD) link to your road trip tool kit.

Everyone’s old school tool kit simply involved zip ties (for things which are moving but shouldn’t be), and WD40 (for things which aren’t moving, but should be).

An OBD link adds an extra option to check and solve issues with electronics and computer chip related alerts.

These days, electronics can actually limit driving capability if they sense a problem. If the vehicle senses an issue, it can limit driving capacity and actually prevent you from quickly limping to get mechanical help. The OBD link, synced to your phone, can read the code sent out by the vehicle CPU and tell you what’s wrong.

Then you can use the old duck tape or WD40 to try and fix the issue and limp to a mechanic if you have too!

  1. Ask the Dealer to organise a GVM upgrade before it’s registered.

A GVM upgrade does not involve any serious vehicle modifications. It is simply a 4WD suspension upgrade, coupled with a certificate to say that the standard manufacturers payload limits have been increased to a certain amount.

For a Hulix, a GVM upgrade to the maximum of 3.5 Tonnes provides a number of benefits:

  • You can simply carry more gear.
  • You’re better prepared for unexpected circumstances while touring in the Outback (i.e. if you need to carry a mate’s gear as well). And
  • You can better cope better with the greater forces encountered while off road driving (particularly while towing or carrying heavy loads) with Toyota Hilux.

By doing this through the dealer and before first registration, it is considered a second stage dealer upgrade. This saves you money and also ensures it is legally certified at the same time.

Check out our recent article about 4WD suspension for more information.

Toyota Hilux Upgrades and Aftermarket Accessories

Genuine Toyota accessories are varied and widely available. They include everything from nudge bars to tub liners to internal carpet floor mats or dealer fitted rear parking sensors, plus almost every off road accessory you will ever need.

In addition, being one of the highest selling vehicles in Australia, and having so much dominance over fleet vehicle sales, the Toyota Hilux has a huge range of aftermarket accessories as well.

For example, companies like ARB, TJM and Opposite Lock will be able to provide three or four different bull bars because fleet companies will by bulk, and private will want something unique.

This applies to just about every other part of the vehicle, like nudge bars, snorkels, ladder racks, roof racks, utility boxes, tub and tailgate liners, rims, bumpers, engine upgrades, suspension upgrades and exhaust options.

The Ford Ranger’s onslaught has further spurred Toyota to provide additional options which they previously got away with avoiding. For example, an auto gear box option for the extra cab. Just last year they introduced this option, and it has really appealed to the over 55 age bracket, who don’t want to continuously dig around the gearbox. Plus, the auto is better in some off road conditions where you can’t afford to lose momentum (i.e. soft substrates like sand).

Toyota also use to refuse to add suicide doors to provide better access to their extra cab models. The Ranger included it, and now everyone, including Toyota, is following suit.

New Toyota Hilux Warranty

Toyota Hilux dual cab on sandy desert road in Australia with Trayon Slide on camper

The basic Toyota warranty is three years or 100,000 kilometers. That’s pretty short considering the Toyota Hilux’s grand reputation for reliability. But, the high resale value you get with the brand makes up for any warranty shortcomings.

Off Road Warranty Implications

Driving a Toyota Hilux off road will not impact warranty itself, but be aware that warranty only applies to factory defects (in materials or workmanship). So if you incur damage as a result of reckless driving, extreme weather, or any other accidental damage, you’re unlikely to find support through the vehicles warranty.

That’s where your insurance should come in! So, as with any vehicle purchase, make sure you find the right provider who can cover you for the type of driving you will be doing.

New Toyota Hilux Value for Money

As of writing this post, the entry level 4×4 workmate starts at $39,419, and the top shelf Rugged X caps out at $61,690.

Toyota have been charging more than its competitors for decades, thanks to its reputation. Some consider them overpriced, while others think you get what you pay for.

The New Toyota Hilux 2018 Conclusions

New Toyota Hilux 2018 - White Dual Cab with Aluminium Front Bar and Alloy wheels and snorkle. Offroad camper by Trayon Ute Campers

While the New Toyota Hilux comes from strong stock, there are too many variables to recommend them at the moment.

The new 2.8L diesel also makes us cautious. We don’t think Australia wants these for Outback travel and touring. We want 3L or bigger, providing low down torque to basically idle down the highway. We are all for improving efficiency, but we don’t like to see performance, and potentially longevity sacrificed.

The new Toyota Hilux has to prove itself. They need to be run for 500,000, through the Outback time and time again.

So only time will tell if they hold up to the heritage. The Toyota’s of the 80s, up to around 2003, were the ones that gave it the name and the reputation. Unbreakable. And the 2018, 2019 and 2020 range is still yet to be put through its paces. With the huge variety of worthy competitors now available, you have plenty to choose from with similar specs.

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