Review: Toyota Hilux (2005 – 2015)

Rating:

Tight turning circle for a pick-up, good quality and strong cabin build, double Cab has seating for three in the back.

Engines are strong but often need to be worked hard, firm ride especially when running light, Interior trim of new models don’t wear as well as earlier Hilux models.

Recently Added To This Review

19 February 2015 Runout top-of-the-range model Toyota Hilux Invincible launched

Priced at £23,842 + VAT for the manual and £24,842 for the automatic. Has all the features of the Invincible plus multiple new styling options - all included in the vehicle price. These... Read more

15 July 2011 Facelifted Hilux announced

The Hilux was restyled with an all-new front end for 2012 model year, new interior styling to create a more car-like environment and the introduction of Toyota Touch with touchscreen multimedia unit,... Read more

7 December 2009 Hilux revised for 2010

Toyota revised the 2.5 D-4D engine, the core power unit in the Hilux range, to produce significantly more power and extra torque. Maximum output has increased from 120PS to 144PS, a rise of 20 per cent.... Read more

Toyota Hilux (2005 – 2015): At A Glance

The Toyota Hilux is as much a byword for pick-up trucks as the Ford Transit is for panel vans. This has come about by the Hilux seemingly having been on sale since Noah needed to nip down to the timber merchant’s, but it’s also based on unerring reliability and rugged construction.

The current, and sixth, generation of Hilux continues these traditions and comes in the expected single cab, Extra Cab with additional rear sets and the more spacious Double Cab for crews. With more sumptuous interior fittings and comfort, the top spec Double Cab models are also popular with leisure users for towing.

With payloads in the pick-up bed ranging from 860kg to 1100kg, the Hilux can cope with most needs. It can also tow up to 2500kg with a braked trailer, so it’s ideal for pulling a horsebox or trailer, though some might find this limit too low to allow for safe limits.

There’s no faulting the engines in the Hilux, though. They come in turbodiesel 2.5-litre and 3.0-litre forms with bags of power, smooth delivery and affordable running costs. The Hilux also comes with selectable four-wheel drive for all versions sold in the UK.

 

Used Buying Guide - Toyota Hilux

The toughest toy in town, or anywhere else, the Toyota’s Hilux has an invincible reputation, with strong engines and reliability. But what should you look out for when buying used?  

Read the buying guide here >>

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What does a Toyota Hilux (2005 – 2015) cost?

List Price from £19,503 +VAT
Buy new from £19,395 +VAT
Contract hire from £197.00 +VAT pm
Lease from £204.00 +VAT pm

Toyota Hilux (2005 – 2015): What's It Like Inside?

If the Toyota Hilux loses out to some newer rivals when it comes to driving, it still competes head on with them for the quality and construction of its cabin. Everything has a solid feel and it helps the Hilux continue to find buyers to this day. With 20,000-mile service intervals and a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty too, the Hilux should be a dependable friend. This is borne out by the tiny number of recalls the Toyota has been subject to since its launch in 2005, which further instils confidence in its robust nature.

However, the toughness of the Hilux doesn’t offset the driving position will not suit everyone. The seat itself is comfortable and supportive, but it doesn’t adjust for height and the steering wheel only moves a small amount for height but not for reach. This means driving position is compromised for some drivers, so be sure to try it out on an extended test drive to be sure you can get comfy.

The view all round is good in the Hilux, whether you choose the Single, Extra or Double Cab models. Each model has the same dash design and layout, so there are sturdy, large dials for the heating, clear instruments and easy to use column stalks, even if you’re wearing gloves. There are also plenty of air vents to help cool or warm the cabin, and the driver has plenty of cubbies, tray and boxes arrayed around him to keep small and larger items safely stored.

For the passenger, comfort is good and the Hilux comes with driver and passenger airbags, though only the Invincible model has curtain ’bags. That’s about it for the two-seat Single Cab model, but the Extra Cab has two small rear seats that are just about able to cope with adults for short hop journeys. They are cramped, though, so if you intend to carry more than just one passenger on a regular basis, the Double Cab is by far the better choice of Hilux.

The Double Cab has seating for three in the back and can accommodate adults with reasonable comfort. A disappointment is the centre seat makes do with only a lap belt where the outer two seats have three-point seat belts. Clawing back some goodwill for the Toyota is the large storage bin under the rear bench that is easily accessed by flipping up the seat base to offer some secure storage inside the cab.

For the pick-up bed, the rear tailgate can be locked separately from the cab and folds down through 90-degrees to sit flush with the load bed. A lockable roller cover can be added as an option to further secure the load area and Toyota also offers rear load canopies. Securing hooks help keep loads from moving around, while the Hilux can cope with loads of up to 1060kg in weight and 2340mm in length depending on which model you choose.

What's the Toyota Hilux (2005 – 2015) like to drive?

Toyota Hilux buyers have the choice of two turbodiesel engines. They are both four cylinder units and they come in 2.5-litre and 3.0-litre versions. The 2.5-litre is the more common unit and has 144PS on tap at 3400rpm, with a hefty 343Nm of shove but delivered at quite a giddy 2800rpm that means you need to work the Toyota’s engine a bit harder than feels necessary or desirable at times.

If you think moving to the 3.0-litre turbodiesel will cure this peccadillo, think again as the larger engine may offer more power at 171PS, but it is delivered at 3600rpm. As for the shove that is needed to get the substantial two tonne weight of the Hilux moving, it comes in at the same 343Nm but at 3400rpm in the 3.0-litre engine. This is a real surprise given Toyota’s usual eye for detail with its vehicles.

More importantly, it means you often have to rev the Hilux’s engines harder than you’d like to get the best from them. Yes, they are smooth and happier to rev than most of its rivals’ but it doesn’t mitigate much of the noise you are subjected to when driving in this fashion.

In town, on the ring road or in the country, the Hilux’s engines are a constant aural companion, and not a very welcome one. This is a big black mark against what is an otherwise decent pick-up to drive, though there is also plenty of wind and road noise to be heard at higher speeds too.

To go in the plus column, the Hilux offers a good view all round from the driver’s seat, the steering is decently light when parking and the turning circle is on a par with the best in class. There is also the minimal lean in corners that means driver and passengers are not thrown from side to side as if they were strapped in to a fairground ride. Throw in the Toyota’s excellent off-road credentials when the four-wheel drive system is engaged, which comes with a limited slip and locking rear differential in the HL2 and HL3 models. The top spec 3.0-litre Invincible can also be ordered with a five-speed automatic gearbox in place of the usual five-speed manual that has a slow but accurate shift action.

In the debit column, unfortunately, the Hilux has a couple of notable entries alongside its poor refinement. First up is the firm ride. While this eases up if you have a heavier load in the pick-up bed, it’s just too harsh and crashy when running light and makes the Hilux less than comfortable on any type of road surface. This also leads to the rear wheels spinning up too readily when pulling out of junctions or taking roundabouts at anything above a snail’s pace.

The other downside of the Hilux is the handling trails some way behind the class leaders. Where the Ford Ranger and Isuzu D-Max feel composed and poised, the Hilux seems to be on its tip-toes the whole time, teetering round corners when it would rather be cruising in a straight line.

Real MPG average for a Toyota Hilux (2005 – 2015)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their vehicles could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

84%

Real MPG

23–36 mpg

MPGs submitted

55

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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