Review: Toyota Hilux (2015)
Excellent 2.8-litre engine. Large and useable load bay. Impressive off-road. Wide choice of body styles. 3.5 tonne towing capacity.
The most desirable models are expensive. Still feels like a truck rather than an SUV.
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Toyota Hilux (2015): At A Glance
- On average it achieves 83% of the official MPG figure
The Toyota Hilux has a strong reputation for indestructibility which has made it very popular with builders, forest workers and other professionals who need a vehicle that they can depend on. With the latest Hilux, though, Toyota wanted to expand its customer base to include more lifestyle buyers – those who want a more car-like driving experience and a slightly blingier image.
That's why the Toyota Hilux has been gentrified somewhat, with improved ride comfort and generous equipment levels – particularly on the priciest models. This isn't unusual in the world of pick-up trucks – vehicles like the Isuzu D-Max, Ford Ranger and SsangYong Musso all take a similar approach, so how does the Hilux stack up?
Well, for a start, buyers get the choice of two engines. The Hilux was initially offered with just a 2.4-litre D4-D with a slightly underwhelming 150PS, which meant it wasn't the punchiest unit on the market. A hefty 400Nm staved off any embarrassment towing a fully-loaded trailer out of a field, but it lacked refinement, particularly if you dared venture into the outside lane of a motorway.
The range expanded in 2020 with the addition of a 2.8-litre turbodiesel. With 204PS and up to 500Nm of torque (420Nm with the manual gearbox), this makes light work out of pretty much any driving scenario. It's seriously grunty with plenty of get-up-and-go, and will provide the kind of acceleration expected from anyone trading in a diesel SUV.
No matter which engine you choose, the Toyota Hilux can officially tow a braked trailer weighing up to 3500kg (note that business users might need to fit a tachograph to take full advantage of this). Payloads vary from 1000kg - 1030kg, depending on which body style and trim level you choose.
All Toyota Hilux models are four-wheel drive with a locking rear differential (automatic on Icon, Invincible and Invincible X trim levels), contributing to the kind of excellent off-road ability you'd expect from a Toyota pick-up truck. There's also low ratio gearing on hand to help with low speed manoeuvring, while an automatic braking system helps to moderate your speed when tackling steep off-road descents.
On the road, the Hilux's ride can get quite bumpy. It lacks the low-speed composure of the Navara and Volkswagen Amarok, which means potholes and speed bumps produce lots of body movement. Things improve at motorway speeds, with a calmer ride that feels predictable and comfortable, but the Hilux will never rival family SUVs for ride quality. That said, the Hilux is easy enough to drive and - even in rear-wheel drive mode - has plenty of grip in the corners.
Robust and hugely capable off-road, the Toyota Hilux is a rugged pick-up truck in a rapidly shrinking market. Whether you're looking for a tough workhorse or family transport that can take you anywhere, the Toyota's wide choice of body styles and trim levels mean there's a Hilux to suit every buyer.
Driven - Toyota Hilux
Range-topping Hilux Invincible X takes aim at the Nissan Navara and Volkswagen Amarok with higher spec and updated styling. Will it be good enough to topple its rivals?
What does a Toyota Hilux (2015) cost?
Toyota Hilux (2015): What's It Like Inside?
Few workhorses are as tough or as capable as the Hilux. Backed by Toyota's proven four-wheel drive know how, the Hilux will make short work of wintry roads or off-road conditions. All versions get four-wheel drive as standard, while low ratio gearing and a lockable rear diff will allow the Hilux to cope with everything from muddy fields to snowy conditions.
Double cab versions offer the best balance between work and family practicality. The interior is large and comfortable, with plenty of head and legroom for up to four adults. There is also lots of storage, with deep door bins and two lockable gloveboxes. Air conditioning is standard across the range, while high spec models get automatic climate control, DAB, rear-view camera and a colour touchscreen.
The Hilux runs in rear-wheel drive as standard, but can be switched into four-wheel drive by a simple rotary dial. The system can be activated up to speeds of 30mph and takes seconds to operate. Low-ratio gears are also available for heavy duty off-roading, although the vehicle has to be brought to a halt for this.
The Hilux can be specified in three body styles - single cab, extra cab, double cab – but only those in need of a basic load carrier will want the two-seater single cab. The extra cab is technically a four-seater, but the lack of legroom in the back makes it only ever suitable for taking the kids to school. Most buyers will opt for the double cab, which will easily carry four large adults in comfort, with acres of head and legroom.
Depending on which version you choose, the Hilux will carry payloads of 1000kg - 1030kg. Double cab models boast one of the largest load beds of any double cab pick-up, stretching 1525mm in length and 1645mm in width. Single cab versions will take a considerable 2315mm in length.
Accessing the load area is easy, with a wide opening, although the fold-down tailgate is heavy and has a tendency to crash open if you click the handle and release it. But load tie hooks are plentiful and Toyota also offers a huge choice of load bed covers and protectors.
Like many pick-ups, the Hilux will tow up to 3.5 tonnes when hooked to a braked trailer. A trailer sway control system is fitted as standard and will apply braking and control engine power to prevent a braked trailer from becoming uncontrollable in high winds or on poor roads.
What's the Toyota Hilux (2015) like to drive?
Like many modern pick-ups, the Toyota Hilux is built on a ladder chassis and uses leaf sprung rear suspension, which makes it well-suited for carrying heavy loads. The trade off, however, is that the ride can get extremely bumpy. Especially so when the vehicle isn't carrying anything in the back.
As a result it can get uncomfortable at low speeds and is prone to crashing over potholes and speed bumps. Corners also present a challenge, with lots of bodyroll. That said, the Hilux is easy enough to drive and a good motorway companion, with the ride settling down to a smooth and composed ride. There is plenty of grip in the corners, even in rear-wheel drive mode.
The interior boasts plenty of all-round visibility with electric door mirrors fitted as standard. The driver's seat has lots of adjustment while the reach and rake steering makes it easy to get a comfortable position. Obviously, owing to the fact the Hilux is 5.3 metres long it can be tricky to park. Thankfully most models get a rearview camera as standard, which makes it simple to park without scraping a bumper.
The 2.4 D-4D diesel engine is not particularly refined. There's lots of clatter at start-up and it tends to get quite vocal under hard acceleration. There is plenty of torque though - 400Nm from just 1600rpm - which gives high levels of mid-gear acceleration, making it great for towing up to 3.5 tonnes when hooked up to a braked trailer.
If your budget will stretch to it, a 2.8-litre Hilux (introduced in 2020) is a much better option. As we mentioned in the intro the this review, the bigger-capacity engine produces 204PS and up to 500Nm of torque (providing you opt for the automatic gearbox), which takes a great deal of strain out of most driving situations.
Off-road, the Hilux is brilliant. It will easily keep up with a Land Rover Defender on a muddy field or wintery farm track. The four-wheel drive system is easy to understand and can be activated in a matter of seconds while on the move.
As well as all-wheel drive, the Hilux gets a lockable rear diff and a host of electronic driving aids, including hill hold assist and an automatic braking function. This allows the Hilux to control its speeds when tackling steep off-road descents. It will also work in reverse, which means you can safely retrace your steps if you have found an off-road hill to be a bit too steep...
Real MPG average for a Toyota Hilux (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.
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.
What do owners think?
Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.
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