WITH a reputation for being indestructible and a journey log that includes erupting Icelandic volcanoes and treks across the wastes of Antarctica to the South Pole, the Toyota Hilux is a stalwart among pick-ups.
Since 1968 it has been carving out a rugged path for itself as the toughest truck on the market and has notched up an incredible 18 million sales worldwide - not to mention considerable success in the Dakar rally, the most extreme motorsport event on the planet.
The Hilux has an undoubted formula so when it comes to creating a new one Toyota has stuck to basics such as using a ladder chassis for absolute rigidity and blending in just the right amount of off-road technology.
Across the globe the Hilux will be used to encounter some of the worst conditions imaginable so the latest version comes with an uprated braking and traction system which can hold it on the steepest of slopes, switchable four-wheel-drive in either high or low ratio gears and sufficient grunt to pull its two-tonne frame over virtually anything.
For the new Hilux Toyota has substituted the 3.0-litre diesel of the previous generation for its latest 2.4-litre oil burner which although smaller in capacity has much more pulling power - 400Nm to be precise, up from 343Nm.
The new D-4D engine develops 148bhp and it's available either with a six-speed manual or auto gearbox priced from Â£19,177 or Â£24,363 respectively - excluding VAT.
We have just tried out a couple of automatics both on and off-road with five seat, double cab bodies and in high grade Invincible trim which ups the price to £26,173.
In general use it moves well and can accelerate 0 to 60 in 12.8 seconds - quicker than the manual - with a top end of 106mph.
It also proved exceptionally economical and at one point on our road run the trip computer was showing an average in excess of Toyota's claimed 36.2mpg.
Overall, the Hilux auto returned 34 to the gallon which was a top level performance for a truck of such proportions. Emissions are rated at 204g/km with the manual coming in at 185g/km which equates to 40.4mpg.
Despite being fitted with heavy duty wheels the Hilux cabin was exceptionally quiet and that is down to very effective noise insulation.
The Invincible is double cab only and the refinement is very car-like. A tablet style touchscreen, sat nav, a reversing camera and even a 220-volt power socket were fitted.
Convenience touches include a double glovebox (lockable and coolable), door pockets all round, a sun glasses holder and a vanity mirror on the passenger sun visor making this a pick-up for all the family.
The double cab is a proper five seater and roomy inside while the load bed behind is more than 1.5metres square and the Hilux has a maximum towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes.
If needs be, the rear seats can be folded up to create additional stowage in the back of the cab.
For a large pick-up the Hilux feels on the lively side and the can drive be switched into a power mode which is ideal for motorway work. There's also an eco setting, more suited for town driving.
Off road the Hilux showed a purposeful streak on rough tracks, muddy slopes and wading through a good 18-inches of water.
Hill descent controls hold the vehicle in check well and all versions of the new model are fitted with a lockable rear differential for when the going gets really tough.
The Hilux remains a grade one workhorse and still looks the part, decked out with chrome tubular running boards and brightwork front and rear - garnish which is now de rigueur in the truck market.
On top of that Toyota has extended its five year/100,000 mile warranty from its car range to include the new Hilux - another feature which will go down well when it comes to the pick-up parade.