By Mike Torpey on 2016-11-27 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Double Cab Auto
YOU wouldn't think there could be much, if anything, wrong with a pick-up that's dominated the world market for close to 50 years.
One that's notched global sales exceeding 18 million, sold 34,000 in Europe last year and in the UK is protected by a five-year/100,000-mile warranty.
A vehicle that's conquered the North Pole and Antarctica, traversed the slopes of live volvanoes and claimed podium finishes in the gruelling Dakar rally-raid.
But Toyota, maker of Europe's best selling pick-up, wasn't prepared to leave anything to chance ahead of developing the eighth generation of the Hilux.
It is a vehicle sold in no less than 172 countries, and its chief engineer Hiroki Nakajima visited 110 of them in his quest to learn first-hand from real users and witness for himself the conditions in which the Hilux was being driven.
The result was a feeling that this king of the pick-ups had lost some of its toughness - at least in the area of comfort and safety, rather than technical durability.
So a special focus was placed on ensuring that the new model, which hit UK streets this summer, surpassed its predecessor in every sense.
In particular, Nakajima felt that the Hilux seemed like a commercial vehicle, and didn't convey a sense of passion.
The result is an offering that not only boasts a stronger chassis, improved all-wheel drive and a greater towing capacity (up to 3.5 tonnes) but embraces the needs of a family and its leisure activities.
And that means more comfort, advanced kit and improved safety - stuff like a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, road sign assist and active traction control.
There are three versions of the Hilux up for grabs in the shape of a two-seater Single Cab, a four-seat Extra Cab with rear seats really only for occasional use and a five-seater Double Cab plus a quartet of trim levels - Active, Icon, Invincible and Invincible X.
The tested and spacious Double Cab makes the most sense, especially for family use, and in Invincible grade it also comes with a raft of goodies.
All Hilux models are now powered by a 148bhp 2.4-litre diesel engine that's more economical than the 3.0-litre unit it has replaced and while there's some clatter at start-up, once up to speed the Toyota is both smooth and relatively quiet.
Both acceleration and cruising speed is impressive for such a large vehicle, one that you wouldn't expect to return 36.2 miles per gallon, and of course it also has four-wheel drive for when you need to venture further off-road than the supermarket car park.
Another advantage of the Invincible is that it features a rear-view camera - essential for a long vehicle with pick-up bed.
Useful additions like a hardtop, lockable aluminium roller covers and hard tonneau covers, with or without high over bars, are optional extras.
Toyota Hilux Invincible 2.4 Double Cab Auto
Mechanical: 148bhp, 2,393cc D-4D diesel engine driving four wheels via 6-speed auto transmission
Max Speed: 106mph
0-62mph: 12.8 seconds
Combined MPG: 36.2
Insurance Group: N/A
C02 emissions: 204g/km
Bik rating: 37%
Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles
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