Unbreakable Hilux

wins hearts and

minds

Toyota Hilux, front quarter
Toyota Hilux, interior
Toyota Hilux, front quarter
Toyota Hilux, interior
Toyota Hilux, driving
Toyota Hilux, deck
Toyota Hilux, front quarter
Toyota Hilux, front
Toyota Hilux, profile
Toyota Hilux, rear quarter
Toyota Hilux, front
Toyota Hilux, side
Toyota Hilux, side
Toyota Hilux, rear
Toyota Hilux, rear
Toyota Hilux, interior

ANYONE who has experienced Hilux love, lived together as man and pick-up, knows the pain of that final goodbye.

It's like the day a countryman faces throwing a handful of biscuits into a pit by a favourite stretch of river, saying farewell to a faithful Labrador, a working companion which has retrieved, waded, swum and damaged itself without question.

They say when an old cricketer leaves the crease you never know whether he's gone and the evening news is scoured for a glimpse of it in 4x4 afterlife, done up as a mobile gun emplacement in some dusty eastern sandpit.

The Toyota Hilux has long been the benchmark for pick-ups. I am not saying always the best but the truck against which all others are judged. From the outback to the inside leg of a line dancer it has been measured for everything from sheep farming to the male mid-life crisis.

You can tow a boat, support your local shoot and even put on a big hat and pretend your significant other is Taylor Swift. Or a village person.

An alter ego as Lawrence of suburbia is not beyond the bounds of bed linen.

Whatever else you will not do is break it. I had one for 15 years and all it ever needed were two exhausts and some tyres.

The possibility was, however, that it could break you. The last massive three-litre diesel lump had a horses thirst for little negligible effect other than to boost torque.

Important as that may be in a working environment there are other ways to get it. Enter the latest ‘lux, 2.4-litres, 400Nm of torque and a possible fuel average of 40mpg.Tax is £230.

Obviously this means it is as slow as a two-legged cow but you hardly paid your £29,000for a love of speed.

Likes tracks though, especially as rutted as randy stags up a one-way glen.

The D-4D 148bhp six-speed manual rumbles to 62mph in 13.2 seconds and the top speed of 106mph is not exactly intercontinental.

No, there is much more to it than that. The latest version has been beefed up with a new ladder chassis claimed to be 20 per cent stronger.

It is longer and wider than the previous seven generations with an increased towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes.

What you learn as a result is modern car parking spaces' limitations so expect to feature on Shame A Driver.

Off-road improvements include a locking rear differential. Towing is helped by trailer sway control but I seem to recall that was also available on the three-litre.

So, what happens when you take it bare-back riding? Nothing much to get excited about. Which is the whole idea. Loads of ground clearance good angles and undefeatable traction.

On the road the Hilux is far from unrefined although retaining the traditional leaf springs brings a bit of rock and roll with it.

Inside you could be driving an Auris. In double-cab Invincible spec there are the expected electricals, no sat nav but cruise control, rear camera, climate control, remote locking and phone and USB connectivity, even a cooled glovebox for roadkill.

As double-cabs go it is well appointed and practical with a tip-up rear seat. The truth is a boudoir interior is not what most are buying for, it's the sheer ability of the beast.

Encouraged by tax breaks for commercials everyone is keen to market a pick-up. The other reason being how much of a style statement they have become. Is the Hilux the one to buy?

Well, it is carries more than a Navara or L200 but the Mitsubishi is probably best respected on road. For sheer novelty value the radical design of a fully tarted-up Fiat Fullback may appeal.

But for anyone who ever clutched a picture to their chest of a much-missed pal in the field it has to be a ‘lux.

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