Ten Point Test

Auto Trader Ten Point Test rating: 76%

The Toyota Hilux is the car BBC’s Top Gear simply couldn’t kill, despite attempts at death by crashing, drowning and crushing. And it was the truck of choice for their world record-breaking drive to the North Pole.

This, the sixth generation Hilux has been revised for 2007, with new engines, specification and styling. We spent a week behind the wheel of one.

1. Looks 7/10

Pick up trucks aren’t generally bought on the basis of looks, although there are plenty of private buyers who love their rugged charms. Unlike some pick ups, the Hilux looks enormous, with proportions approaching some of the gargantuan trucks from America. Although we drove the top-of-the-range Invincible model, which has plenty of extra bling, all models (apart from the basic Single Cab) have body coloured bits. The Double Cab and Invincible both come with a set of 16-inch alloy wheels, which look tiny compared to the truck’s girth.

2. Looks inside 7/10

Toyota may have raised its game with the handsome cabin found in the Auris, but the Hilux interior is still substance over style. That’s not to say it’s unpleasant; in fact the Hilux better but there’s still acres of grey plastic. However, the materials look tough enough to cope with the roughest of treatment. There’s plenty of storage spaces and the velour seats were comfortable and appeared to be of the same quality as the rest of the cabin.

3. Practicality 8/10

This generation of Hilux has been designed to be “one size up” from the previous model, according to Toyota. That means more road presence and interior space. But crucially, the load deck has grown in size, with 25 per cent more capacity than its predecessor. The exact length of the load deck is dependant on the vehicle’s configuration; the two-door Single Cab’s deck is 2,315mm long, the two-door Extra Cab 1,805mm and the four-door Double Cab and Invincible 1,520mm. The Single Cab is 1,520mm wide, with the Extra Cab and Double Cab 5mm narrower.

4. Ride and Handling 7/10

The Hilux is a big pick up truck, and as such doesn’t offer car-like, or even SUV-like, handling. It’s vastly improved over previous pick ups, but still remains difficult to park with its load deck hidden beneath the rear window, even if the huge mirrors offer good visibility. Care must be taken in the wet in two-wheel drive mode because a lack of weight over the rear wheels means the rear can break free under cornering. Engine and road noise is minimal for a commercial vehicle.

5. Performance 7/10

The Toyota Hilux isn’t designed to be a fast vehicle, but is easily capable of keeping up with fast moving traffic. Zero to 62mph times vary between 15.2 and 11.9 seconds, depending on chassis configuration or engine and gearbox choice. Likewise, top speeds are between 96 and 109mph. The 3-litre version we tested offers 169bhp and an impressive 252lb/ft of pulling power, while the smaller 2.5-litre produces 118bhp and 239lb/ft of pulling power. Our test car was equipped with a four-speed automatic, although a five-speed manual is also available.

6. Running Costs 7/10

As the Hilux is a commercial vehicle, those entitled to claim back VAT can do so, meaning the range-topping Hilux can be bought for less than £20,000, opposed to the full, VAT-inclusive price of just over £24,000. And once bought, the Hilux should be fairly cheap to run. Toyota claims average fuel consumption figures between 30.1mpg (Double Cab Invincible Auto) to 37.7mpg (2.5 Single Cab), and say it’s simple to work on, meaning it will spend less time in the garage being serviced; which is helpful as service intervals are frequent at each 10,000 miles.

7. Reliability 10/10

The Toyota Hilux has a well-deserved reputation for being built to last. Regular viewers of Top Gear will have been them driving to the North Pole and trying – unsuccessfully – to destroy one.

8. Safety 7/10

Central to the Hilux’s safety credentials is its ladder-frame chassis which Toyota claim is 45 per cent stiffer than the previous model. Standard features across the range include driver and passenger airbags, ABS and a collapsible steering column. As the Hilux is a commercial vehicle, there are no EuroNCAP crash test results, but the Hilux lacks the comprehensive range of airbags and stability control systems which feature as standard on most SUVs.

9. Equipment 8/10

Equipment levels across the range vary significantly, with the more focused commercial vehicles coming with only the basics. That means a CD player, electric windows, fuel heater and air-con as standard. The range-topping Invincible model we tested has a more impressive spec sheet, including cruise control (auto only), tinted glass, electric mirrors, sat-nav, leather steering wheel, body-coloured front and chrome rear bumpers, chrome wing mirrors, door handles and grille, front fog lamps, tubular side steps and alloy wheels.

10. X-Factor 8/10

Big and butch, the Toyota Hilux is a giant among pick up trucks. Toyota’s Tonka toy also displays decent driving manners and is remarkably comfortable too.

Key facts

Model tested: Toyota Hilux Invincible 3.0 Auto
On the road price: £19,975 +VAT
Price range: £12,175 – £19,975 +VAT
Date tested: August 2007
Road tester: Stuart Milne