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Reader test: Toyota Hilux

2009-09-14 13:00

Corné du Toit

Recently, I found myself in the market for a bigger vehicle as the boot of our VW Polo just couldn’t cope with the demands of a newly acquired pram, camping cot and the multitude of paraphernalia associated with having a new baby.

Having grown up around Hilux bakkies, I’ve always aspired to own a brand new model myself but budget constraints allowed me to only search in the used vehicle market.

I had a very specific idea of what I wanted and after quite some time searching and test-driving many bakkies, I finally settled on the magnificent vehicle you see in the pictures today: a 2007 model 3.0 D-4D Raider Double Cab, purchased with only 58 000 km on the odometer.

I opted for the additional two year mechanical warranty from the Toyota dealership, which brought the final purchase price to a hefty R229 500. The vehicle does however come standard with a five-year/90 000km service plan and the excellent resale value softens the blow somewhat.

Under the bonnet you will find a very impressive 3.0 litre, four cylinder diesel engine, developing 120 kW and 343 Nm of torque, providing more than enough power under your right foot when needed.

Pleasant around town

The ride quality is a pleasant departure from the bone-rattling ride of previous Hilux bakkies, although still on the firm side when you have no load in the back. My wife mostly uses the vehicle during the week and finds it a breeze to handle in daily urban traffic. The added ride height is also an advantage on the road.

Fuel economy is good considering the size of the vehicle, with a figure of more or less 10.5 l/100 km in city traffic. You can expect better economy on the open road at a steady 120 km/h.

While bakkies are not renowned for their looks, in my opinion the Hilux is prettier than most other rivals. Exterior wise, it’s fitted with a roll bar and tow bar. I am considering adding a canopy (the Carryboy from SA Canopy Centre would be my choice) for the seemingly endless baby accessories mentioned above. The fact that you can open the tailgate without having to remove the tonneau cover first is also a very handy feature.

The interior of the vehicle is much more car-like compared to older versions, with mine sporting optional grey leather seats and custom black carpets. Space in the rear is also quite impressive, with more than enough legroom for adult passengers.

Not bad off road

The vehicle rides on the standard 255/70 R15 Bridgestone Dueler tyres, which copes well with everyday road conditions. However, in wet weather they tend to lose grip rather easily and the ABS kicks in very quickly under harsh braking or when things get a little slippery.

Keeping in mind that this is the 4X2 model, I was very impressed with the vehicle’s off-road capability on a recent trip to a trout farm in Dullstroom. The standard rear differential lock works a charm and small streams and muddy slopes proved no match for the Hilux. For serious stuff, however, low range 4X4 remains a necessity.

We’ve driven 6 000 stress-free kilometres so far and found the vehicle to be ideally suited to a routine of urban workhorse in the week and family leisure cruiser on weekends, confirming the popularity of the plethora of double cab bakkies you see on our roads nowadays. 

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