4 x 4 Australia - - 4x4 Shed -

WE wel­come this shiny blue Hilux SR5 dou­ble-cab to the 4x4 shed. Due to stay with us for three months, Toy­ota Aus­tralia loaded it up with fac­tory ac­ces­sories for our use. The ex­tras in­clude the gen­uine Aus­tralian-made steel bull­bar, Hella driv­ing lights, fac­tory snorkel, rubber floor mats, a hard deck lid, tow bar and Redarc brake con­troller, and a clever roller slide in the bed to make load­ing and un­load­ing your gear eas­ier.

The lat­est Hilux rep­re­sents a big im­prove­ment over the pre­vi­ous model, so we were keen to hit the road with it. A past drive along the Hume in an au­to­matic Hilux had us crit­i­cise the trans­mis­sion as it was al­ways hunt­ing – shift­ing be­tween the two over­drive gears, fifth and sixth, at high­way cruising speed.

This car has the sixspeed man­ual gear­box and we wanted to see how it per­formed, so we drove it straight up the high­way to NSW to tag along on the Ford ver­sus Holden ute test fea­tured on page 54 in this is­sue. As ex­pected, the stick­shift car holds top gear with ease with cruise con­trol on, and there were only a cou­ple of large hills that caused it to lose 5-8km/h.

An­other great fea­ture with the man­ual Hilux is In­tel­li­gent Man­ual Trans­mis­sion mode (IMT), which, when ac­ti­vated, matches the en­gine revs to road speed when down­shift­ing for smoother, eas­ier gear shift­ing. It’s do­ing the hee­land-toe thing for you, and we’d like to see it ac­tive all the time and not have to press the IMT but­ton ev­ery time we start the car. I guess there’s prob­a­bly a small fuel sav­ing to be had by not blip­ping the throt­tle be­tween down­shifts.

The hill-start holder also makes sense with the man­ual, as it’s al­ways easy to take off on a slope. Equipped as such, the man­ual gear­box is the trans­mis­sion of choice for the Hilux; cer­tainly if you’re not do­ing much city driv­ing, but even that’s a breeze.

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