TOYOTA HILUX SR5 JOINS THE 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.