TOUGH, TRUE WORKMATE
An honest job for excellent value cannot be beaten, JOSHUA DOWLING writes
WANT proof the Australian economy is powering? Most buyers of Toyota HiLux ute are choosing top-of-therange SR5 that stretches beyond $60,000 by time it’s in traffic.
That’s why there red hot deals on the Workmate and SR double cab 4WD models from $41,990 drive-away, up to $6600 off.
Buyers chasing a bit more chrome and some extra creature comforts are overlooking these affordable models, which are distinguished by love-em-or-hate-em black steel wheels.
Having tested the Workmate, the cheapest HiLux dual-cab 4WD, I can’t figure out why you need one with works. Especially at current price, a shade under $42K until end of June.
The version we tested, the auto at $43,990 drive-away (add $550 for metallic paint), is a big head start on the full RRP of $50,664 drive-away.
Unlike SR and SR5, with 2.8litre turbo diesel power, Workmate has 2.4-litre but gets the same suspension, underbody protection, upgraded brakes, seven airbags, stability control and rear camera as the dearer models.
Towing capability is down only slightly: 3000kg versus 3200kg for the SR and SR5 auto.
The Workmate’s payload beats
brethren: 955kg versus 920kg on the SR and 925kg the SR5.
Other differences: Workmate has a vinyl floor, cloth seats and an auto-up driver’s window. The SR gains (in addition to 2.8-litre diesel) a painted front bumper, height adjustable seat sidestep rails.
The 2.4-litre feels perky — it’s next to impossible to pick the difference from the 2.8.
Significantly, 2.4 has more torque (400Nm) than previous HiLux 3.0-litre (343Nm), and not much less than the 2.8 (450Nm). The extra grunt combined with sixspeed auto gives Workmate more
enough oomph, although none of these trucks can ever be mistaken for anything other a workhorse.
The 2.4 is little noisier than the 2.8 in our experience (in particular there is an induction hissing noise near driver’s side front fender; Toyota says this normal).
But economy is impressive. With its 80L fuel tank, theoretical range is 960km — unladen and on the open road rather than stop-start city driving).
The single biggest surprise is just how comfortable Workmate over bumps thanks to its 17-inch steel wheels and cushy tyres (versus the SR5’s 18s).
Toyota ought be commended for not compromising on heavy duty capability of its HiLux range but it needs to find a way to make SR5 feel as plush (comparatively speaking).
Which to buy? If the budget allows, it may be worth stepping up to SR ($46,990 drive-away manual, auto adds $2000), a saving of $4300 off full RRP.
For now, buyers Workmate can laugh all the way the bank.