Sky’s the limit for TRD Hilux

The work­man’s mate has gone way be­yond site ac­tion, writes BRUCEMcMAHON

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive Trd Hilux -

THE work­man’s favourite is now more than just that Toy­ota ute. The HiLux is the third-best per­former in show­rooms but there is prom­ise of much more per­for­mance now the TRD HiLux is on the road.

The sec­ond model af­ter last year’s Au­rion V6 in the TRD Aus­tralia fam­ily, it comes with su­per­charged at­ti­tude, kick­ing up dust, stir­ring up new busi­ness and lay­ing claim to a spe­cial spot with shop­pers.

It packs 225kW into a four-wheeldrive, dual-cab ute with re­worked sus­pen­sion and pack­ag­ing to suit.

De­spite the po­ten­tial op­po­si­tion from the HSV Maloo and FPV’s hot utes, Toy­ota be­lieves noth­ing made in Aus­tralia com­bines the per­for­mance, com­fort and func­tion of the TRD HiLux.

The ve­hi­cle is the ul­ti­mate ac­tive ute, Toy­ota Aus­tralia’s sales and mar­ket­ing boss Dave But­tner says.

‘‘It of­fers scin­til­lat­ing per­for­mance and dra­matic styling while still be­ing able to carry a full load and per­form a hard day’s work,’’ But­tner says.

The HiLux, like the TRD Au­rion, is in­tended to lift Toy­ota’s im­age among per­for­mance-minded male driv­ers.

Based on Toy­ota’s big-sell­ing SR5 HiLux, the TRD ute is not a cheap pack­age with the 4000S ver­sion at $59,990 and the leather­suited 4000 SL at $64,990. But it of­fers much en­ter­tain­ment. Chas­sis en­gi­neer Mar­cus Um­lauff, a seven-time ute owner, was chas­ing a com­bi­na­tion of sport ute and com­mer­cial four-wheel-drive abil­i­ties from the chas­sis.

Me­chan­i­cal de­vel­op­ment en­gi­neer Jonathan Miller was af­ter more power and torque from the four-litre V6, and stylists wanted a dis­tinc­tive road pres­ence with­out com­pro­mis­ing the donor ma­chine’s abil­i­ties.

TRD needed to re­tain the SR5 HiLux’s off-road, tow­ing and dur- abil­ity cre­den­tials while lift­ing per­for­mance and han­dling.

So an Ea­ton su­per­charger plus wa­ter-to-air in­ter­cooler help the petrol en­gine de­liver 225kW at 5400 revs and 453Nm of torque at 3400 revs on 95 RON fuel — up from 175kW and 376Nm. Torque is the key for a four-wheel drive and the TRD prod­uct has more of that at 1200 revs than a stan­dard SR5.

‘‘You can have as much power as you want but if you haven’t got torque you haven’t got real-world per­for­mance,’’ Miller says.

The kit was de­vel­oped in con­junc­tion with Toy­ota and Ea­ton en­gi­neers in the US, where it is avail­able as an af­ter­mar­ket kit for the FJ Cruiser and Ta­coma ute. Here it needed to run 100,000km in dura­bil- ity tests to en­sure the fac­tory war­ranty stood un­der all con­di­tions.

The re­sult is a pretty quick lit­tle truck that jumps from 0 to 100km/h in 7.2 sec­onds and brings smiles each time the throt­tle is opened.

The drive is fed through a fivespeed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion that is happy in the ser­vice of the su­per­charged V6, and the pair help the HiLux cover ground with a deal of ea­ger­ness. (The only quib­ble would be with first-low range, a bit too quick in del­i­cate off-road spots.)

Ex­tra power and torque is use­less un­less there is de­cent trac­tion and TRD has re-set spring rates, added 17-inch al­loy wheels with Bridge­stone rub­ber and Bil­stein shock ab­sorbers.

Hilux a for­tune: Toy­ota claims noth­ing else made in Aus­tralia com­bines its per­for­mance, com­fort and func­tion.

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