Sky’s the limit for TRD Hilux
The workman’s mate has gone way beyond site action, writes BRUCEMcMAHON
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.