ON THE ROAD
THE standard HiLux has a lot of truck-like manners, especially with a manual gearbox, but the TRD model can be as easy to drive as a Camry.
It comes only as an automatic and loses nothing because of it.
It looks distinctive, yet not overblown.
It is tastefully executed and the five bold colours in the palette suit the nature of this vehicle.
Side-steps are standard and needed to make a graceful entry or exit.
Once inside, the seats are as comfortable as any Toyota, though the same can be said of the ambience.
It’s a Toyota, and a TRD logo and some red stitching fails to reflect the $9500 premium on the SR5 model.
But then the right foot kicks it in.
The Eaton supercharger cranks in immediately, so from idle this thing starts whistling and whining and moving.
Acceleration feels more leisurely than the 7.2-second sprint time, mainly because the engine will run only past 5000 revs before telling the auto box to upshift.
Despite the extra 50kg — it’s now 1850kg plus occupants and fuel and anything in the tray — it tracks positively through the corners.
There is, however, some initial lag at turn-in.
Once you get used to that, the vehicle can be flung into bends with a flat stance that belies the Hilux’s high centre of gravity.
Off the road, the TRD has all the four-wheel-drive competency of the regular HiLux.
The suppleness of the suspension hasn’t been destroyed by TRD engineers, so it’s as comfortable as a standard model over rocks. But, like the standard model with automatic transmission, there’s precious little engine braking on downhill slopes.
Thankfully, the TRD has bigger discs and calipers up front, yet oddly retains drums at the rear.
Ground clearance is only a bit down on the standard model.
TRD lowered the body height but fitted biggerdiameter tyres, so this one’s as good in the dirt as the SR5.
It’s just heaps more powerful and far more efficient at grazing paddocks.