ON THE ROAD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive Trd Hilux - NEIL DOWL­ING

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.

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