Toyota Hilux SR5 Cruiser $55,590
And so to the latest Hilux model to be launched here, the SR5 Cruiser. The new ‘Cruiser sits above the SR5, replaces the outgoing SR5 Limited in Toyota New Zealand’s 21-strong 2018 Hilux range and is immediately distinguished by a new front end anchored by a larger main (upper) grille, revised front bumper and LED fog lights combo. The new front is complemented by 18-inch gloss metallic black alloy wheels with 265/60 tyres, black door mirrors, door handles, and new black rear bumper. There’s also been a bit of an interior upgrade with black perforated, leather accented upholstery used throughout, including into the pillars and roof lining. The front seats are also both heated and the driver’s is electrically adjustable fore and aft and for height and back angle. The ‘Cruiser also has a new instrument cluster with a revised speedo and rev counter off-set with piano black ornamentation to replace the silver highlights of the outgoing SR5 Limited model. Which is all very well, but the key, for me anyway, selling point of any of the latest model Hiluxes is the improvement in rear ride quality. Gone is the stiff vertical kick over sharp ridges, in its place a compliance born out of a wholesale change in rear leaf spring orientation and relative rates. Ride is still firm, laden as well as unladen, but it is no longer a deal-breaker. Nor, from feedback from my ute-owning/mtb-riding mates, is the way the thing looks. The new front end treatment has certainly given the ‘Cruiser some attitude, and, I guess if that’s what it takes to claw back sales from Ford, Holden et al, then it was worth doing.