HI PRAISE BUT HERE’S A TO-DO LIST
IT’S time to hand back the keys to our Toyota HiLux SR5 after living with it over the extended summer.
We have a long list of things we like about Toyota’s tough truck and an equally lengthy “to do” list.
The good news first: it’s extremely economical (for a two-tonne pick-up) if you don’t thrash it. We averaged 8.8L/100km over the life of the loan. It was always unladen but often towing.
The LED low-beam headlights are superb; the high-beams are OK but could do with a boost.
The (new, larger) brakes have a sharp, reassuring bite compared to rivals (and significantly better in feel than the Ford Ranger).
The HiLux quality overall impresses, from the “thwack” sound as the doors close on their double-sealed rubbers, to the tough door trims that can handle an accidental scrape of a boot.
It took a while to get accustomed to the SR5’s firm suspension, although it would be better if Toyota could iron out the bumps — if doing so didn’t come at the expense of its off-road ability.
The HiLux rides better with a couple of hundred kilos in the back; even a jet ski and trailer (500kg combined) was an improvement.
The audio unit needs a volume dial; you can mute the sound with a button on the steering wheel but sometimes you just want to change volume quickly, not turn it off. The audio screen can be hard to see in daylight.
Further wishes: could the power window and door lock switches illuminate as soon as the car is unlocked? That way, I could find the lock switch at night (I live in a dodgy area).
The audio unit needs Apple Car Play and the digital radio antenna needs to be moved from directly in front of the driver. This will be tricky to fix: the radio and AC displays reflect in the rear window at night, very distracting.
Extendable sun visors would take the side glare out of long country drives; add a vanity mirror while you’re at it.
The last thing we noticed: to save money Toyota has simply painted the grainfinished front bumper from the base model. Previous SR5s had a smooth finish on the painted bumper.
We’d still take a HiLux hands down over the competition — especially if holding on to it beyond the three-year warranty.
With the competition closing in, Toyota needs to make these and other changes (adding radar cruise control and auto emergency braking, for example) if it is to stay on top.