The HiLux Workmate double cab 4WD is $43,990 plus on-road costs but it has limboed to $41,990 drive-away in recent months, about $4000 off full price. It comes with a 2.4-litre turbo diesel (rather than the 2.8 in the higher grades) but still gets rear camera, cruise control, aircon, power windows and remote central locking.
It’s designed for functionality, which is why the bumpers are grey and the floor covering is vinyl. Ample underbody protection is standard. The ute tub with external tie-down hooks means you can’t have a genuine tub liner and a hard lid — it’s one or the other. Not everyone is a fan of the black rims but they won’t be this
shiny for long.
The 2.4-litre turbo diesel is a gem. It has a little more induction noise than the 2.8 in the HiLux SR and SR5. But it has more torque (400Nm) than the previous HiLux 3.0-litre (343Nm), and not much less than the new 2.8 (450Nm). It’s super efficient, too. We logged 8.0L/100km unladen cruising at about 80km/h or more. Works well with six-speed manual or auto.
Seven airbags (including one for the driver’s knee) are standard, as is a rear view camera (its guiding lines don’t turn with the steering). Rear sensors are optional. The low and high-beams are strong (good for country roads), and the instruments are clearer to read in the HiLux than they are in the HiLux-based Fortuner SUV.
The wheels might not be pretty but the tyres they come with are more cushioned on bumpy roads than the top-of-the-range HiLux SR5. This means the blokes in the Workmate are in fact travelling in more comfort than the foreman in the SR5. It feels stable (for a ute) though the Ford Ranger and VW Amarok are still the benchmarks for on-road composure. The HiLux is hardier off-road.