Toyota tames the rough stuff

Toyota Hilux Invincible X

By Bill McCarthy

IT says something about a vehicle when it has been around for more than 50 years. In fact you could write reams about the Hilux, which has featured in TV series taking on the frozen wastes of the Arctic and the searing heat on an active volcano.

Revised again it now features a more powerful 201 bhp 2.8-litre engine option (although the existing 2.4 is still available), new equipment features, added comfort and improvements in performance both on and off-road. It also comes with a choice of auto, on the model driven here, or manual gear change and larger stowage area.

The new model retains the established grade line-up of Active, Icon, Invincible and Invincible X.

There are various combinations including single cab workhorse up to the five-seater double cab Invincible X range topper driven here. All offer generous deck space world renowned off road performance and a cabin packed with creature comforts as many choose to double up as a lifestyle vehicle.

It’s easy to see why. The most glaring clue to its off road capability is the high ground clearance and clearance between wheel and wheel arch and its quite a step up to reach the cabin.

The range topper looks sporty and dynamic, redesigned with trapezoidal grille and front bumper treatment, additional wheel arch mouldings and fog light surrounds. It now features LED head lights and tail lights and their own, specific new 18-inch alloy wheel designs. 

In additions there are front and rear parking sensors, heated front seats and windscreen wiper de-icer. Other key items include LED headlights, smart entry and push-button start and automatic air conditioning.

In the cabin there is new ambient door panel lighting and a nine-speaker JBL premium audio system, plus dual-tone leather upholstery, heated and powered front seats.

All versions apart from the entry level Active grade come with the latest Toyota Touch 2 multimedia system, with faster software and faster response to touchscreen commands including satellite navigation. Smartphone integration is another new feature, via either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, provided as standard from Icon grade upwards.

The interior standard equipment also includes lockable, cooled glovebox, leather finished steering wheel and powered windows.

The flat bed to the rear can accommodate all sorts of shapes including a full-sized pallet, accessed by the rear drop tailgate. Various lashing points mean cargo can be strapped in securely, while the hard top, fitted on this model, can be detached for taller objects.

On and offroad it has impressive characteristics. The 2,755cc turbodiesel unit generates 201bhp and a huge 500Nm of torque with a six-speed automatic transmission, for huge pulling power.

It maintains its one-tonne minimum payload capacity and the ability to tow (braked) loads of up to 3.5 tonnes.

It is also quicker off the mark, but only marginally more expensive to run with around 30mpg, according to WLTP figures.

The driver can also select Eco and Power settings. Eco mode reduces power consumption for better fuel economy, while power mode initiates a sharper response to enhance the driving experience.

It is capable reaching 60mph in 10.7 seconds, pretty lively for such a heavy beast and feels comfortable and stable except on tight corners where there is some wallow as you would expect.

The turning circle is not fantastic and its hardly a silent runner with road and wind noise, particularly from the large door mirrors, intrusive at times. However once running, the engine is fairly quiet and refined.

A new suspension set up means that on road it is a pleasant driving experience and features a new, automatic limited-slip differential that improve its on-road ride and handling and its off-road controllability.

Going off road, the driver can activate the system with a brief press of the VSC-off switch when the vehicle is being driven in H2 two/rear-wheel drive mode.

When a loss of grip is detected, it will brake the slipping wheel and direct drive torque to the opposite wheel that has traction. This new feature is in addition to the Active Traction Control, which operates when the vehicle is in L4

Safety features are also impressive with seven airbags, collision warning, traction and stability control and hill assist  and downhill assist on this model, plus much more.

Although not the cheapest the Hi Lux is still the one to beat off-road and is now an even more refined vehicle

Factfile

Toyota Hilux Invincible X

Price: £44,835

Mechanical: 2041hp, 2,755cc four cylinder diesel engine driving all wheels via six-speed auto transmission

Max speed: 109mph

0-60mph: 10.7 seconds

Combined mpg: 28.5-29.7

CO2 emissions: 248-259g/km

BiK rating: 37%

Insurance group: 45

Warranty: 5 years/unlimited miles

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