This red Hilux might look much like any other, but it's one of the latest SR5 double cab 4WDs with 17-inch rims, stability control and traction control. They started arriving in the final quarter of last year, but 4wdNewz has only just had a spell with it. Stability control (VSC) and traction control (TRC) are no longer novelties in utes, so Toyota's catching up a bit here. These aids add to the Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and ABS that are already on the ute and are quite important additions. The VSC adjusts engine output and the braking to each wheel to help prevent oversteer or understeer and get the driver out of trouble on, say, loose unsealed roads – the very surface on which lots of Hiluxes spend much of their time. In low range off-road conditions, the TRC brakes a spinning wheel, so that power goes to the wheel or wheels with adequate grip. Unlike the on-road traction control program, engine power is not reduced. The electronics work better than a limited-slip differential, but not as well as a cross-axle locker – but then nothing does.
Seventeen-inch alloys wheels replace the SR5’s 15s, not for looks but to accommodate larger brakes. However, fitted with 265/65 tyres, they nicely fill-out the wheelwells and provide a useful improvement to the ute's abilities both on- and off the road. The test truck wore Bridgestone Duelers with a fairly mild tread pattern. This truck also has the four-speed automatic option that works well with the 3.0 litre turbodiesel. Despite "only" 343Nm of torque in a world where some rivals are well into the 400s, the auto Hilux has exceptional pickup for overtaking, even with more than 500kg in the tray. It's very impressive; but then for $60,390 (manual) and $62,890 (auto), it should be!
|What to do with a new Hilux SR5. Note to Toyota NZ: See how well 4WDNewz looks after your ute's almost unmarked tray.|