TThe 2022 Toyota Hilux remains Australia’s hottest new car, and the Hilux SR5 is a perennial favorite when it comes to mid-size 4x4s.
Here we’re driving the 2022 Hilux SR5 equipped with the Premium Package and automatic transmission to bring it down to $64,430 plus on-road costs. The Premium package adds heated leather seats and the ute’s interior is trimmed to deliver a more upmarket rather than purely utilitarian feel.
The current model of Toyota’s venerable ute is the N80 Hilux. The eighth generation of Toyota’s mid-size ute that has become one of the world’s best-known and most recognizable vehicles for more than 50 years.
The N80 Hilux was introduced in 2015 and only made a comeback in 2020 when it received the latest updates including all-important improvements to the 1GD-FTV engine.
The 4×4 Hilux is available with a choice of 2.4 and 2.8-litre versions of the four-cylinder diesel engine depending on the model grade chosen. High-spec models, such as the SR5 we’re testing here, are all powered by the larger 2.8-litre version. There’s also a choice of manual or automatic transmissions, bothering to offer six speeds.
The 1GR 2.8-litre engine has received significant improvements as part of the 2020 model updates, particularly in its torque output which has jumped by 500Nm to match its class-leading rivals.
It wasn’t just about peak torque for the Toyota engine as extensive upgrades improved the engine’s performance right through its delivery range, dramatically improving the Hilux’s drivability. This was especially true when matched to the 6-speed automatic transmission where, in the past, it hunted through the gears trying to find the sweet spot in the engine.
The current iteration of the powertrain has none of the indecisiveness, the engine is punchy and delivers plenty of grunt, putting it at the sharp end of four-cylinder-powered 4×4 utes in terms of performance, and the transmission Exactly matched. its production.
The only real criticism of the Toyota engine is its harshness and noise, which looks and feels like a noisy old diesel rather than a modern one. There is still room for improvement in this regard.
On-road ride and handling
The Hilux has always felt firm in its suspension, and that’s after Toyota revised spring rates for 2020 to soften the loaded vehicle’s ride. It’s better than before but still feels stiff and tall when driving on the road, reflecting its work truck roots and load-carrying abilities.
There’s nothing wrong with the way the Hilux handles and drives, it’s just that some of the newer utes are changing the performance of cars in this segment to make them more passenger-friendly, albeit sometimes at the expense of load performance. .
Like any Toyota 4×4, the Hilux’s strengths lie in its gravel road and off-road performance. To this end, Toyota has given the Hilux class the leading rear axle articulation and the fastest Electronic Traction Control Calibration (ETC) in the segment to ensure that it traverses the roughest terrains without a fuss.
There are no fancy drive modes or tricks for the Hilux’s superior tractive capabilities, just standard suspension and ETC tune that has been used for decades in the toughest conditions.
The Hilux has a rear differential lock (RDL) but adding it kills the ETC on the front axle, leaving the car with three-wheel drive instead of four. Once one of the front wheels starts spinning, the front axle is idle so it relies on the locked rear end. Thus, the Hilux will easily overcome difficult obstacles using only the best ETC and not the RDL.
The Hilux’s cabin is another part of the car that has been upgraded throughout the eighth-generation model’s life, and it gets better each time. The dash’s eight-inch screen was updated to include a dial for volume control and was made easier to use, but many people we spoke to found the screen sitting on the dash to be more integrated. Don’t like the method. Personally I don’t have a problem with it.
The system features wired access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and Toyota’s factory sat-nav system has excellent mapping that’s often more detailed than Google Maps.
The gauge binnacle is simple and easy to read with no configurable customizations that other brands feel are necessary these days. It still tells the driver everything they need to know immediately without requiring your eyes to take their eyes off the road for long.
The leather-trimmed seats that make up the premium package combined with the piano-finish black trims add a sense of luxury and quality to the ute’s cabin. The SR5 Premium’s front seats are also heated.
In our recent mid-size ute ‘daily living’ comparison test, the SR5 was declared the winner as a family car because it was easier to get child seats in and felt more secure. It also had the most space for an adult in the middle between two child seats, plenty of room in the doors to store drinks and toys, and the test car had an easy-to-clean optional leather upholstery. Upholstery was furnished.
In addition to the usual USB and cigarette lighter power outlets, there is a 220V power outlet in the cabin for charging devices.
The Hilux falls behind by not having all the latest safety technology. It has essentials like ABS, ESC, ETC, AEB but its lane-departure system doesn’t offer proper steering correction, nor does it have features like blind spot indicators or rear cross traffic.
Compared to newer models like the Ranger, Triton, BT-50 and D-Max, this reduction in safety tech is more than the age of the current model Hilux.
The SR5 has a payload of 995kg, a GVM of 2980kg, a towing rating of 3500kg and a gross combined mass (GCM) of 5850kg. These are all reasonable figures for a 1 tonne double cab ute with a premium interior. Those interior inclusions like the power leather seats all add weight and add to your payload and GCM.
The Hilux SR5 rides on 265/60R18 tires which are becoming a common size for utes, but you can fit smaller and more practical 17-inch wheels from lower grades for a better tire choice.
The Hilux’s cargo tray is smaller than some in its class but has fewer tie-down points at the four corners where they are most useful but no 12V power outlet for powering accessories.
The Hilux’s engine bay has space for a second battery and the air intake is well placed where it draws from the inner ‘guard’.
As one of the most popular vehicles in the world, the Hilux is heavily supported by aftermarket accessory manufacturers and Toyota offers a healthy range of factory kit for the ute, including steel and alloy bulbars.
These accessories allow owners to tailor the ute to their needs whether as a work vehicle, cross-country touring, or a combination of both.
The Hilux has long been a favorite with private and fleet buyers, and for good reason.
These decades of development have ensured that the Hilux remains near the top of the mid-size 4×4 1-tonne ute class thanks to its solid engineering and feel, straight-out-of-the-box capability, and user-friendliness and functionality. All the attributes you want in a ute that serves you for work, play and family duties.
2022 Toyota Hilux SR5 Specifications
|Maximum power||150kW at 3400rpm|
|Maximum torque||500Nm from 1600 to 2800rpm|
|4X4 system||PART TIME W/ HIGH AND LOW RANGE 4×4|
|Construction||4 door body on ladder chassis|
|Front suspension||IFS w/ dual control arms and coil springs|
|Rear suspension||Live axles ride on leaf springs|
|Tires||265/60R18 on alloy wheels|
|Heavy obstacle||2093 kg|
|Tensile capacity||3500 kg|
|ADR fuel claim*||8.1L/100km|
|On-test fuel consumption||11.6L100 km|
|Angle of departure||28°|
|Wading depth||700 mm|
|Ground clearance||216 mm|
Things we like.
- Solid feel and engineering
- Simple controls and functionality
- Great for off-road driving and load hauling
Not so much
- It’s showing its age compared to newer utes.
- Noisy and rough engine
- Safety tech is lacking behind the class leaders.