Toyota Hilux – Is it still the de-facto pick-up truck?

Eric/Jan 07, 2020 11:23 AM

(Toyota Hilux Spec and Prices | Gallery)

The Toyota Hilux needs no introduction – it is by far the most well-known pick-up truck in Malaysia, thanks to a solid reputation for reliability and durability built over the years.

Now in its eighth generation, the Toyota Hilux continues to be a de-facto option for both lifestyle buyers and construction workers.

Built for durability

But with the introduction of updated rivals such as the new Ford Ranger and Mitsubishi Triton, does the Hilux has what it takes to maintain its position?

1. Is it powerful?

Despite its 2.8-litre 1GD-FTV turbodiesel engine pushing out 177 PS and 450 Nm, in real-world driving conditions, the engine isn’t as powerful as the figures suggest.

The lack of performance can be attributed to the Hilux’s kerb weight, as it tips the scales at 2,100 kg, making it one of the heaviest pick-up trucks on sale.

2019 Toyota Hilux engine bay

Nothing fancy under the hood, really

As such, its 84.3 PS per tonne power-to-weight ratio falls behind the Ford Ranger (98.8 PS per tonne) and Mitsubishi Triton (93.8 PS per tonne).

2. Is a 4x2 version available?

Unfortunately, Toyota Malaysia has discontinued 4x2 variants of the Hilux due to sluggish sales.

2019 Toyota Hilux front view

Tough luck trying to pull this off in a 4x2 truck

If you need a 4x2 pick-up truck, you may want to consider these alternatives:

  • Ford Ranger
  • Isuzu D-Max
  • Mitsubishi Triton Quest

3. Does Toyota offer a manual variant of the Hilux?

Yes, for those wanting to shift your own gears, Toyota Malaysia has 3 variants of the Hilux fitted with a 6-speed manual.

2019 Toyota Hilux manual shifter

Row, row, row your gears..

These variants include:

  • Double Cab 2.4G (MT) 4x4
  • Double Cab 2.4 STD (MT) 4x4
  • Single Cab 2.4 (MT) 4x4

4. Is stability control available?

2019 Toyota Hilux buttons

Most variants of the Toyota Hilux are fitted with stability control, except the Double Cab 2.4 STD (MT) 4x4 and Single Cab 2.4 (MT) 4x4 variants

5. What about other safety features?

Toyota Malaysia offers 3 airbags on manual variants of the Hilux, and 7 airbags on automatic variants of the model.

2019 Toyota Hilux safet features

Apart from that, Toyota Malaysia also offers a range of optional safety equipment, such as a 360-degree view monitor, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, and a rear digital video recorder (DVR).

6. Does Toyota offer a single cab variant of the Hilux?

2019 Toyota Hilux Single Cab

This modded Toyota Hilux Single Cab is designed to carry farm produce from Cameron Highlands

Yes, for those that needs the extra-large cargo space for hauling things, Toyota Malaysia does offer a single cab variant of the Hilux.

7. Is it suitable for businesses?

It depends on the type of business you manage.

2019 Toyota Hilux boot

If your business requires you to haul heavy equipment or farm produce frequently, then the Hilux Single Cab is a great option.

However, if you need to ferry several workers at the same time, then the double-cab, manual variants of the Hilux are good options.

8. I like off-roading, which variant should I pick?

2019 Toyota Hilux wheels

We reckon that the Hilux Double Cab 2.4 STD (MT) would be the ideal choice for those serious off-roaders, as it's a no frills, basic variant - basically an open template for serious off-roaders to modify/customize.

2019 Toyota Hilux side view

9. Wait, but the 2.4 STD MT doesn't have Down Hill Assist, isn't that useful?

Before we dissect why Downhill-Assist Control (DAC) is counter-intuitive, let’s take a closer look at how it works.

Similar to how ABS works, DAC works by braking individual wheels to maintain control, without the driver’s input.

However, not all serious off-roaders appreciate the feature, as the constant application of brakes will heat up the rotors, which is fine for most casual users but in certain challenging terrain where there is a cold running stream/river at the bottom of the hill, the cold water will crack the hot rotors. 

Serious off-roaders prefer using the tried and tested engine braking in 4L mode and deft control of the steering.

10. Can the Hilux use biodiesel?

BHP Euro 5 diesel pump

The Hilux can take up to B10 biodiesel, but we recommend Euro 5 diesel

The Toyota Hilux can be refueled with B10 biodiesel, though for optimum performance, we recommend owners to fuel up with Euro 5 diesel instead.

11. Is it easy to maintain?

Parts for the Toyota Hilux can easily be found.

Toyota service centre

Even in remote, rural parts of East Malaysia, Hilux parts can even be found in a village grocery store.

12. Is it fuel efficient?

The Toyota Hilux's fuel efficiency is average at best. 

If what you want is a fuel efficient pick-up truck, then check out the Isuzu D-Max, as it is the most fuel efficient truck on sale right now. 

3. How much does it cost to maintain?

Over a period of 5 years (100,000 km), owners of the Toyota Hilux have to fork out RM 4,424 to maintain the truck. 

Toyota Hilux getting serviced

That amount is lower than the Mitsubishi Triton VGT A/T Premium (4X4) (RM 5,836), but higher than the Isuzu D-Max 1.9L 4x4 AT (RM 3,427). 

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