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Selwyn Times: June 28, 2016 My My Kaywa QR-Code Kea (Nestor Notabilis) 36 Tuesday June 28 2016 Motoring Hilux at ease when faced with the hard yards • By Ross Kiddie HILUX HAS become a household word in New Zealand. Toyota’s four-wheel-drive light commercial utility has certainly set the bar in terms of sales here, and although it has languished behind Ford’s Ranger in the last couple of years, I get the feeling that with a brand new line-up for 2016 the tide may turn again in Toyota’s favour. That is simply because Hilux is here in 22 variants with a huge emphasis on two-wheel-drive models. And within the twowheel-drive range there are models which have the ride height and appearance of their 4WD stablemates and have varying deck configurations. Take into account, too, that the two-wheel-drive models have two engineering specification levels, one for the hard-working commercial operator and one for the recreational user – the major difference between the two lies in the manual gearbox option – there’s a choice between a fivespeed unit and a six-speeder. Incidentally, a six-speed automatic is available on some of the higher grade models. I drove two versions of the twowheel-drive series back-to-back; this evaluation focuses on the single-cab/chassis and extra-cab versions, both sharing the same driveline. They list at $36,990 and $38,990, and are the entry-level models into the Hilux range. The cab/chassis model is obviously a two-seater only; the extra-cab has four seats, although there isn’t a lot of room in the rear partition and the seat back uprights are quite vertical. Interestingly, Toyota have hinged the two rear doors so that they open rearwards, providing easy entry and exit. Under the bonnet sits a brand new 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel engine. Toyota are quite proud of this engine, it has been engineered into the new Prado and stands out for its quiet operating manner and huge power outputs – up substantially from the old 3-litre unit. Rated at 130kW and 450Nm, it is also listed with an 8.1-litre per 100km (35mpg) combined cycle fuel usage rating which is 25 per cent more efficient than the previous generation Hilux. Most of my journeys were unladen, which means you can expect fuel usage in the region of around 9l/100km (31mpg) which isn’t that far distant. I did use one of the ute’s deck area for the disposal of some of the Kiddiehousehold junk that we had collected throughout the years, the recycling centre and transfer station were paid a couple of visits. TOYOTA HILUX: A new model for 2016 comes in 22 variants. And that is one of the reasons why light commercial utes have become so popular. Last year New Zealand’s best selling new vehicle was a ute, we have come to embrace them as a means of transport. And if you want a long and wide load area, the 2.6m x 1.8m deck space on the cab/ chassis provides many opportunities for the tradie or labourer. Of course, decks of many shapes and configurations can be adapted to this platform. For interest’s sake, the extra-cab’s deck area measures 1.8m x 1.5m. In typical ute fashion, the live axle rear end of the new Hilux is located by leaf springs, although Toyota’s engineers have reconfigured that design for greater ride quality without compromising load carrying capacity. There’s no question that the ride is still typically ute, the jiggle and bounce over bumps is constantly noticeable and is smoother with weight over the rear axle, as in the extra-cab’s case. I guess that’s stating the obvious, the cabchassis owner/operator would be looking at load carrying, so ride quality needn’t be a consideration. SELWYN TIMES • Price – Toyota Hilux 2WD, $36,990, $38,990 • Dimensions – Length, 5335mm; width, 1855mm; height, 1815mm • Configuration: Fourcylinder, rear-wheel-drive, 2755cc, 130kW, 450Nm, five-speed manual. • Performance – 0-100km/h, 12.8sec • Fuel usage – 8.1l/100km Both test utes had the fivespeed manual shift, it stands out for its direct movement, and light and progressive clutch. The gearing is also structured so that acceleration is kept lively along with the necessity to haul loads or two weighty trailers. Interestingly, the manual versions also get driver selectable power/ economy modes which structure the engine management protocols accordingly. In recent months I’ve evaluated a raft of product from the Toyota/Lexus stable. I’ve tried to drive each vehicle in the manner for which it was intended. I had a long South Island journey in a Lexus hybrid, I’ve driven three Hilux utes and Fortuner. 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