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Toyota HiLux SR5+ 4×4 | Gassit Garage | Long Term

After just a few weeks with this rig, I’m wondering how the hell I got by without it

I’m struggling to remember a time during the last month that the big Toyota HiLux SR5+ was unable to answer the seemingly endless list of moving questions I have asked of it. Toyota has really spoilt me with this model.

Being the top of the range, it’s got a mile of extras too long to list here, but my favourites are the leather interior, smart key and push-button start, 18-inch alloy wheels, six-speaker sound system, and a seven-inch touchscreen with which to access a pile of electronic bells and whistles.

On the safety front, there’s electronic stability control (ESP/VSC) and seven airbags.

But there are two buttons on the centre console that are at the very top of my list.

The first is a power mode button that provides a choice of ECO or PWR. Eco is pretty self-explanatory – and boring – but the power mode is where all the action happens. Press PWR and the four-cylinder 2.8-litre turbo-diesel takes off like a scalded cat, and the accelerator becomes like a light switch.

At first, I was a little perplexed. As much fun as it is, the PWR button makes driving hard work; very un-Toyota. But when I reached Bulli Pass with three bikes on a trailer, four adults in the cab and a heap of gear in the tray, I found myself instinctively reaching for the magic button. The SR5 pulled up the steep hill better than the wife’s four-cylinder sedan with only one on board.

Then, on the way back down, I discovered what the iMT button is for. This automatically matches engine speed to road speed on downshifts, providing the equivalent of a good old-fashioned double-clutch shift. Brilliant for when you’re pushing the boundaries of the HiLux’s 750kg unbraked towing capacity, with the tray full of all your riding gear and associated racing peripherals.

The HiLux has also allowed us to make use of our ‘Rack N Roll’. Even with a mid-size bike hanging off the tow bar there’s only a slight change to the car’s performance and handling.

The big tests are still to come, with a custom-made trailer on the way. The weight of the trailer alone will easily push it into the weight zone that calls for electric brakes.

Meanwhile, our HiLux is already set for the challenge.

PROS

  • Comfort
  • Size (on long trips)
  • Towing ability

CONS

  • Diesel sound 
  • Size (in tight parking spaces)

RRP

HiLux SR5+ $56,440

+ Premium interior $2000

+ Metallic paint $550

As tested $58,990

Toyota.com.au

1300 865 682

Chris Dobie