Toyota Hilux 2013 – Off Road

January 24, 2013 | By | Add a Comment

Top Gear has held the Toyota Hilux in high esteem for many a year, ever since they “proved” that an early version of this tradesman’s ute was indestructible.  They drove it into the sea, set fire to it and placed it on top of a multi level building as it was being demolished. But is the current model of the Hilux still this good?

We recently put a Toyota Hilux 4×4 turbo diesel through its paces on logging tracks in the Toolangi State Forest.  With muddy tracks and a new glistening vehicle this endeavour was always going to be a challenge for both the driver and vehicle alike.


Negotiating the narrow tracks with little effort,even through deep truck ruts filled with water, and with Toyota Hilux ads in the back of our mind we decided to attempt to drive up the side of the mountain. To say the track leading to the summit was treacherous and muddy is an understatement for strewn on either side of it were large tree stumps which seemed to be mocking us and threatening to ding the shiny new panels.


The first part of the climb the driver and vehicle exuded confidence and sure-footedness and then the tyres filled with mud and the back of the Hilux seemed to have a desire to leave the track. A plant of the foot made things even worse as the tyres lost traction and the Hilux started moving sideways towards a large stump.

A quick reassessment of the situation, and the repositioning of the vehicle, we sounded the retreat and scampered back down the mountain to continue driving on more subdued tracks.

While the Hilux may be indestructible on tv in our hands it is anything but. A discussion over a coffee and it was decided that the factors which impeded our journey to the summit were:

1. Driver inexperience

2. Driver inexperience

3. Driver inexperience

In all seriousness the contributing factors, to our plight, were inappropriate tyre pressure and a lack weight in the back. By ensuring that your Hilux has all terrain tyres, at a minimum, rather than the standard factory issue road tyres and are deflated to the appropriate driving level will assist in achieving the goal as will weight in the rear tray. In our situation while we had all terrain tyres the pressure was too high providing little grip in the unfavorable circumstances while the lack of weight in the rear tray meant the Hilux was light giving it that mind of its own.

The Hilux interior reflects its tradesman pedigree, essentially this is a vehicle which is designed to do a job, but it is comfortable and safe. The sound system with its blue tooth connectivity works well while the ample storage areas for drinks and other ancillary snacks are a god send when traveling long distances with the family.

Road handling is an improvement on previous models and is evidence of Toyota’s desire to expand its overall appeal into the traditional mum and dad market. Fuel economy with the diesel is 8 litres per 100 kilometres and safety features include side curtain airbags.

The Toyota Hilux is reminiscent of the original ute philosophy of being able to take the pig to market on a Wednesday and the family to church on a Sunday.

Overall the Toyota Hilux is a strong performer and market leader and is a good compromise for those seeking both a workhorse and a family car.

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Category: Driving Journeys

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