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Driven: Toyota Hilux Double Cab HL2 - on sale now



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Toyota’s second largest-selling model, the Hilux, is now in its sixth generation. Only the Corolla has achieved more sales.

This model has grown in size to its predecessor. The overall length is now 5,255mm – 340mm longer than before. Width is 1,835mm and the load capacity on the Double Cab is 30% up on before. Like most pick-ups, it will carry more than 1,000kg to ensure business users don’t have to pay VAT.

Inside, the Double Cab is roomy; there’s plenty of room for five adults. Toyota is aiming it at families who enjoy outdoor leisure activities and who would have the Hilux as their principle car, as well as aiming for conquest sales.

Air conditioning is standard and refreshingly quiet. The seats are firm but comfortable, although not recommended for hard slogs up the motorway. The audio system is described by Toyota as “more sophisticated”, but this was the bugbear of the Hilux. It wouldn’t stay locked into any radio station, and would consistently turn to white noise when driving through certain areas.

There’s new front suspension with coil springs and double wishbones to give an improved ride, but it still manages to find bumps in the seemingly flattest roads when unladen. But it has far less cab roll than you’d expect.

Performance from its 2.5-litre diesel unit is uninspiring: 0-62mph in 18.2sec. Larger engines are expected to reach UK shores later this year.

Hilux has a low drag coefficient – 0.36 – which is comparable to some compact SUVs. As a result, fuel consumption figures of 34mpg are quite outstanding for a heavy workhorse like the Hilux. Sales predictions for the sixth generation Hilux in 2006 are 25,000 units for Europe, of which 5,900 will be UK.

Strengths: Very quiet
Weaknesses: Basic interior
Opportunity: Stands out from the crowd
Threat: L200/Navara
USP: The working life alternative
Price: £15,145 excluding VAT
Engine: 2.5-litre diesel; 101bhp @ 3,600rpm; 192lb ft @ 1,600-2,400rpm
Performance: 0-62mph: 18.2 sec; top speed: 93mph
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Efficiency: 34mpg (combined), CO2 not available
CAP RV 3yr/30k: Not available
Rivals: Ford Ranger, Mitsubishi L200, Nissan Navara

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