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Toyota Hilux 2.5D HL2

Date: 26 January 2006

Category: Pick-up
Price: £11,495 - £16,595
Key rival: Ford Ranger

Alongside the latest group of double cab pick-ups with their tax-saving appeal are the real workhorse versions - the single cab pick-ups.

In the case of Toyota's all-new Hilux it has a reputation to uphold. For years it's been seen as indestructible and as such has been used by everyone from small-time construction firms to war-zone militias.

It's worth pointing out that many single-cab pick-ups - the Hilux included - are more than double-cabs with the rear pair of seats converted to load space.


In Toyota's case, the differences are immediately obvious. The front bumper is grey plastic, rather than body coloured on the double-cab Hilux and the wheels are steel rather than alloy. Both of these things help lower costs and make the single cab version a more attractive proposition to those looking for a conventional workhorse. The bumpers show fewer scratches and are cheaper to repair while the steel wheels are just more cost effective in the first place.

This theme continues inside the cabin. Although the dash is of the same high quality materials and tight fit (both not that dissimilar to a Corolla or Avensis), the single cab version misses out on electric mirrors - a cost saving move no doubt, but the mirrors fail to adjust manually far enough for most drivers to have the best rear visibility.

The tailgate is another area where the Hilux disappoints. Gone is the easy-to-use single handle, replaced with twin latch arrangement at either side, making lowering and raise the back more laborious.

The single-cab version uses the same 101PS 2.5-litre diesel that's in the double-cab. And as we've said before, before it's underpowered,

particularly next to rivals such as the 133PS Nissan Pick-up, 131PS Isuzu Rodeo and the forthcoming 136PS Mitsubishi L200.

Which is a shame for two reasons. Firstly, the new Hilux is a good drive - the steering and gear-change are far more car-like than before. Secondly the load bay is big. In some dimensions, notably the load length, the Hilux is bigger than any of its rivals.

With running costs not far off the current best in class - Nissan's Pick-up - and load space almost identical, it's only the weak engine that prevents the Toyota from taking top spot.