THEY say you never know how many friends you have until you have a ute, and that adage rang true when our Toyota Hilux SR5 was spotted in the office carpark.
No sooner had they seen the genuine Toyota towbar on the back of it, our ‘friends’ over at Caravan World magazine snared it for a week of caravan testing. The Hilux came to us with towbar wiring and a Redarc electric brake controller fitted, so it was ready to haul.
As it’s fitted with the six-speed manual gearbox this Hilux has the full 3500kg towing capacity, while ones fitted with the auto transmission are limited to 3200kg. Either way, the Toyota didn’t have any trouble with the caravans it towed.
Many folks say towing is easier with an automatic transmission – and that may be true – but the manual Hilux makes towing easy, as its hill-start assist works well to make the transition from brake pedal to accelerator easy and smooth when taking off. The manual gearbox is generally more fuel efficient as well, and the Hilux SR5 continues to impress in that regard with an average of 9.7L/100km this month.
Following the week of caravan testing the ’Lux got back into city-commute duties, and we must say we enjoy driving it in this environment as much as we do in the bush – the hill-assist system again makes driving easier in the stop/start tyranny of Melbourne traffic.
The interior is comfortable and accommodating, and the look of the dash, with its tablet-style screen, has finally grown on us. What hasn’t got any better is the lack of a volume dial or any other quick way of adjusting the sound coming from the otherwise quality system. I find this annoying every time I drive a new Hilux. Both the buttons on the tablet and on the steering wheel are slow to respond, and the tablet buttons are hard to use on bumpy bush tracks.
It’s not all city-living for the Hilux, as another so-called ‘friend’, Ron Moon, recently stole it from our grasp and was last seen belting through outback New South Wales in it. We’ll hear how it went out The Back O’ Bourke next month.
Total Kilometers: 3,275km
Date acquired: OCT 2016
Km this month: 483km
Av fuel: 9.7L/100km