Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Toyota HiLux's Beach Holiday

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Toyota HiLux's Beach Holiday

Article excerpt

Vital statistics

Model: Toyota HiLux SR5 4x4 Double Cab Pick up.

Details: Double cab four-wheel-drive utility.

Engine: 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel generating maximum power of 130kW @ 3400rpm and peak torque of 450Nm @ 1600rpm.

Transmission: Six-speed automatic.

Consumption: 8.5-litres/100km (combined).

Towing capacity: 3200kg.

Payload: 925kg.

Warranty and service: Three-year 100,000km warranty, capped price servicing for first three years/60,000km at $180 a time, service intervals are every six months or 10,000km.

Price as tested before on-roads: $57,479 ($54,390 base price plus auto gearbox, premium paint and tow bar).

Iain Curry

I COULD almost hear the Toyota HiLux breathe a sigh of relief as I switched it to 4WD and inched closer to the sand.

Finally, it must have been thinking, I won't be used for just dropping the kids off at Kindy, negotiating pesky roundabouts then sitting on the highway for endless kilometres.

The HiLux deserved some well-earned playtime and here it was. A 100-kilometre return beach drive from the Noosa River to Double Island Point in the Cooloola Recreation Area of the Great Sandy National Park.

A soft sand cutting entry point, undulating beach, rivers meeting the ocean and endless glorious views: this is why you own a go-anywhere double cab ute.

The people's car?

We're one month in to our long-term test of a Toyota HiLux Double Cab SR5 - a vehicle basking in the glory of being named Australia's best-selling car for 2016.

Increasingly the choice of adventure-seeking families, cashed-up tradies and - there are some of you out there - those wanting to portray they have a rugged off-road life when in reality you just sit on the highway and city traffic higher than the rest of us.

But don't worry, I get it. The HiLux SR5 is an appealing looking thing, I like the "car-like" cabin: electric leather driver's seat, decent climate control, seven-inch touchscreen, reversing camera, sat nav, smart entry and start plus oodles of sexy chrome for the body. Plus it's the same-old HiLux tough, tows 3200kg and is wonderfully effective off-road.

But...it's $60k to drive away. Fine if you use all those 4WD smarts, but as a family car that really never goes off the bitumen? We have cheaper SUVs with decent rear load space when the seats are folded for that; Toyota's own HiLux-based Fortuner for one.

Anyway, 2000 kilometres in and the SR5 has done the utility bit wonderfully by hauling garden waste and household junk in the tub, plus carting furniture back from a token IKEA trip. Around town though it's not been my favourite. With no weight in the rear it is a bouncy beast on its leaf springs and corners like what it is - a truck.

Boots on the beach

As much as these high-spec utes want to be all things to all people, physics just won't allow it. …

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