Published on July 12th, 2016 | by Amirul Mukminin0
2016 Toyota Hilux 2.8G (AT) Test Driven
Since its first introduction in Japan in 1968, Toyota Hilux has established as one of the toughest and most reliable pick-up trucks available, especially among business owners seeking for a versatile ‘companion’. It became one of Toyota’s most successful global products, sold in over 180 markets around the world and assembled in 12 of them.
While it was designed and equipped with commercial purposes in mind, the Hilux was becoming more popular as a daily passenger vehicle – a trend that took off in the late 1970-s. Now in its eighth generation, the Hilux is set out to set a new benchmark in the segment with bolder styling, tougher architecture and a better powertrain.
Offered in single cab and double cab forms, the Hilux comes with a stronger appearance, with well-chiseled body lines for a balanced look. The front fascia features newly designed headlights flanking a chrome grille with horizontal bars. Not much changes in the back, except for new LED tail lights that are integrated in the decklid.
Specifically, the 2.8G variant we tested tops the range with the most complete set of equipment. It gets LED projector headlamps that come with LED ‘eyebrows’. It has a function that stays on for 30 seconds after the engine is switched off, so it won’t get too dark when you come home late. On top of that, there are front fog lamps and 18-inch alloy wheels.
Compared to the seventh-gen, the new Hilux in its double cab form is 70 mm longer and 20 mm wider. The bigger dimensions result in 286 mm of ground clearance, which is high enough to evade obstructions such as flash flood – something that happens frequently around Klang Valley.
Open the door and you’ll be greeted by a well-thought-out cabin with apparent SUV traits. With a tidy dashboard design and premium materials, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that you are driving a proper pick-up truck. Add the leather-wrapped steering wheel and plush 8-way power adjustable seat to the mix, the Hilux makes a great daily driver.
Of course, all the good stuff goes to the 2.8G and this includes a Lexus-esque instrument panel with blue illumination with a multi information display (MID) separating the tachometer and speedometer. Settings can be customised using the 4-way switch on the multifunction steering wheel.
In addition to the spacious cabin, Toyota has also provided plenty of storage spaces and cupholders, as well as a cooled upper glovebox to keep drinks cool. In fact, the front cupholders are positioned in front of the air vents for this purpose. Like an SUV, the rear bench is fitted with an armrest with integrated cupholders.
The Infotainment System
The Hilux 2.8G is equipped with a 6.1-inch touchscreen with functions such as DVD player, USB/AUX/Bluetooth compatibility as well as reverse camera. A voice recognition system is also offered with the optional DVD-AVN system, so you can keep your hands on the wheel at all times.
It is also the only variant to come with six speakers, a luxury commodity even by today’s standard. All of the 2.4 models get four speakers, while the workhorse single-cab variant is equipped with just two.
Engine and Transmission
The new Hilux marks debut of the new 1GD-FTV diesel engine with 2.8 litres of displacement, replacing the 3.0-litre unit in the previous model. It may be smaller, but the new heart pumps out 9% more power and 31% more torque than before at 177 PS at 3,400 rpm and 450 Nm from 1,600 to 2,400 rpm. The increase in power is apparent, even with minimal throttle input. Speaking of which, not much is needed to get the truck moving at desired speeds and this makes overtaking easy.
Power is channeled through a six-speed automatic Super ECT gearbox that does controlling electronically for smoother and faster gear shifts. Those accustomed to a more aggressive style of driving may use the Power Mode button near the gear shifter as many times as they like. On the greener side of the spectrum, an ECO mode is provided for a more relaxed approach.
For some off-road action, drivers may switch to the 4H or 2H modes using the Electronic Transfer Dial. It can be done without stopping if the vehicle is going below 100 km/h. A Rear Differential Lock is also available for use in difficult conditions.
The eighth-generation Hilux is based on an all-new ladder frame chassis that is stronger than before thanks to 45% more spot weld points. The stiffness is evident in the drive, even more so every time we come across uneven road surfaces, but there’s enough comfort considering the fact that it is a truck. Its stability especially at high speeds on the open road is also worth a mention.
Three days may not be enough, but the Hilux wasn’t shy to express the SUV traits it has been blessed with. The cabin is something we find that stands out most in terms of design and execution. The latter refers to the impressive Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) levels. Thanks to the extensive use of insulators and linings, unwanted noise from the diesel powerplant is well suppressed.
Its size doesn’t stop us from taking the Hilux to packed spots such as a shopping mall. Its hydraulic power steering enables effortless maneuvering around the tight parking space, while the reverse camera makes reverse parking the more easy, even with a total body length of more than five meters. Those who always shop at IKEA should be looking at the Hilux right now.
With a price of RM133,900 (on-the-road including GST and insurance), the Toyota Hilux 2.8G offers an out-and-out complete package whether or not you own a business. It has everything you want – a well-equipped cabin with a premium atmosphere, a powerful drivetrain and capable handling. Combined with a cargo space that hauls half the universe and an array of electronic assists, the Hilux is an irresistibly unique offering.
Toyota Hilux 2.8G (AT) Specifications
Engine: 4-cylinder DOHC intercooler VNT diesel
Capacity: 2,755 cc
Power: 177 PS @ 3,400 rpm
Torque: 450 Nm @ 1,600 – 2,400 rpm
Top speed: –