It is currently Australia’s top selling new car 2-months running and is the undisputed king of the utes. It is Toyota’s remarkable Hilux.The king of imported utes in Australia’s is Toyota’s remarkable Hi-Lux. Back in 1996, the updated Hi-Lux range (basically a running change of the ’89 lineup) boasted 17 models across 2WD and 4WD, three engines (2.4-litre petrol the most popular), two transmissions and four equipment levels. Another running change in ’98 saw the introduction of the 2.7-litre petrol engine and optional ABS anti-lock brakes and SRS airbags.
In 2000, the ‘new shape’ Hi-Lux debuted with an entry-level 2.0-litre engine for the ‘Workmate” model, a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel and upgraded 2.7-litre petrol, engine for the sporty SR5 model.
The 2006 debut of the all-new ‘chunky’ Hi-Lux range featured a 4.0-litre V6 petrol engine (shared with the Prado SUV), a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel and the still-popular 2.4-litre petrol. There’s a bewildering lineup of rear-wheel-drive, 4WD, pick-up, cab chassis and different cab variants.
For 2012 the Hilux has again seen a facelift and is offered in no less than 20 body and engine combinations! With some stiff competition from the Ford Ranger, Mazda BT50 and Holden Colorado, the Hilux has its work cut out to remain king of the workhorses – share your Hilux stories with us below.
Doors & Body Style: 2D Ute 4D Ute 2D Cab Chassis 4D Cab Chassis
Engine Size: 2.7L VVTi (P), 3.0L TD, 4.0L V6 (P)
Driven Wheels: Rear/4WD
Standard Transmission: 4A, 5A, 5M
Dollars & Cents
Poor Condition Average Condition Retail
(M) 1996 $3,500 $4,100 $6,000
(M) 2000 $6,900 $7,800 $11,200
(M) 2004 $9,400 $10,800 $14,400
On The Road
With its decades of segment-dominating sales success and cupboards overflowing with various ‘Car Of the Year Awards’, the Hi-Lux just has to be good and it remains good as a used car. If your budget can stretch to a post-2000 model you will be getting a much better vehicle than the earlier versions. Hi-Lux has been popular with private buyers as well as fleet operators such as tradesmen and couriers who spend hours behind the wheel of their vehicle every day. Both groups have the same requirements of their utes - a good load capacity, performance, economical whole-of-life running costs (fuel efficiency and servicing costs) plus creature comforts in the cabin. Hi-Lux delivers on all counts. With its massive range of ute bodies, petrol and diesel engines and cab chassis constructions, there is a Hi-Lux to suit just about everyone.
What To Look For
The popularity of Hi-Lux with rental fleets and heavy-duty commercial operators means there are many tired Hi-Lux used vehicles on the market. Shop around to get a feel for the levels of wear and tear and what influence they have on prices being asked. Look at the interiors, particularly the drivers’ seat and foot well around the pedals for signs of damage from work boots etc. In your test drive, make sure the engine starts easily, idles smoothly and does not blow smoke. Gears (manual or auto) should select smoothly both going up and down through the ‘box. Listen for any signs of whining from the rear differential. Under the bonnet, check for signs of any oil leaks and the condition of the coolant fluid. Look at the tyres for any unusual wear patterns
The Final Verdict
+ Popular because it’s good - Many are knocked around
+ Massive range of bodies and trays - Lots of ex-rentals influence market
+ Strong petrol and diesel engines