Who doesn't relish the idea of getting a good price while getting more at the same time? Such is the proposition of the new Toyota Hilux 2.5 G.
This particular generation of the venerable Hilux pickup has been around for 5 years now, launched as part of Toyota's three pronged International Innovative Multi-purpose Vehicle line up, or IMV. We've driven the 3 liter 4x4 model, but with newer competition in the 4x4 class being offered at lower prices, the range topping Hilux has become a little less convincing. Perhaps the 4x2 2.5G version can change that.
The 4x2 G variant of the Hilux gets the full 4x4 treatment, riding far higher than the E below it, measuring 1820mm tall. The body has quite a bit of testosterone too, thanks to muscular fender flares, step boards, some chrome bits and a proper set of rugged wheels riding on Bridgestone Dueler rubbers.
The interior is the same as the top of the line 4x4 model in all respects. Standard power features include the steering, windows, locks and mirrors, while for convenience, you get a 2-DIN audio unit with aux-in and 6 speakers, a multi-information display (compass, fuel consumption, range, temperature, etc.) and steering wheel audio controls. In terms of safety, the Hilux has the standard complement of seatbelts along with dual airbags, foglamps, halogen headlamps and ABS.
The Hilux may be one of the oldest designs of the current crop of Asian pick up trucks, but it's still one of the largest. There's ample leg and hip room for all 5 passengers, as well as some capacious storage solutions. Then there's the bed which, measuring over 1.5 meters in both length and width, with half a meter of depth, is one of the largest in the class overall.
On the hood, the familiar scoop for the 3 liter model is gone because the Hilux 2.5 D-4D doesn't have a top mount intercooler. Instead of the variable vane turbo intercooler 3.0L engine, the E gets a 2.5 liter turbo diesel driving the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual transmission. Power and torque figures are just adequate, with 102 horsepower and 260 Newton meters, translating to rather difficult acceleration for such a hefty (at 1.7 tonnes) pick up truck body. In flat surfaces and city streets, the Hilux 2.5 D-4D does pretty well, but when taking on an incline or when fully loaded with passengers and/or cargo, it gets a little trickier planning overtaking maneuvers.
Surprisingly, the Hilux makes up for it with a decent ride and rather good refinement for such a rugged truck. Like the rest of the trucks in the market, the Hilux has double wishbones up front and a rigid axle and leaf springs in back, but is sprung slightly softer than the others. Fuel economy is also another redeeming factor, as the 2.5 G returns 10.9 kilometers to a liter of diesel in mixed city driving conditions (heavy, moderate and light traffic).
Except for the lack of power from quite a small engine, the Hilux has a lot going for it. It may not be an exciting drive, but with a pricetag of just PhP 1,075,000 the Hilux 2.5 G offers such a great value for the money.