15 December 1995

More windows and doors for Toyotas Hi-Lux 4×4

BRITAINS best selling 4×4 pick-up has sprouted an extra pair of windows and doors.

Badged Doublecab, the four-door Toyota Hi-Lux was first unveiled in October at the London Motor Show. Since then 85 of the stretched cab pick-ups have found homes with UK buyers.

Although this figure only represents a small share of total Hi-Lux sales – Toyota expects to sell 1850 standard 4×4 pick-ups in the UK this year – the Japanese firm predicts longer-term growth for the Doublecab, which has been on sale in the rest of Europe for eight years.

So who are these potential Doublecab buyers in the UK? Main interest is likely to come from construction and utility markets, with some specialist applications in agriculture. But Toyota also hopes to make an impact in the lucrative leisure sector. Should the Doublecab find a niche among "kids on the rear seat, dog in the back" buyers, Toyotas 350-unit estimate may look conservative.

On farms, the stretched cab is a compromise. Seating may have increased to five but, to make room for that extra three-seater bench, load deck area has shrunk by a hefty 30%+. Payload remains the same, at 885kg, but only before you start loading up with passengers.

Otherwise, its standard Hi-Lux: 2.4-litre 78hp diesel engine, five-speed gearbox, free-wheeling front hubs and leaf-sprung suspension.

The Doublecab will certainly make sense for some. If you like the pick-up format, need crew/family carrying capability and are prepared to sacrifice some load area, then this pick-up should be on your options list.

But before rushing down to the nearest Toyota showroom, there is a sting in the tail. HM Customs & Excise regards the Doublecab as a passenger carrying vehicle and, as such, VAT is non-recoverable. Knocking 17.5% off this Hi-Luxs £16,468 price tag will not be an option for most buyers. &#42


Doublecab differences (Toyota Hi-Lux 4×4 pickup)

StdDouble

Overall height

(mm)1,7601,805

Load deck length

(mm)2,1601,435

No of seats22 + 3

Price (£ inc VAT)15,15216,468

(ex VAT)12,895N/A