High-powered Toyota Hilux grabs the attention of farmers

There’s a seismic shift going on in the world of pick-ups. It seems as though 2.5-litres is no longer enough for any self-respecting utility truck and over the past 18 months manufacturers have been falling over themselves to bring out 3–litre “flagship“ models.

No doubt aimed at the leisure market, the bigger, beefier models have, unsurprisingly, attracted the attention of farmers wanting better performance for what many class as their only vehicle.

Take the Toyota Hilux. In 2006, when the new Hilux was unveiled, with sculptured body and manly characteristics, it had a clear target audience–those who use their vehicle for leisure as well as work.

In 2007, a 3-litre model joined the line-up and, despite its far–from–inadequate 169bhp, failed to quite match the Nissan Navara’s impressive 2.5-litre dCi, sourced from its higher-specced Pathfinder brotherand putting out 172bhp.

Not one to take such snubbing lightly, Toyota launched the Hilux Invincible 200 last summer, snatching the limelight back from its Japanese counterpart. It doesn’t just edge ahead, either, it uses a Toyota performance kit to boost power by 25bhp, meaning the model we tested had 194bhp to play with.

Because the Navara’s been tweaked to meet Euro 4 emissions, it’s actually lost performance and dropped back to 169bhp.

Toyota knows when it’s onto a good thing. The restyled Hilux boasted smooth lines yet beefy appeal and as many examples of luxury interiors as you’d find in a copy of Homes and Gardens. The Invincible model gains a fair bit of chrome (and certain similarities to US pick-ups) alongside a mesh grille.It’s also high enough to look over even the tallest of neighbours‘ hedges.

Toyota says that despite the considerable hike in power, fuel efficiency isn’t compromised. It claims34mpg combined for the manual, with the auto model we tested coming in just over 30mpg.


It’s a big vehicle, but don’t let that influence your driving impression. Instead of being cumbersome, Toyota has tried its best to keep the weight down.Hitting the scales at 1865kg, it’s by no means the heaviest out there.

With 430Nm of torque and 62mph coming upin a brisk 10.5 seconds, you could be fooled into thinking the towing capacity had improved. Alas, no. It’s still way behind at 2250kg.

Because of the colossal weight of torque, this vehicle doesn’t disappoint through the ranges. The model tested was fitted with a four-speed auto box, which despite seeming a bit alien in a pick-up, appeared perfectly matched to the power increase, taking it from country lane saunters up to motorway blasts without so much as a murmur.

Payload is 1060kg and deck length is 1520mm. Thanks to the height of the deck, it’s well-suited to putting even clumsy items like bales of wrap in.

While chrome and blacked–out windows are about as attractive to farmers as a day spent trawling the sale lines at Selfridges, the Toyota doesn’t look too bling with them. In the back, there’s legroom even for the burly and the leather isn’t so posh that you’d banthe dog from getting in beside you.

Spec-wise, Toyota has always lagged behind the likes of Nissan for luxury offerings. But the Invincible rectifies this, with heated seats, touchscreen sat-nav and six-CD stereo, as well as cruise-control and tinted glass in the back.

Using the traditional independent front and leaf-spring rear suspension, ride is smooth even over the worst of ill-maintained public highways. Despite its size, it doesn’t roll out of corners as you’d expect.

Offroad, it bears the characteristic hallmarks of a Hilux. It might be advisable to opt for the manual version if the vehicle spends a large proportion of its life wallowing in the mud, but the auto seemed man enough.

Even under load and on slippery clay, just a briefdip into low range got the truck through sticky situations, even in its auto guise.

It’s no surprise that the Hilux Invincible 200 failed to disappoint. By concentrating on its core strengths, Toyota has managed to bring a degree of luxury to the previously plain-Jane appeal of the Hilux. One thing though–when can we expect a model capable of pulling 3t?

Hilux stats

  • Price (exc VAT): £21,540
  • Engine: 3–litre D-4D 170
  • Power: 194hp
  • Combined mpg: 34
  • Acceleration (0-62mph): 10.5 secs
  • Towing Capacity: 2250kg
  • Payload: 1050kg

Other 3-litre power houses

Ford Ranger Wildtrak


  • Price (inc VAT): £20,150
  • Engine: 3.0 TDCi
  • Power: 156bhp
  • Combined mpg: 27.7
  • Acceleration (0-62mph): 13.3secs
  • Towing capacity: 3000kg
  • Payload: 1140kg

Isuzu Rodeo Denver Max LE


  • Price (inc VAT): £22,963
  • Engine: 3.0 TD
  • Power: 161bhp
  • Combined mpg: 33.6
  • Acceleration (0-62mph): 10.3 secs
  • Towing capacity: 3000kg
  • Payload: 1060kg

Mazda BT-50 Intrepid


  • Price (inc VAT):£21,448
  • Engine: 3.0 MZR-CD Diesel
  • Power: 156bhp
  • Combined mpg: 27.7
  • Acceleration (0-62mph): 13.3secs
  • Towing capacity: 3000kg
  • Payload: 1200kg

Note: The Mazda and Ford models are from the same stable, hence the similar figures.

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