Getting the job done
It may not be fitted with all the bells and whistles, but the Toyota Hilux workhorse has been driving the economy forward for decades.
Usually when a vehicle manufacturer sends out its test fleet it focuses on the more impressive, and expensive models. For the Hilux, for example, we are far more likely to get a double cab Legend 50 on test than one of its ‘lesser’ brethren.
But every now and again we journalists get to drive the more basic models, and it wasn’t long ago that Toyota sent me a Hilux single cab 2.4GD manual, and I couldn’t help but be impressed at the no-nonsense approach to getting the job done.
Obviously the most impressive thing about the Hilux SC is that it is based on the very same architecture as every other Hilux, all the way up to the Legend 50. That means it is built to last and to do the hard yards. A newly developed ladder-frame chassis means that it remains work-focused, while a range of engine options is available in the Hilux range.
The engine is this particular model was the 2.4 GD (Global Diesel), which replaced the 2.5 D-4D a few years back and produces a load more power and torque. In fact, it’s not far off the old 3.0 D-4D engine in terms of power (110kW as opposed to 121kw), and actually has more torque than the old 3.0 D-4D, at 400Nm as opposed to 343Nm. It’s a great engine that is incredible quiet and refined, and has more than enough oomph for just about any commercial application that could be demanded of it. Our test vehicle was fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox that is well suited to the commercial nature of the vehicle. A sixth gear would be nice on the open road and would reduce fuel consumption, but other than that the mechanicals are hard to fault.
On the road the Hilux SC is far more comfortable than its predecessor, but because it is set up to work for its supper and carry a load, the ride is still quite bumpy when the vehicle is empty. That disappears when the vehicle is loaded, though, and the bumpiness is easy to live with since you know it means the suspension is up to handling a heavy load without complaint.
Because it is aimed at the business owner there aren’t many unnecessary embellishments in the interior of the Hilux SC. There is power steering, obviously, and there is a 12V power socket, and there are electric windows up front, door ajar warning and lights warning, but not much else. Air con can be fitted, and it should be in this sweltering country of ours.
What Toyota definitely hasn’t skimped on is the driver aids: ABS braking with Brake Assist and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution is standard and adds greatly to driver safety on the job. Two airbags up front are standard, as well as a knee airbag fir the driver, while a comprehensive anti-theft system is present.
Overall, driving the Hilux Single Cab leaves you feeling a healthy dose of respect for a vehicle that does what it says it will do, day I and day out, with nary a word of complaint.
The Toyota Hilux Single Cab 2.4GD S manual is priced at R309 300, and comes with a 9-service /90 000km service plan and a 3-year/100 000km warranty.
Absolutely reliable drivetrain
Basic, no-nonsense workhorse