4x4 Ute Comparison: Toyota Hilux TRD

By: Fraser Stronach

Presented by
  • Earthmovers & Exacavators

TRD enhancement gives the Hilux an all-new look but no extra performance. Good thing it’s still a Hilux.

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TOYOTA HILUX TRD PRICE*
SR: $48,490
SR5: $56,390
SR5+: $57,990
TRD White: $60,990**
TRD Black: $61,540**
*2.8-litre 4x4 dual-cab pick-up automatics only.
**Drive-away prices.

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TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development but there are no "racing" or performance-enhancing parts on this TRD as on the TRD version of the previous generation Hilux sold in 2008/09. This TRD does have new hardware but that amounts to just the bash plate – in racing red – and bespoke black wheels. The rest is all styling parts, also generally in black, but the overall result is a very distinctive look for what is otherwise effectively an SR5+.

4x4 UTE COMPARISON
READ THE VERDICT HERE
READ THE FULL COMPARISON HERE

POWERTRAIN AND PERFORMANCE

The TRD is powered by the now familiar 1GD 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel in standard tune. This engine replaced the previous 3.0-litre four in the Prado before becoming the mainstream engine in this generation Hilux and the only engine in the Hilux-based Fortuner wagon. GD does, after all, stand for Global Diesel.

Despite the smaller capacity, and a much lower compression ratio for quieter, smoother and cleaner running (less NOx), the 2.8-litre actually edges the 3.0-litre on power (130kW vs 126kW) and manages a good deal more torque, 450Nm as against the 360Nm the 3.0-litre had in Hilux tune.

All this plays out as you expect. The 2.8-litre is quiet, refined and nicely flexible from low revs, but also more than happy to rev when asked, although at pedal-to-the-metal it doesn’t go noticeably harder than the previous generation’s 3.0-litre.

Nor is it helped in this regard by the new six-speed gearbox that replaced the previous five-speed. The new ’box merely adds an extra overdrive ratio rather than tightening up the ratio spread. In fact fifth is now taller than it was in the five-speed and there’s still sixth on top of that.

No doubt all this is done in the pursuit of fuel economy but in many driving situations, especially at legal highway speeds on undulating country roads, sixth is too tall to hold and sees the gearbox swapping between fifth and sixth. At least the shift quality of this new six-speeder is slicker than the old five-speed and generally on a par with the six-speeders used in the Ranger and Colorado.

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ON-ROAD RIDE AND HANDLING

In this company the TRD feels small and in some ways more nimble. In all of the key measures there’s less of it: smaller cabin, less weight, a narrower track and a shorter wheelbase, all of which often make it easier to drive and manoeuvre.

Still, for all that, the TRD does feel quite "planted" or confident on the road as the other three at all times and also rides a little more sharply at the rear when unladen. The on-road dynamics are still good, especially compared to the last generation Hilux, but in this company others are better.

In keeping with the refined nature of the powertrain the road and running noise abatement is better than the Ranger and Colorado and in some ways as good as the very polished VW.

OFF ROAD

The TRD’s more compact dimensions can also help off road, but the main weapon it brings to the contest here is over a half-metre of rear wheel travel, a class-leading figure and an area of design that saw a lot of attention in the development of this generation Hilux. Throw in a very effective off-road-tuned traction control system, generous ground clearance and good driver’s visibility, and the Hilux is as good as it gets in the company off road.

It could be even better if it wasn’t for the fact that engaging the rear locker automatically cancels the electronic traction control on both axles and not just the rear axle. All of which means the rear locker’s benefit is diluted and in some circumstances may not be a benefit at all. With both the Ranger and the Amarok, the traction control on the front axle says active when the rear locker is engaged.

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CABIN, ACCOMMODATION AND SAFETY

Alone in this company the TRD has the convenience and luxury of smart-key entry and push-button start. Along with the Amarok it also has the luxury of tilt-and-reach steering wheel adjustment, a feature missing from Ranger and Colorado. Being based on the SR5+ also means leather and electric seat adjust for the driver but no heated seats as per the other three. Not even as an option.

As with all Hilux dual cabs the TRD’s cabin offers five-star safety, thanks in part to seven airbags, and has a quality fit and finish that looks a class up from both the Ranger and Colorado. It’s more carlike than the other three, due in part to the large love-it-or-leave-it tablet-style touchscreen that dominates the dash. Of the four utes here, it’s also the smallest cabin, feeling narrower up front and definitely tighter for three adults across the back seat.

PRACTICALITIES AND TOWING

The TRD’s standard towbar, tub liner and soft tonneau all help build on the Hilux’s inherent practicality. If you want more kit there’s an extensive range of other factory accessories – the biggest ever for a Hilux and aftermarket support second to none.

The TRD’s 265/60 R18s are also now a common tyre size, which means a decent choice of options to replace the standard "highway" tyres. Being able to fit 17s means an even wider choice of tyres more suited to off-road use.

As with all 2.8-litre diesel automatic Hilux models, the TRD can legally tow up to 3200kg, which is 300kg short of the Ranger and Colorado but more than the Amarok. If you wish to legally tow 3500kg you’ll need a manual TRD. In last year’s mega tow-test we put 2800kg behind a Hilux automatic and it did it without fuss. Likewise it carried its maximum payload without a problem.

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WHAT YOU GET

The TRD’s signature features include a prominent red skid to offset the bespoke 18s, TRD grille, mudguard flares, lower bumper, sports bar and other details, all in black. It features TRD floormats, auto shifter and leather too. A towbar, tub liner and soft tonneau are also part of the package. The TRD only comes in black or white. Like the SR5 it’s based on the TRD also has auto-key entry, push-button start, climate control, sat nav, digital radio, a premium instrument cluster, driver’s seat-height adjustment, fogs lights, DRLs and a rear locker. And like all Hilux dual cabs the TRD also comes with seven airbags, a reversing camera (accessory for cab-chassis), tilt-and-reach steering-wheel adjustment, cruise control and trailer-sway control.

4x4 UTE COMPARISON
READ THE VERDICT HERE
READ THE FULL COMPARISON HERE


TOYOTA HILUX TRD PRICE*

SR: $48,490
SR5: $56,390
SR5+: $57,990
TRD White: $60,990**
TRD Black: $61,540**
*2.8-litre 4x4 dual-cab pick-up automatics only.
**Drive-away prices.

TOYOTA HILUX TRD SPECS

ENGINE: 2.8-litre 4-cyl turbo-diesel
MAX POWER: 130kW at 3400rpm
MAX TORQUE: 450Nm at 1600-2400rpm
GEARBOX: Six-speed automatic
4X4 SYSTEM: Dual-range part-time
CRAWL RATIO: 36.1:1
CONSTRUCTION: Separate-chassis
FRONT SUSPENSION: Independent/coil springs
REAR SUSPENSION: Live axle/leaf springs
GROUND CLEARANCE CLAIM: 279mm
APPROACH ANGLE: 31 degrees
RAMP-OVER ANGLE: N/A
DEPARTURE ANGLE: 26 degrees
WADING DEPTH: 700mm
KERB WEIGHT: 2075kg
GVM: 3050kg
PAYLOAD: 975kg
TOWING CAPACITY: 3200kg
TOWBALL DOWNLOAD (MAX): 320kg
GCM: 5650kg
FUEL TANK CAPACITY: 80 litres
ADR FUEL CLAIM: 8.5 litres/100km
TEST FUEL USE: 11.7 litres/100km
TOURING RANGE: 634km*
*Based on test fuel use, claimed fuel capacity and a 50km "safety" margin. 

 

 

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