It is already three months since the Hilux arrived at CAR’s offices. Since then it has clocked up just over 4 100 km, most of that unfortunately done on smooth tarmac. There are a couple of plans in place to tackle more challenging roads soon, though.
For now I have to admit that I am rather enjoying, and getting used to, driving this bakkie. My previous editor use to say that every household needs a bakkie. Isn’t this statement perfectly true? Already during the first weekend when I took the Hilux home we had a list of things to do with it and, when moving into our new flat in four weeks’ time the Xtra will again do its duty.
During the height of the winter, it suddenly makes even more sense to sit that bit higher for a better view. The other morning I passed three accidents on my 60 km commute to work and at times like those you appreciate the better view the bakkie gives you compared to a usual passenger car that sits closer to the ground.
But you have to drive rather consciously when the roads are wet and greasy. With no stability control system you can’t expect the bakkie to behave in the same way as a car that is equipped with stability and traction control. That makes me even more alert when I drive through traffic. On the other hand – as with almost all the bakkies in the Hilux range – Toyota has equipped it with ABS brakes, important for emergency stops.
And yes, there are times, especially then the roads are wet, when you can turn sharper into a corner and feel the rear axle getting light. In this way it is a very playful vehicle indeed, though admittedly not quite the done thing…
Unlike other extended cab variants in the market Toyota has opted not to offer an additional pair of rear doors. I have to admit that thus far it hasn’t been a problem for me. If you move the front seats forward there is good enough access to the rear. However, I can see how unloading bigger equipment or gear can become a problem.
Otherwise I am glad Toyota hasn’t added the soft aluminium side steps on this specific bakkie, since they are the first parts to get damaged when you go off-road. The optional durabar double tubes on the sides are much stronger, even visually.
The Xtra Cab seems to be a rather scarce model since I have only seen a single one during the past couple of months. Or maybe the area I am living in isn’t exactly “Hilux” country. Are there any owners out there who can give me feedback?
Pros: Engine, looks, long options list, multiple storage spaces, 80-litre fuel tank
Cons: Interior starting to show its age
Fuel economy: 9,8 L/100 km
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