Call me old-fashioned, but a lot of the time, alright most of the time, when I’m asked which model of vehicle I wish to review, I opt for the top of the line version. You see, just as the brands like to show off their fully-loaded edition, I enjoy pushing buttons and discovering … However, when Toyota called and asked which version of their new Hilux Ute I wanted to try out, no-one was more surprised I chose the 2WD Double Cab PreRunner option, than me. For some reason I wanted to reset my ‘luxury barometer’ and when it comes to the Hilux, I’m glad I did.
There was a time when Utes were simply workhorses and not show ponies. They were functional and unglamorous, there to do a hard day’s graft and nothing else. But somewhere along the way, (probably because they’ve become incredibly popular and have been compartmentalised to the nth degree), Ute’s have become domesticated – even seen doing school runs!
Of course, Toyota are well aware of this and have an accessories cupboard that would bling up the most fastidious of rappers plus they have a range of Ute’s to suit virtually all manner of lifestyles – 21 in the current range! But they haven’t forgotten where they began, and still produce a Ute similar to the original 1968 Hilux (a mix between high and luxury) Pick up. Just so you know, the 1968 model bore the N10 chassis code, was a single cab, rear wheel drive, 1.5L four-speed manual. My review model took some of the Hilux core values and added in some modern creature comforts, just as I’d hoped for.
The Toyota 2WD Double Cab PreRunner SR ute runs near the lower rung of the Hilux range but don’t think that it’s been neglected. The 2.8L four-cylinder engine has been redeveloped from the ground up and now provides 130kW and 450Nm of towing torque to the rear wheels via a 6-Speed Auto Box, towing numbers by the way, that achieve a workhorse satisfying 3,500 kgs braked (750kg unbraked) and combined Co2 emissions of 213g/km.
The impressive numbers continue. With an overall length of 5.34m and both height and width numbers that well exceed 1.8m, this is no shrinking violet on the road, and off the tarmac, its 286mm ground clearance, 700mm wading depth and approach/departure angles that are 31 and 26 degrees respectively, this is a Ute that will take you to the places you want to go – well almost. I have to admit to bottling it near the beach, opting to not be the reviewer that got the 2wd ute beached – in fairness, this was probably more my issue than the PreRunners.
The Cabin was a vulcaniser’s dream (and not the Star Trek one). Rubber floor mats, robust plastics, cloth trim, again just what I’d hoped for. None of it felt cheap or fragile, it just felt like a Ute should, the hairs on my chest began to grow stronger. Centre dash was a 7” touchscreen that handled the rock tunes and doubled as a reversing camera display unit. One point of interest here was the distinct lack of annoying proximity beeps – the PreRunner expects you to know the size of your Ute and deal with it accordingly!
The rear of the cab seats 3 people on a 60/40 split bench, that can also be raised and secured out of the way, for when more gear needs to be moved. And move gear I did. As luck would have it, the family and I were in the process of moving house during this review, and the flatbed proved to be just the ticket – no polished floorboards or high gloss finishes, just a coated base ready to receive stuff, ready to work.
Resetting the luxury barometer every now and again can only be good for the soul. It felt good to get my hands dirty and listen to a strong diesel engine going about its business.
Alright, so my review model wasn’t exactly as basic as the N10 (which was advanced in its time), but in fairness, the 2WD Double Cab PreRunner SR Ute did lean more High than Lux, which as you can tell, suited me just fine.
This article was originally published on Tarmc and has been republished with permission from the owner.