Words and Photos: Nicolas Calanoc
Just when I thought truck-driving would take a backseat for a while thanks to our recently concluded C! Pick-Up Comparo a few months back, here I am again with yet another pick-up. What makes this different the second time around is that this particular Hilux is TRD kitted, it’s manual, and it can take a break from the tight competition.
I must say, the Toyota Racing Division outdid themselves with this body kit. They threw subtlety away and made sure that the Hilux TRD would be the meanest looking Toyota, if not in the pick-up competition. It comes with a long list of extras from the a vanilla Hilux like a new front grille, fender flares, TRD wheels, TRD racks and step boards, a TRD skid plate, and a bed liner to boot. All this TRD-ness stops the moment you step in the vehicle, but I wouldn’t consider it a bad thing since the design and materials inside are as great as they can be. Just like any of the Hiluxes, it comes with a cool-blue hue instrument cluster and a chrome-trimmed dashboard with chosen materials that feel like they are meant to last.
The two things different from the AT model we tested were the transmission and a feature designated as iMT (Intelligent Manual Transmission), which, in a nutshell, helps the driver in rev match when he or she is shifting. You will notice its effects particularly when you downshift with a lot of torque on the drivetrain. Instead of a harsh jerk that is bound to happen, a smooth “heel-and-toe” rev match transition would take effect. It may not seem like much, but this was particularly helpful in off-road driving, making sure that power was where it needed without unintended surges.
If there was one thing I was able to prove with the Toyota Hilux TRD 4×4 MT when I spent the day around the volcanic ashes trail with an off-road club is that this pick-up can keep up with the off-road hobbyists with their upgraded and tuned vehicles. Right out of the showroom, the Hilux can easily go off-road. Being new to this scene, I started out cautiously with my approaches, but the Hilux’s capability inspires. As my little victories stacked up, the off-road novice in me transformed to a trail-traversing amateur. If there was any flaw with this Hilux, it would be its lack of a rear parking sensor and/or camera.
Of course, it can be argued that any 4×4 Pick-Up can do what I just did, and that’s true. But it was undeniable that the Hilux can do better than most, made evident with its ease of traversal compared to the others who seemed to struggle. I believe it has something to do with its mechanical superiority that we have clearly seen in the C! Pick-Up Comparo. With the Hilux, there was an undeniable experience with its manual transmission counterpart. It was more involving, more rewarding, and it really felt better to drive compared to the AT variant. With a price disparity of around PhP130,000, the Hilux 4×4 MT feels more worth it compared to the AT, with that extra cash going to the TRD Kit something to consider.
Engine:Inline-4, 2755cc, dohc, 16V, CRDi, Turbo, 6-Speed MT
Max Power: 175 bhp @ 3,400 rpm
Max Torque: 330 lb ft @ 1,400 – 2,600 rpm
0-100 km/h: 11.6 sec.
Top Speed: 190 km/h (118mph)
Fuel Mileage: 13.7 km/L Overall
Price as TestedPhP 1,555,000.00 (with TRD Kit costing around PhP 200,000)
+ The TRD Kit, mechanically superior, excellent to drive
– still feels huge to drive, not as loaded as its competitors, could really use rear sensors
C! Editor’s Rating: 9.0 / 10