Owner Review

2002 Toyota HiLux SR5 (4x4) Review

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When I see advertisements of the latest dual-cab utes (that's 'trucks' to Holden and Ford ad gurus), I take it as fact that if you don't tow a jetski/skidsteer/bull to market at least every weekend, you might as well hand in your man license and let your mum tow 3.5 ton on your behalf.

A bloke's ute needs a big cab for four of your obnoxious mates, and a big tray for filling with fish(?) on the boyyyys trip to the Cape. How much of this actually happens, I'm not sure: the number of utes in Brisbane with rooftop awnings just wishing to be one day rolled out at Fraser shows the dream is real.

I previously owned a landscaping apprentice-spec 2.7 HiLux, complete with tip tray to impress the office ladies at the recycling centre, so I was familiar with the utility of Toyota's offering. But the lure of air-conditioning and factory cassette player gnawed at me for too long, and in December 2014 I bought a site-foreman spec 2002 SR5... turbo-diesel.

The 1KZ-TE engine was a different beast to the zingy 3RZ-FE in the old one, its small power band and turbo lag sometimes making for embarrassing upshifts. Speaking of which, the R151 five-speed 'box still feels tight with no play after 199k, a far cry from a Triton of the same era, although shifting is not a snick-snick delight.

Indeed the quality of build shines through today. I do all the maintenance on it, and I tend to replace items as something to do, rather than part failure. The thing tows well, the fuel economy is 11l/100km in town (97% of my driving) and on the highway, and it likes loping around at 70km/h in fourth the best. My dog likes it, it's happier off road than I am and the cabin is comfy. Sure the ride is choppy with no weight in the tray, but perversely I like the way it rolls in corners and crashes over potholes. I just don't know what more I would get from a new ute. Sorry, 'truck'.