Sadly, all good things come to an end and, at the time of writing, the Hilux was seen disappearing from sight over the horizon, sniff, sniff. It’s not surprising to see why SA’s best-selling vehicle is so popular among locals. Bakkies typify our culture, whether they’re workhorses or practical leisure vehicles. Despite some heavy competition in the form of the impressive new Ford Ranger this last year, the Hilux continues to outsell its nearest competitor (Isuzu’s KB) by almost 4:1.
This has been my second extended period with a Hilux: the first was a lengthy spell with 4×4 single cab, while this last jaunt was with the 4×2 Xtra Cab you see pictured. Having driven and enjoyed both body styles without a hint of trouble in almost 40000km between them, I must admit the future of the single cab body style looks doubtful as a lifestyle purchase. I feel the 400mm of extra cabin space in the extended cab doesn’t hinder the rear load bay length too adversely (as there is acres of space available in the single cab) but the added cabin space for belongings behind the seats, in the floor compartments and with the carpeted seating space and back rest providing temporary accommodation for small passengers if needed.
As mentioned previously, Toyota could have utilised the space available even more practically, while the ease of ingress and egress is better on the Ford thanks to the design of its clever fold out suicide doors. The Xtra Cab remains the most sensible option if you want the track record of trust in the Toyota badge. Added to the more practical security it offers over the single cab, the Xtra Cab (now R24000 more expensive than in April 2011) is almost R54 000 more affordable than the equivalent 4×2 3.0 D-4D double cab option and if the Xtra Cab is used for business, one can also claim the VAT back, making it even more attainable.
I’ve used the Xtra Cab frequently over the last months to explore the outdoors and the Cape’s many dirt trails, more often than not to go mountain biking. If you have interest in mountain biking you will already know of the 29-inch wheel revolution that has become the preferred choice, over the smaller diameter 26-inch hardtails that used to be the standard, due to their easier rolling characteristics over rough terrain. This has seen a mass migration to the bigger rimmed format locally, making most of the older 26-inch wheel hardtails almost redundant.
I predict the Xtra Cab will prove to be a similar attraction to lifestyle bakkie buyers over the single cab in time, as the Xtra Cab does offer the best advantages of both luggage space and interior space, security and accommodation. A good quality canopy, like the Carryboy version (R20000) fitted by SA Canopy to our Xtra Cab on arrival, also proved to be dust proof, secure and practical throughout its stay, thanks to its roof rails. This model, although pricey, also featured tinted windows, a high level rear brake light and fairly aerodynamic, aiding fuel consumption. The D-4D’s average monthly consumption also dropped over its 12 month tenure from 11.17L/100km when the engine was new to an average of 8.8 litres/100km with 20000km under its belt. This translated to a fuel tank range of around 870km per 69-71 litre tank in the end.
Running costs also dropped from R1,10/km at the start to 80 cents/km with more miles under its belt. But as the diesel price increased over the latter half of its tenure these costs averaged around 86c/km.
All in all, we’ve had nothing but strong, reliable service from the Hilux and Toyota’s Culemborg dealer at its 10000km service, it continues to provide one of the strongest options in its segment and much of the original’s styling concerns have been addressed with the recent facelift (pre-facelift pictured.)