Toyota has introduced a new top-of-the-line model to the Hilux range called the SR5 Cruiser which sports a new look and a new attitude.
When Toyota announced equipment changes and rear suspension updates to the current Hilux range late last year, it also revealed that the top-of-the range SR5 Limited would be replaced in the first quarter of 2018 by a new SR5 Cruiser with a heavily restyled front end.
The angular design of the Hilux’s front end has not appealed to some, one critic going so far as to refer to it as the “hammerhead shark” but the rejuvenated Cruiser has a much more butch appearance thanks to a new hexagonal grille, and a much squarer front bumper design than lesser models, with heavily revised LED front fog lamps.
The lashings of chrome and the bright alloy wheels of the Limited grade have been replaced by blackened items, like the alloy wheels, radiator grille, door handles, lower front bumper garnish, exterior mirrors and even the name badges.
There are also unique SR5 Cruiser graphics adorning the lower front door panels for further differentiation.
The changes to the Cruiser are largely cosmetic, for it still retains the same 130kW/450Nm 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine from before, as well as the 3500kg braked towing capacity.
It is a friendly beast to drive, especially now thanks to the revised rear leaf suspension which improved the ride quality enormously from the earlier model year vehicles.
The low levels of noise, vibration and harshness from the drivetrain are more than acceptable for a day-to-day, tool-of-trade working vehicle.
All round visibility is very good from the command driving position, and so are the cabin’s ergonomics, but the touch screen plonked in the middle of the dashboard still looks like a bit of an afterthought.
Inside the cabin the trendy black theme continues with new perforated black leather upholstered seats with heaters for the driver and front passenger and the pillars and roof lining are also decked out in black fabric.
The Cruiser has a new instrument cluster with a revised tachometer and speedometer off-set with piano black ornamentation and to make you feel more special for buying its most expensive Hilux, Toyota has also created a new MID opening screen sequence, when you hit the start/stop button.
Standard equipment includes cruise control, tilt and telescopic steering column adjustment, seven airbags, satellite navigation, LED headlights, daytime running lights and fog lights, climate control air conditioning, rear differential lock, six speaker audio, and the all-important reversing camera which makes parallel parking and hitching up a trailer much easier.
But the most impressive aspect of the SR5 Cruiser is the price tag.
In February when Toyota announced its official on sale date, the 4×2 automatic was priced at an RRP $54,690 and the 4×4 was priced at an RRP of $67,790. So it was more or less in the same ballpark as the other top-spec utes from Ford and Holden.
Since the announcement of Toyota New Zealand’s Drive Happy Project, the current Toyota drive-away price (TDP) on the Hilux SR5 Cruiser is now $46,490 for the 4×2 auto and $56,900 for the 4×4 auto.
For a well specified ute with a butch new look, it’s certainly a compelling proposition.
|Model||Toyota Hilux SR5 Cruiser 4×4 auto||Price||$56,900|
|Engine||2755cc, 4-Cylinder, 130kW/420Nm||Drivetrain||6-speed auto|
|Fuel Use||8.5L/100km||C02 Output||0g/km|
|0-100km/h||0.00 sec||Weight||2045kg kerb weight|
|Service||10,000km intervals, 3 year / 100,000km warranty||Load||5.2m3 volume, 2537m length, 1387m height|
|Vitals||3000kg GVM, 925kg payload||Vitals||3500kg towing capacity|