YEAR after year, the Toyota HiLux variant keeps smashing monthly sales numbers. It’s been Australia’s top selling vehicle for many years. That was until 2020, when it hit a few bumps in the road, and was knocked off the top step of the podium.
Gone are the days of the standard ute, likened to a mechanical mallet. The makers of the tradie trucks have instead focused on making their work horses more like cars, and not just in their styling, to attract a wider audience.
Which brings us to the 2020 Toyota HiLux Workmate Hi-Rider 4×2 Double Cab. It’s no longer a humble tradie truck in exterior looks, interior or capability. It’s had a growth spurt, and now looks like the worker version of a pickup.
Measuring 1.85 metres tall, it has a hand up to be drafted as a power forward for the NBA, so watch out Lebron James. The HiLux is also long, coming in at a whopping 5.35 metres.
One might think this is because we were test driving the Hi-Rider Double Cab version, but the Single Cab Chassis variant is only 10cm shorter. You only have one size choice with the 2020 HiLux, and that’s mega.
Its almost as wide as it tall, sitting at a width of 1.81 metres. So, if you’re a tradie who was waiting for the day the HiLux grew up, then 2020 is your year.
You really need start to think ahead about where you will park up this beast. If you are in any metro region for work or play, you will struggle to find a parking spot, and when you do, it will be tight. But if you’re lugging tools and hardware, that’s a minor technicality.
The new HiLux has a mean and aggressive front end, while from the side you can see how beefed up it’s become. At the rear, the white Toyota letting across the tailgate harks back to a long held tradition.
The only eyesore you’ll experience when gazing upon the HiLux are the 17-inch black steel wheels. If your keen for something a little more attractive you’ll need to go aftermarket, or step up to the SR5.
Another thing to be conscious of is that the tray is not coated or protected. You are going to see scratches even with the lightest of loads moving around. Our suggestion is to install a tray liner and reduce the wear on that paint.
Hop on up into the cabin, and you’re met with a technology forward space, even in this base model variant. Toyota have been building workhorses like this for many years, and they have nailed the standard inclusions.
For instance, smack bang in the middle of the dash is an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen display, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connected via a USB port.
We’ve treated the ‘you-beaut ute’ as a second office ourselves in previous careers, and smartphone connectivity is a game changer in terms of navigation and communication, and again, a handy inclusion in the base model HiLux.
The 2020 HiLux WorkMate has climate control sorted with traditional dials and buttons, and there’s a small 4.2-inch multi information display wedged between the speedometer and tacho.
The steering wheel is well-laden with useful controls such as phone, cruise control, and volume control. But the standard two speaker sound system is mediocre at best, with noticeable bass distortion on loud volumes.
Don’t be expecting anything flash in terms of upholstery either, it’s standard black fabric for you. That said, it’s comfortable, functional and appropriate.
There are convenient dual cup holders in the centre, and a generous space for water bottles and other bits and pieces in the doors. It rides amazingly well too, and while it’s a little stiff over some lumps and bumps, overall, it’s good.
Sporting a sturdy 2.4-litre turbo diesel engine pushing out 110kW of power and 400Nm of torque, the HiLux can be had in either a 6-speed manual or an identical auto. Braked towing capacity allows for up to 2.8 tonnes.
An overhaul of the engine management system has also helped improve power delivery, with more responsiveness across the entire rev range. The steering and suspension ducks and weaves effortlessly between lanes and turns. It’s a nimble, despite its big body.
The HiLux Hi-Rider is loaded with Toyota’s Safety Sense package, with lane departure alert, pre-collision safety system with pedestrian and daylight cyclist detection, road sign assist, and active cruise control.
Add in the ABS, stability control, driver/passenger SRS airbags, and a reverse camera, and it’s no surprise that the HiLux hits 5-stars on the ANCAP safety ratings. All you have to do is choose the spec you want your 4×2 HiLux Hi-Rider in.
There’s a few options, with double or singe cab being the first choice you’ll have to make. Then you’ll need to decide if it’s cab-chassis or pickup, petrol or diesel, and finally manual or automatic.
Priced at $45,650 (drive away), the 2020 Toyota HiLux Workmate Hi-Rider 4×2 Double Cab really deserves a test drive. Our test vehicle was sprayed with Nebula Blue but is also available in Glacier White, Silver Sky, Graphite, and Eclipse Black.
Our test vehicle was provided by Toyota Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Toyota HiLux Workmate Hi-Rider 4×2 Double Cab, contact your local Toyota dealer.