So, you want a bigger ute, well that’s simple, brush the family and get a single cab that allows for a tray longer than a lorry. Now while I’d hate to exaggerate, the Toyota HiLux does have a bloody long tray. This isn’t the only thing I took away from my week with the Toyota HiLux Workmate Single Cab 4×4, but man it’s long at 2550mm.
What is it?
A ute with two seats and the most legendary badge you can drop cash on. I won’t get involved in ute wars, but I will say this. The HiLux in any configuration is bound to get the job done over and over again for a very long time. That’s why when you head west or north into the tropics that’s all you see, along with the LandCruiser 70 series which is entirely made of granite.
Clearly this variant, one of 32, is made for work. Especially when the 4×4 option is ticked, as in this case. While it may look rather simplistic, I can tell you even right down the order of the HiLux range, things have come a long way.
Behind the Wheel
Considering some of the cars we drive at EFTM, it was a real novelty to hoon around in the Workmate. I can assure you it wouldn’t have been a novelty if it was sub-par. People think the Suzuki Jimny looks like a hoot, it’s not, at least on road. In fact, I found it to be utter crap.
See the HiLux is inherently built well and as a result drives well. Not a bad wrap for a rear leaf-sprung unladen one-tonner, what was I going to put in it? I live rural, but flogging hay bales is frowned upon.
With the 2.4L turbo diesel up front, easy to use six-speed manual and just a general feeling of fitting into my local community for once, I felt good, really good. Without weight in the back, the ride is as choppy as the Sydney to Hobart, but you’d expect that.
Better still there’s a simple but nice 6.1-inch infotainment screen to look at, all the passive and active safety features you’ll need and almost laughably – active cruise control.
The cabin is comfy with plenty of knooks to store things, plus a dual glove box my Father-In-law points out is a key feature, of his 1998 model.
The 2.4L turbo diesel produces 110kW/400Nm with the all-important torque coming in at 1600rpm – 2000rmp which is what makes it an enjoyable drive. The Toyota has a payload of 1240kg, but of course that’s variable depending on how fat you are and the weight of the tray, which is 140kg. Without going into the really deep details it’s good for 1100kg.
The HiLux Workmate 4×4 can also tow 3500kg (braked) when the six-speed manual is selected, auto sees it drop to 3,300kg (braked). 4×2 models are only good for 2,500kg, once again braked.
Under the Toyota Safety Sense banner, the simple ute scores Lane Departure Alert, Pre-Collision Safety system with pedestrian and daylight cyclist detection, Road Sign Assist and Active Cruise Control. Just don’t expect satellite navigation, a reversion camera or Apple CarPlay.
Why would you buy one?
I think at this level, it’s an educated call. It’s not cheap but I feel there’s far more customer confidence in a HiLux when it comes to actually using it for work.
There’s massive jump up from the Single Cab Workmate 4×2 to the 4×4 when it comes to price. A full driveaway price is quoted as $44,656 on the Toyota website. The RRP for our Nebula Blue with tray is $40,260.45. If you drop the 4×4 and go for the 4×2 single cab, it’s just $27,846 driveaway. But the HiLux is a top seller fora reason, it just works. It’s a 7.9 out of 10 from me.