Imagine taking your car anywhere and we really mean places where you would call inhospitable. We are driving through a forest on the outskirts of Rishikesh and there is virtually no road here. There are massive rocks and loose surfaces but it seems from behind the wheel you do not feel anything. The Toyota Hilux that we were driving marches on without a sweat. It is one of the toughest cars in the world and shares its origins with the Fortuner but is built more towards hardcore off-roading. It can take a beating and is the ultimate go-anywhere lifestyle pick-up.
The lifestyle pick-up segment is still nascent in India but is slowly changing with a shift towards more lifestyle-oriented cars and a thirst for the outdoors. That has instead fuelled demand for 4×4 vehicles and that is where the Toyota Hilux aims to tap into a new segment for those who like camping and going far away on the weekends.
Built on a ladder-frame chassis, the Hilux feels indestructible much like the Fortuner but here the focus is even more so. It looks cool as well with being huge in size and being fitted with off-road spec tyres. The massive grille can even swallow a hatchback!
The suspension and the 4×4 system make rock crawling very easy and it can wade through deep waters as well. India gets the double cab pick-up version and that means seats at the back while the vast pick-up bed can hold a lot of luggage. We camped in Rishikesh with the accessories bringing a bed cover and even a tent! Rishikesh is beautiful and the mystical surroundings of being somewhere remote is indeed one of the joys of off-roading.
You literally take it anywhere and the massive tyres along with the ground clearance takes you there with no fuss. Sure, it feels huge in the city but you soon get used to it and of course it has an automatic gearbox. It is also well equipped for such a hardcore off-roader with most of the creature comforts on offer. While it weighs 2.3 tonnes, the Hilux gets a torque rich diesel engine with 500Nm of torque along with more than 200 horses. As a result, it has the firepower to tackle those nasty surfaces while also being a comfortable cruiser. The top-end Hilux is priced at Rs 36.80 lakh and that seems pricey but factor in the appealing butch looks and the capability on offer then it is very much a fun alternative to an SUV!