2024 Toyota HiLux SR5 review

Bruce Newton

Posted July 10, 2024

Toyota's perennially popular HiLux is beginning to show its age against newer rivals in the competitive 4x4 ute segment. Do new powertrain and exterior updates to the best-selling SR5 variant make a difference?

The Toyota HiLux ute is a cornerstone of what makes Toyota so popular in Australia: reliable, predictable, capable and, well, just that tiny bit boring. And yet, here’s the Toyota HiLux in the last year of the current generation’s life becoming a bit of trailblazer. Well, mildly so. In essence, with what it calls V-Active Technology, Toyota is giving the HiLux a small electric boost thanks to a mild-hybrid drivetrain that's claimed to improve acceleration and fuel efficiency.

2024 Toyota HiLux SR5

The Toyota HiLux is almost at the end of its current lifecycle, but a mild hybrid system has given it more life. Image: Supplied.


How much does a Toyota HiLux cost?

The 2024 Toyota HiLux SR5 4x4 dual cab with V-Active Technology will set you back $63,260 plus on-road costs.

The SR5 is the most popular model in the HiLux line-up and V-Active Technology is what many of us would have seen referenced previously in other places as 48-volt mild hybrid.

What Toyota has done is made V-Active mandatory with the powertrain combination of 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine and six-speed automatic transmission version in the SR5 specification. If you want the SR5 without V-Active then you’ll be getting a six-speed manual transmission – and saving about $2600.

Compared to the old HiLux SR5 auto, the price rise is $770, so not that much for a technology claimed to deliver 10 per cent better fuel economy and improved driveability.

Inside the HiLux SR5, there’s a new wireless smartphone charger and a slot to put your phone in the centre console that replaces one of the two cupholders. There are also two rear USB-A ports now.

Carry-over interior gear for the Toyota HiLux SR5 includes fabric seat trim, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connection, AM radio that’s all-important in regional areas, dual-zone climate control with rear vents and a smartphone app that can monitor your HiLux remotely.

The 2024 Toyota HiLux SR5 comes with a five year/unlimited km warranty, up to six years of roadside assistance (but you have to pay for it), short 10,000km/six month service intervals and capped price servicing.

The Toyota HiLux SR5 interior is showing its age.
The Toyota HiLux SR5 has a wireless smartphone charger.

Toyota HiLux exterior design

This generation Toyota HiLux has been around in Australia since 2015, so its fundamental shape is familiar to anyone who has been paying attention.

New black trimmings and dark-finish LED headlights are exclusive updates for the SR5 in 2024, while a new grille and bumpers are more widely distributed among Toyota HiLux variants.

Otherwise exterior equipment levels stay familiar. The HiLux SR5 comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, side steps and a sports bar, but there’s no tub liner or tonneau cover.

In terms of overall dimensions, the Toyota HiLux is now one of the more compact dual cab ute offerings. But at 5320mm long, 1855mm, 1865mm tall and with a 3085mm wheelbase it’s still a sizable beast.

What is the Toyota HiLux like inside?

That compact size – in ute terms, anyway, does the Toyota HiLux SR5 no favours when it comes to interior space.

There are few issues for front seat occupants, but the HiLux is upright and cramped for knee space in the rear. It’s not the type of environment where a tall passenger is going to be comfortable for long.

The Toyota HiLux’s interior is also getting pretty dated. The infotainment screen is small and the resolution unimpressive.

At least the Toyota HiLux still comes from the design age where there are hard buttons to control audio volume and air-conditioning temperature. No drilling into screens with the SR5, thankfully.

Less pleasing is the lack of features and technology for the money you’re paying. If you want a powered driver’s seat or front-seat heating in the HiLux SR5, then its bundled in with leather trim for $2500, which is poor for 2024. That trails competitors in the 4x4 segment.

Storage around the HiLux's cabin is nothing more than average. A double glovebox is the only feature beyond the norm.

The HiLux SR5's tray has the ability to carry up to 900kg, but it can’t fit an Australian-spec pallet between the wheel arches.

The HiLux is at home off the beaten track

The Toyota HiLux SR5 is at home off the beaten track.


Is the Toyota HiLux good to drive?

Most of what you experience behind the wheel of the 2024 Toyota HiLux SR5 will be familiar to HiLux drivers because there are no changes to the car's fundamentals – ladder frame, double wishbone front suspension, leaf spring rear suspension, hydraulic-assist steering and disc/drum brake combination.

With the HiLux SR5 you get quite nimble handling by ute standards, but a pretty rugged ride too. Typical Toyota HiLux basically.

So it’s all down to the HiLux's powertrain. The new enhancements are a motor-generator, a small 48v battery and a DC/DC converter.

The bare essence of it is the battery juices up the motor generator which provides acceleration assistance to the HiLux SR5's engine at tip-in and low percentage throttle, while also saving fuel with the assistance of a new start-stop system.

And it does work. There’s less lag and a smoother response when initially accelerating thanks to the mild-hybrid system. It’s not night and day but it’s palpable. The HiLux SR5's start-stop system is almost transparent in its operation.

And on our test loop we found a consumption improvement average of about 2L/100km compared to the old SR5 auto.

But the higher the engine and road speeds the less impactful the HiLux SR5's system is. The coarse, noisy and vibey nature of the engine reasserts itself.

What is the Toyota HiLux like off-road?

V-Active Technology theoretically makes the 2024 Toyota HiLux better off-road. Low throttle movements should be smoother, and the battery’s regenerative braking should aid downhill.

There’s also a new Multi-Terrain System that provides powertrain and traction tuning in the 4x4 system’s high and low range.

However, the Toyota HiLux is already one of the best utes for off-road driving with its fundamental mechanical grip, so these new features only provide marginal performance improvement.

By the way, the Toyota HiLux SR5 has a claimed 3500kg braked towing capacity but do the gross vehicle mass sums and it only has a 200kg payload if you choose to tow at the maximum weight.

The Toyota HiLux engine

V-Active Technology isn’t a make or break addition to the 2024 Toyota HiLux SR5.


What safety features does the Toyota HiLux have?

Nothing changes when it comes to the 2024 Toyota HiLux SR5 and safety.

It still has a suite of driver safety systems including autonomous emergency braking, as well as seven airbags and a five star ANCAP rating based on 2019 protocols.

One thing it is still missing in the HiLux SR5 is lane centering. That means the HiLux will steer you back to the centre if you’re heading off line, but unlike some rivals it doesn’t have the sensor capability to steer straight if left to its own devices with the active cruise control set.

How does the Toyota HiLux compare?

The new Toyota HiLux SR5’s pricing still positions it in heart of the dual cab pick-up 4x4 segment against traditional rivals.

The HiLux SR5 competes against the class-leading Ford Ranger – the XLT biturbo is the closest model on price. But the Isuzu D-Max LS-U+ and new Mitsubishi Triton GSR are also newer and better utes.

Should I buy a Toyota HiLux?

V-Active Technology isn’t a make or break addition to the Toyota HiLux SR5.

If you’re already a believer in what Toyota offers with the HiLux, then these 2024 updates won’t affect your car-buying decision.

If you aren’t a fan of the Toyota HiLux ute over the years, then the same applies.

In reality, the 2024 Toyota HiLux SR5 is outmoded compared to its rivals in a number of ways including driving quality and cabin technology. It needs an overhaul, and one is coming in 2025.

But what V-Active drivetrain does provide is a glimpse into what electrification can do for the 4x4 ute segment. We’ll get more concrete examples of that with both hybrid and plug-in hybrid utes on the way from other brands in the near future.

The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia Pty Ltd ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.