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A Yeti owner adds the Toyota Hilux to his garage: 8 likes & 8 dislikes

The vehicle has solid build quality, with well fitted panels and good paint quality. The fit and finish are pretty good.

BHPian SushilBajpai recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I begin this thread with what I like and, what I don't - in Hilux. I have barely driven it 250 kilometers. I intend to edit and update this post with time to make it more meaningful.

What I like

  • Hilux definitely appears very rugged. Rugged is not same as strong. My Skoda Yeti would have similar (if not more) strength, but might not be as rugged. In short Hilux exhibits a strong build quality and durable construction.
  • The Hilux doesn't care about speed breakers or potholes, and after sometime neither do I.
  • The front row seats are comfortable with generous support. Cabin is spacious. All knobs, switches and controls are easily accessible.
  • Pretty good "cargo bed", making it my potential Toyota 207.
  • Toyota dependability and reliability.
  • Great view of the road ahead and high seating. This is especially good for me at night as I do not get as blinded by the headlights of the oncoming traffic, as much as, in a car with lower seating.
  • Ability to install a tow hook. I need this capability to be able to tow my sailplane trailer.
  • Reasonable amount of safety features, like seven airbags!

What I don’t like

It is easy to make a long list of what I do not like, when one migrates to a new car. This is especially true for people who have been spoiled by living with Skoda Yeti as their go-to vehicle for the last 13 years.

  • Bumpy and wiggly ride. Lack of refinement compared with my earlier rides. Makes me feel all the imperfections of the road.
  • The feel of steering is a bit vague. I compare it with Honda City, Skoda Yeti and BMW GT-3. I may change this opinion with experience.
  • Toyota i-connect is fiddly. It took Toyota more than 10 days to activate the communication module in the car. Even now it is throwing errors, and Toyota appears clueless about what to do.
  • No ADAS! This is a bit ridiculous, particularly when it is available in HyCross. Manufacturers like Toyota need to proactively promote safety.
  • Non-adaptive cruise-control. Cruise control is a waste of time and in my opinion potentially dangerous - if is NOT adaptive.
  • Uncomfortable rear seats are well known for all pick-ups.
  • Believe it or not, Toyota does not provide a printed Manual, nor a soft copy in PDF format. Instead they want one to read the very poorly implemented rendition of owner's manual on an equally buggy app. This is simply not acceptable.
  • My biggest gripe is for Toyota to not provide even a simple tonneau cover. They could at the very least provided a water-proof tarpaulin cover that fitted smartly on the bed. It would have made the bed immediately useful. I am now struggling with how make this cover. There are after-market offerings that require drilling and are semi-permanent in nature. I am loath to spend a lakh or more on a solution I might not want a few months later.

The Quest

We have been looking for a companion/supplementary vehicle for our Skoda Yeti for sometime. Yeti has served us very well and we love it. It has taken us places far and high. At thirteen years, she needs a little more care. We considered several vehicles. The ones close to driving dynamics and refinements from the stable of WV/Audi/Skoda like Tiguan/Q3/Kodiak are not the same as what they were, besides being priced as if they were made of gold. The fantastic TDI motor has been withdrawn. DSG is not the most reliable, even-though brilliant to operate.

Hycross would have been a vehicle of choice. It is a hybrid. It was launched at a tolerable price-point. It is comfortable and ergonomics are spot on. Being from the stable of Toyota, we could assume high reliability. We liked what we saw. But dealers kept saying there is wait-list running into years. I can not fathom a waiting period that long with a manufacturer, who has a propensity of being extortionist with unpredictable upward price revisions.

The Fortuner and Hilux were way out of budget. That's last year.

We also considered pre-worshipped cars. We would scout the Team-BHP classifieds and other places. However, we felt that the pre-owned car prices too had sky-rocketed. Either people were reluctant to part with the cars or the market dynamics driven by chip shortages was contributing to intended or unintended shortages.

My son decided to have a fresh look at Hilux around March 23. I was not sure at all whether we wanted Hilux. Yet I somehow liked what I saw and felt on the test ride. Still, I was not convinced about the price and VFM.

Mehul went looking for good prices in Mumbai, Delhi and Pune. Around beginning of June, he got some excellent offers in Delhi and Mumbai. He also opened a dialogue with Shaw Toyota in Pune, and finally got a deal that made us look at Hilux with seriousness. Shekhar Choudhari and Pandurang Barate from Shaw Toyota, Pune were patient, professional and saw through the negotiations and showed the car in all its glory.

My wife loves to drive "any car". But she too has got spoiled by other cars. She was most reluctant about purchase of another car, when in her perception we did not really need one. In the end she reluctantly deferred to the two boys in the family. She loves us as much as she loves the cars.

The compromises

We sacrificed comfort and handling for reliability and ruggedness. It is difficult for me to understand whether the lack of refinement is to enhance durability or simply because Toyota found an excuse to cheap out. I am pretty certain (unlike what Toyota might like Hilux owners to believe), durability and reliability can co-exist with refinement, sophistication and comfort.

The list of features that have been left out:

1. Adaptive cruise control

2. Paddle shifters

3. Toyota ADAS features

4. 360 deg camera

5. TPMS

6. At least a basic bed cover (even if offered as an accessory)

We hope that the trade-offs and compromises will payout in their own time.

I also have a vague feeling that Hilux will outlast my ability to drive a car. That thought alone makes me fall in love with Hilux with all its imperfections.

The Dealership Experience, the First Ride and the Booking (June 11, 2023)

We mainly interacted with Mr Shekhar Choudhari and Mr Pandurang Barate of Shaw Auto at Pune. They were patient, cooperative and pleasant. The experience at dealership was always nice.

When I went to have a first look and a test ride, it was obvious that Shekhar was in love with Hilux. Shekhar explained the instruments, switches, and controls. We went around the town with Hilux, and with difficulty found a place which could be called mildly off-road. I first sat behind. The worse was not so bad. The seats were upright, but I did not find the ride bone jarring. Sitting up front, in driver's seat was definitely comfortable. The visibility was good and the view "commanding"! I could easily see four/five cars ahead and that helped anticipate the road conditions well. Hilux is a big car and I was quite wary of other drivers coming in my way. Yet it was surprisingly easy to drive.

After that single short drive, we booked the car. We considered different colours. Mehul appeared inclined towards a red, which was ruled out by my wife and I, as being too loud for us. Dark grey would show the scratches easily - something that Robin would inevitably mark on the car, as she jumped in and out of it. We settled for silver.

This was June 11, 2023.

Pre delivery Inspections

Shaw Toyota called on 22nd June that vehicle was available in the stockyard for initial inspection.

Mehul and I went to the stockyard in the evening of June 23rd. The monsoon had set in Pune only a day earlier. Washed by the fresh rain, the car looked nice and clean. TeamBHP checklist in hand, we went about inspecting the car. This is the time it begins to dawn that this vehicle will spend its life with us. One begins to look at it differently and with little extra love.

We were in for a genuine surprise when looked at the VIN sticker on the windshield. The car was manufactured on 17/06/2023 and delivered to Shaw Toyota on 22 Jun 2023. It had clocked 19 km on the odometer. Can't possibly ask for a more fresh piece!

Everything else looked in order and we provided our nod for the dealership to go ahead and prepare for registration and delivery.

At the Showroom

The car was ready for delivery on 26th June. We reached the showroom around 1600 hours. The car stood nice and shining. Once again, the TeamBHP checklist and final inspection. It passed that without any hiccup. We sat down to look at the paperwork. Registration, Insurance, FasTag were all in place.

Once again Shekhar and Pandurang were there at each step ensuring all went well.

Most of the free accessories were in place. For some inexplicable reason, while Toyota could manufacture the car at double-speed, it could not equip it with the floor mats. Dealership did not have then either.

On Road Price and Discounts

Much has been already written about the discounts on Hilux and the denial of their existence by Toyota. So will not delve into that.

I was upfront with Shekhar that having made a decision to purchase Hilux, I will feel shortchanged if, I later heard that someone else got a better deal. Therefore, it was a question of Shekhar's (and by that implication Shaw Toyota's) credibility, that was on line. In the end, I believe we got a deal that was better than any which I have seen so far, as far as the all-inclusive final on road price we paid.

Extended Warranty and Service Packages

We have chosen a five year and 1,50,000 km extended warranty. We shall choose the Service Packages when the vehicle goes for the first service at 1,000 km.

The Toyota Assure insurance from ICICI Lombard is Comprehensive, Zero Depreciation, Return to Invoice, Engine Protect, Tyre and Alloy protect, Windshield, Convenience etc. I believe it is as comprehensive as it gets.

There is also three year Toyota Road Side Assistance

Accessories

The deal was sweetened further by giving a bunch of accessories free of cost. There are a plenty of "cosmetic" accessories made by Toyota. But strangely, the one that they have not thought about and which, I missed most was a simple tarpaulin bed cover. We chose for the following accessories - mainly because they were offered for free (included in price we paid and not billed separately):

  • Over Fender
  • Side Visor
  • Wheel House Liner Set
  • Side Molding
  • Fender Mirror
  • Scuff Plate
  • Front Under Run
  • Air Compressor
  • Car Cover
  • Rubber Mat AT

Engine Type, Variant and Safety kit

We have chosen Diesel HI AT variant of Hilux. In our opinion, this was the natural choice. I already find the clutch in Yeti on the heavy side. I can't imagine myself driving with manual gear shift, something that already looks and behave like a truck.

This car came equipped with seven airbags, ABS, ESC, Traction Control, Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Control etc. However, it has no ADAS feature. Neither are they offered in any variant.

Build Quality, Fit and Finish, and Panel Gaps:

The vehicle has solid build quality, with well fitted panels and good paint quality. The fit and finish are pretty good.

The interior of the car offers a practical and functional layout (read utilitarian). The quality of material is used is generally good, with sturdy plastics, and durable leather upholstery. The design lacks some modern flair. The focus appears to be on providing robust long lasting cabin that can withstand rugged usage. Yet I feel that at places this has been used as an excuse for cost saving.

Continue reading BHPian SushilBajpai's review of his Hilux for more insights and information.

 
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