Introducing the new Toyota HiLux Workmate

Workhorse ute 'surprisingly civilised'

This is advertiser content for Toyota.

The 2020 Toyota HiLux Workmate 4x2 petrol five-speed manual with the general-purpose alloy tray is the cheapest ticket into a brand-new HiLux.

The RRP starts from about $28,000 on the road (with small variations by state), however, this model has been on a drive-away offer of $24,490 drive-away for the better part of the past 12 months.

This generation of the Workmate 4x2 contains advanced safety such as radar cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, speed sign recognition and lane-wander warning.

That's in addition to a total of seven airbags (yes, even for the single-cab variants) and standard fare on the entry-level Workmate includes air-conditioning, power steering, power windows, remote central locking and cruise control.

With the most recent update in mid-2019, Toyota put the fancier instrument cluster from the dearer models in the HiLux range, but unlike more expensive models in the range, the steering wheel has tilt adjustment only (not height and reach) and the driver's seat lacks height adjustment.

Outward visibility is good thanks to the large glass area and wide-view side mirrors.

The warranty is five years/unlimited kilometres for private buyers, and five years/160,000km for commercial and business buyers.

Service intervals are six months or 10,000km and Toyota capped servicing costs on this model are $190 for the first six visits up to 40,000km or 24 months. Beyond these limits, the cost of servicing is negotiable, but likely higher than the capped-price program that is subsidised by Toyota.

If you haven't driven a proper workhorse ute before, the first thing you'll notice is how firm the rear suspension is. That's because it's designed to carry up to a tonne (it varies depending on the weight of the tray itself) and tow up to 2500kg.

However, by workhorse ute standards, the Toyota HiLux Workmate 4x2 is pretty comfortable. The front suspension and the heavy-duty road tyres do a fair job of dealing with bumps and thumps.

The steering is light and precise, and the turning circle is tighter than its bigger HiLux 4x4 siblings (11.8m versus 12.7m) even though the wheelbase is the same length, because the skinnier front tyres can turn at a sharper angle than the wider off-road rubber and there are no CV joints to accommodate.

The 2.7-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is relatively refined (122kW/245Nm); however, the fuel economy average on the rating label is comparatively high at 11.1L/100km. We didn't do extensive fuel economy testing of this model because uses and loads vary greatly. The heavier the traffic, the load or the trailer, the more fuel you will use.

Unladen, it should return fuel economy numbers in the 8-9L/100km bracket - around town it will be closer to 11L/100km or higher.

The clutch action is light and precise, and the shift action of the five-speed manual is relatively smooth and it's easy to grab reverse (down and to the right, below fifth gear, and no collar to lift).

The engine revs a bit high in fifth gear at freeway speeds, so a sixth ratio would improve fuel economy and cut engine noise.

The verdict?

The Toyota HiLux Workmate 4x2 petrol manual is surprisingly civilised and built ready for work. At this price, it is easy to see why it's Australia's top-selling workhorse ute.

This is advertiser content for Toyota.