There are many pickups in the market, but few are as special and as storied as the Hilux. Toyota has done well to market itself as a reliable car brand, and the products themselves also speak volumes about Toyota’s reputation for being one of the cornerstones of the car industry across the globe. Everywhere you look, there is a Toyota vehicle parked somewhere or rolling down the road, but the model we have here is not a Toyota for the road—it’s for everywhere and every job that you can imagine.
The 2021 Toyota Hilux Conquest is definitely a car that you don’t want to miss out on if you are looking for a pickup, but is it good? Does it still ride as bad as before?
Engine Output (HP), Acceleration, Transmission, Handling 4.5/5
Exterior & Interior Design, Quality, Fit and Finish, Ergonomics 4.0/5
Cabin Comfort, Suspension, NVH Insulation 4.0/5
Convenience Technologies, Active and Passive Safety Features 4.0/5
Amount of the vehicle you get for the price, Fuel Efficiency 3.0/5
- It's a Toyota
- Improved power delivery
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- No leather seats
- No major interior refresh
Before we get into the more mechanical stuff about the Hilux, we must cover the exterior design, and what a design it is. While some people don’t like how the new Conquest looks, we think that it’s a pretty decent-looking truck. Purposely matte instead of glossy, the Conquest looks more rugged compared with its predecessor, but it doesn’t detract from the handsome look of the new model. The black plastic cladding gives the vehicle a more masculine look, which is sorely lacking from the non-Conquest variants. Still, we cannot ignore that the Hilux does look the part and has a lot of new visually appealing elements that make it a tough-looking SOB.
The lights in the front are slightly different compared with the last iteration, but the real difference is with the taillamps. Instead of a couple of boring bricks, Toyota added LED bars. We’re very content with the change because it looks so good at night, giving the truck a really energetic look even when the sun goes down.
Toyota has even dialed-back the ‘Conquest’ decals in favor of a cleaner look compared with its predecessor. Back then, Toyota tastefully applied the Conquest branding at the tailgate, resulting in a tramp stamp of sorts. Now, you won’t have to subject the people behind you to gawk at such a sight. Instead, the Conquest decals are applied in the rear quarter panel of the car. The font is also cleaner, which we’re very happy to see. Overall, it’s a great-looking pickup truck. Is it the best out there? We’d argue that there’s better, but it’s not bad. We wouldn’t be ashamed to pull up in one.
While we got uber excited about the exterior, the interior is—for lack of a better and kinder word—unexciting. The old Conquest was critiqued in the past because it had a rather bland interior. Now, however, we have brands like Ford that are pushing the envelope and making pickups with attractive interiors and amazing attention to detail. In other words, you feel special sitting in the interior of other pickups, unlike the Hilux.
It’s not all bad. It is a workhorse so don’t expect it to have trimmings of an exotic sports car. The upholstery is fabric, but that doesn’t make it unusable. It’s black so it hides stains, but for the price that the Hilux commands, we would have wanted motorized seats to go with the pickup. At the very least, we were expecting leather seats, but that wouldn’t possibly match the motif that Toyota was going for. To put things into perspective, leather is more harder-wearing than cloth, but it is also more luxurious. Perhaps the appeal lies with the blue-collar appeal of a cloth interior rather than a leather one—kidding. We’re really bamboozled as to why we’re still seeing cloth interiors being supplied with the Hilux—a quick trip to the upholstery shop will solve this issue.
We don’t want to beat on the Hilux too much, but it’s much of the same story as the last Conquest. Cloth seats, a tight rear seat, and interior trimming that is a bit uninteresting and more durable than anything.
Expect the ride to get better once you add weight to the car, but a bit harsh with only one or two people in the cabin. It won’t make you carsick like the lower-end G variant, but the Conquest is very pickup-like in its ride, giving a feeling of strength rather than plushness. Other pickups weren’t as harsh, but they weren’t buttery-smooth either so the Hilux isn’t considered that bad. If you set your expectations right, it performs a bit worse than its competition in this area.
Although, we cannot fault it for being noisy. The diesel engine was exceptionally quiet on the highway. Wind noise was kept to a very decent minimum, and road noise was acceptable. Some pickups will run into some trouble at speed, but as long as the roads are paved, the Hilux will give you a comfortable ride.
We’re happy to announce that the Hilux Conquest finally comes with a decent infotainment system and a backup camera. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay come as standard, and you also get a larger screen compared with the lower trims coming in at 8 inches in size. There are also parking sensors around the car just like the previous Conquest.
Apart from that, the gauge cluster is the same as before, so nothing new to report. Functionality is still the same offering up your trip information as well as other data like your fuel consumption metrics, but we’re happy that Toyota has kept the push-start ignition as well as the keyless entry. While the team is used to having cars with push-start ignitions, the average Juan will appreciate the convenience of a keyless system.
Onto the more practical side of things, one feature that we find deserves attention is the assisted tailgate. While we weren’t able to haul cargo during our time with the Hilux, sitting on the tailgate and putting it back when we were ready to depart was undoubtedly easier.
The Hilux Conquest gets driver, front passenger, driver knee, side, and curtain airbags. You also get an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA). Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) is also present along with Hill Start Assist (HSA) and Downhill Assist Control. There is also an emergency brake signal, which flashes both turn indicators if the vehicle is coming to a stop hard. You also get an engine immobilizer for security and ISOFIX tethers for child seats.
Overall, the kit that comes with the Hilux is a good standard for the segment. Though, we feel that Toyota could have done more like add in the Toyota Safety Sense package just to bring the Hilux up to the level of the Ford Ranger or Mitsubishi Strada.
Driving and Handling
Since we had equal time with the G variant of the Conquest, we’re happy to report that there is a remarkable improvement over the ride and drive of the top-of-the-line variant versus the middle child G variant. Because of this, handling was improved, but it wasn’t that great, to begin with, after all, it is a pickup truck, not a Supra. For what it’s worth, the ride is definitely more planted. The rear doesn’t skip as much so that allows us to take corners at a faster pace with confidence.
Engine performance is also pretty good compared with the pre-facelift and the lower variants. To give you some perspective, the diesel motor of the Toyota Hilux Conquest has 201 hp and 500 Nm of torque which is some of the highest power and torque figures in the segment. The Conquest has more power than the Toyota 86, and the same amount of torque as a Supra, and it certainly feels like it, only heavier and taller. Both the acceleration and the accelerator response are pretty good. The old variation of the 2.8-liter turbodiesel was torquey enough, but the new iteration gives a lot more grunt and feels more lively and eager than before.
Stop and go traffic was no problem since the 6-speed automatic is as standard as they come. The transmission was still slow to shift, unfortunately, but we’ll say that it shifts smoothly off the line and at speed. There was no noticeable jerkiness from the gearbox, which is a win in our books.
Navigating city streets in the Conquest was a bit daunting. Less experienced drivers may get intimidated by the weight or the steering and the length of the car. Though, once you get used to it, piloting the Hilux becomes second nature. You just have to contend with the steering and the actual weight of the car. The parking sensors make life easier for you as well, without it you might clip something or someone, but good thing there are parking sensors for you to use.
For fuel consumption, we were able to get 8 kilometers per liter in the city in traffic. During a stint on the highway going at 90 km/h, we were able to get 15 km/L. If you find yourself driving without traffic, expect about 11 kilometers per liter. Similar to that of the 2.4-liter but slightly worse.
Combined fuel consumption gives us a figure of 8.35 liters per 100 kilometers. It’s not the most frugal pickup, but it does quite a good job of not burning a hole through your pocket.
Verdict and Price
However good the Hilux is, you can’t enjoy it if you can’t afford it, and unfortunately, you pay a hefty sum for the Toyota-ness of it and the fact that it is a pretty great car. As tested, expect to pay P1,850,000 for the Conquest variant. It does have a 4x4 system, but if you want the top-of-the-line you’ll have to pay through the nose to get it.
That being said, the main gripe that we have with it is the price and the accompanying features. Thankfully, Toyota was able to give the Hilux some much-needed upgrades like a backup camera and a fully-featured infotainment system, however, we’re not too sold on them skipping out on the Toyota Safety Sense suite of features that would have sweetened the deal even more.
That being said, the Hilux still falls slightly Behind the Ford Ranger or Isuzu D-MAX in terms of its feature-set, but it equals the Nissan Navara, Colorado, and the Mitsubishi Strada in our opinion. The thing is, however, none of the other cars we’ve considered are Toyotas, obviously, and in that regard, the Hilux stands on its own, in a way.
Performance201 hp @ 3,400 rpm
Name Toyota Hilux Conquest 2.8 DSL 4x4 AT (Emotional Red) Body Type Pickup Truck Price ₱1,957,000 Transmission Category Automatic
Engine Size 2.8 L Displacement 2,755 cc Number of Cylinders 4 Number of Valves 16 Transmission Type 6-Speed Automatic Transmission
Drivetrain Four-Wheel Drive Max Output (HP) 201 hp @ 3,400 rpm Max Torque (nm) 500 Nm @ 1,600 rpm *Acceleration Rate (0-100 km/h) n/a Top Speed n/a *estimated
Economy & Environment
Fuel Type Diesel CO2 Emission n/a Fuel Capacity 80 L *Fuel Consumption 8.4 L/100 km *Range n/a *estimated
Length 5,335 mm Width 1,855 mm Height 1,815 mm Wheelbase 3,085 mm Turning Circle 6.4 m Ground Clearance 279 mm Wading Depth 70 cm Trunk Capacity n/a Max Cargo n/a Number of Doors 4 Number of Seats 5
Safety & Security
Driver's Airbag Front Passenger's Airbag Side Airbags Curtain Airbags Knee Airbag Auto Brake System Electronic Brake Distribution Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)
with Electric Brake-force Distribution with Brake Assist
Immobilizer Security Alarm Stability Control Electronic Door Locks Speed Sensing Door Locks ISOFIX Lane Departure Warning System Blind-Spot Detection System
Cruise Control Front Parking Sensors Rear Parking Sensors Leather Upholstery Push Start Button Wheel Size 18 in Wheels Metal Type Alloy Airconditioning System Automatic Climate Control Entertainment System 8-inch Touchscreen with AM/FM via 6 speakers Connectivity Bluetooth, USB, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Smart Device Link Navigation Ready Warranty 3-years (100,000 km) Keyless Entry Roof Rack Sunroof Electric Adjustable Seats Power Steering Power Windows Power Outlet Steering Wheel Audio Control
Active Park Assist Hill Start Assist AWD Modes n/a Tire Pressure Monitoring Heads-up Display Power Liftgate Start-stop System
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