Toyota Hilux SR5 6 Speed Manual Review


2018 Toyota Hilux SR5

We had the opportunity to drive an unusual Hilux for the last week. The Toyota Hilux SR5 6 speed manual transmission isn’t a very common variant. Usually at that specification level the overwhelming numbers are automatic transmissions.

We have tested the Hilux SR5 AT a number of times before and it was a finalist in the OzRoamer COTY awards. To say it is a good Ute is an understatement.

Once the range topping version, there are now some special editions that sit better equipped and more specifically equipped such as the Rogue and the Rugged X.

Australia is one of the most competitive Ute markets in the world and demand for a better class of Ute has increased.  We are seeing a shift upmarket and upsized as well with the likes of the RAM Trucks 1500 soon to be for sale.

More buyers are wanting more features, more SUV like interiors, more luxury,  better handling, better towing capability, better economy with more power, more crossover ability from work ute to family adventure chariot.

Which makes the SR5 6 Speed Manual even more unusual.

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Toyota Hilux SR5 6Sp MT External

Externally there is no difference between the MT and AT. The latest Hilux has a very distinctive grill and protruding nose. I actually like it but many don’t. The SR5, as you would expect, has plenty of external bling like LED headlights and daytime running lamps as standard, front fog lights, a sports bar in the tub, chrome radiator grille, chrome rear step and new 18-inch alloy wheels which are fitted with a new 265/60 R18 highway tyre that is designed to assist with fuel economy without compromising handling.

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Toyota Hilux SR5 6Sp MT Internal

Internally, apart from the obvious difference of transmission lever there is little difference.

Our SR5 was fitted with the optional pack that included leather seats, which were well worth it. Front seats are heated and the driver’s seat is electronically adjustable and very comfortable. No extra lumbar support though. There is enough slide for even the tall drivers to sit and with the height and reach adjustable leather steering wheel, everyone can get comfortable.

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The dash has a two dial blue light style with a MFD between. Very clear and easy to use and read. The steering wheel frames the dash perfectly, some vehicles, when you drop the wheel, you lose the top of the dash from sight. The wheel itself feels great in your hands and houses the audio and MFD controls.

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The cruise control is the familiar stalk below the indicator stalk. I actually really like this simple and functional system. Indicator and wiper stalks are slightly higher than the steering wheel spokes to allow for clear sighting. Both high and low beam for the headlights are excellent for standard lights as are the fog lights,

Toyota has the slide out cup/bottle holders below the side vents, a brilliant idea copied from Isuzu.

The centre console is uncluttered with the transmission lever and a select for drive mode button. In front are two cup holders and behind a clever storage area. The centre console is padded on top and reasonable size.

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The select on the fly dial for the 2WD/4WD system is located just below and to the left of the steering wheel. This sits alongside the rear diff lock, downhill descent control and traction control switches. Just above are the A/C controls etc.

The rear seats are comfortable for three people and they have more knee clearance, a top-tether anchor and two ISOFIX child-restraint anchors, and a 60-40 split-fold rear seat base with central armrest and A/C vents which is a bonus.

Heavy duty rubber mats adorn the floor protecting the plush carpet underneath and increasing the practicality of the vehicle.

Toyota Hilux SR5 6Sp MT Features

Sitting proud on top of the centre stack is the 7 inch screen that houses Satellite Navigation, Toyota Link, audio system etc. It works well enough but Toyota keeps refusing to include Apple Car Play and Android/Auto and that is a pain for some drivers. Sometimes the touch screen is a little insensitive, requiring extra force for the touch.

Top-of-the-line SR5 also has:

  • keyless smart entry and start,
  • automatic air-conditioning,
  • Heated front seats
  • chrome door handles,
  • premium steering wheel and shift knob,
  • an alarm,
  • auto-levelling LED headlamps,
  • front air conditioned cooler box capable of heating or cooling two 600ml bottles,
  • Auto on/off LED Headlamps with auto-levelling and LED daytime running lights (DRLs),
  • 2 12V accessory plugs, 220V accessory socket, USB input and silver interior highlights.

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Toyota Hilux SR5 6Sp MT Engine and Drivetrain

The MT and AT Hilux are both powered by a 2.8L high-torque turbo-diesel engine. The manual produces power of 130kW @ 3,400rpm and torque of 420Nm @ 1,400rpm. This translates directly to a more relaxed driving experience.

While the 6Sp MT isn’t my first choice the ratios match perfectly to the engine and allow the maximum use of power and torque. First gear is very low and you find yourself quickly changing to second gear. You can cruise comfortably around town in 5th gear at 60 km/h, and 6th gear is more suited for 80 km/h plus.

However there is reasonable acceleration in 6th gear as well and the Hilux will happily cruise well above the speed limit. We managed about 8.2L/100K over many hundreds of freeway driving and about 11.7L/100k around town.

The Hilux allows the driver a choice between normal, economy and power for the transmission. These really do make a difference by recalibrating the match between gears and engine revs.

The transmission is smooth and really easy to use. Overall the 6 Sp MT is amongst the better Ute transmissions. But I would still take the AT every day of the week, simply because it is much easier to drive for us lazy drivers.

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Toyota Hilux SR5 6Sp MT 4WD Capability

There really is no need to discuss the 4WD ability of the HiLux. It is superb.

The Hilux has always been an outstanding 4WD Ute and it is now even better and stronger with unique underbody protection and heavy duty suspension package. The shift on the fly features an electronic 4×2 & 4×4 transfer switch and a rear diff lock.

In tough situations, the manual transmission has a unique feature. Just hit the button to engage intelligent manual transmission (i-MT). It then maintains optimal revs to help you change gears smoothly and help avoid stalling. (Standard on SR5)

Again it always has been a good tow vehicle, but felt lacking at times. The torque and the low rpm delivery now means that towing with the Hilux gets a big tick.

Toyota Hilux SR5 6Sp MT Dimensions

The SR5 6 Sp MT Dual Cab has an

  • overall length of 5330mm,
  • wheelbase of 3085mm,
  • width of 1855mm and
  • Height of 1815mm.
  • Unladen ground clearance is 279mm.
  • Approach angle is 31 degrees, rampover is TBC and departure angle is 26 degrees.
  • Wading depth is 700mm
  • Turning circle is 12.4m
  • GVM of 3000kg, GCM of 5850,
  • Kerb mass of 2075kg and Payload of 925kg.
  • Towing capacity is 3500kg and tow ball rating is up to 300kg depending on reduction in GVM.

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Toyota Hilux SR5 Safety

Safety is an ever moving feature on cars and more importantly Utes. The Holden Colorado currently leads the regular pack with safety features, however the MB X Class and others such as the RAM 1500 etc are pushing the envelope even further.

Hilux SR5 has a 5 star ANCAP safety rating and features include:

  • 7 SRS airbags
  • Active Traction Control (A-TRC),
  • Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)
  • Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)
  • Traction Control (TRC)
  • Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD)
  • Brake Assist (BA)
  • Hill-start Assist Control (HAC),
  • Downhill Assist Control (DAC) and
  • Reversing Camera
  • Trailer sway control

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Toyota Hilux SR5 6Sp MT Fit for Purpose

How do you assess the fit for purpose of a vehicle that is asked to do everything?

As a family run around the Hilux SR5 MT Dual Cab Ute is a little cramped in the rear for leg and knee room for teenagers etc. Having 4 adults is even more cramped. It does have isofix points. The issue here is that you need at least a tonneau cover or preferably hard lid for the luggage.

It is longer than a SUV for shopping centres and doing the school run or soccer run it has more limited seating.

As a work Ute, it really is more for the foreman or business owner. It will accommodate a reasonable payload, but the true trades’ person would probably opt for a single cab tray back.

As a recreational 4WD vehicle the SR5 comes into its own. Its 4WD credentials are up there with the best, as is it towing capability and the tub back allows all manner of life style items, like scuba tanks, dirt bikes, etc to be transported with ease.

However, the Hilux, as an all-round balanced vehicle fits the purpose better than most other Utes.

A wide range of Toyota Genuine accessories – including many produced for the first time – have been developed in tandem with new HiLux, including airbag-compatible bull bars and an industry pack to meet the requirements of mining, construction and other industrial users. The new range is covered by Toyota Service Advantage capped-price servicing at $180 per service^^.


The Toyota Hilux SR5 offers more SUV-like features including an improved compliant ride, quieter cabins and higher levels of comfort and convenience.

The six speed manual transmission is very easy to use and smooth even around town in peak hour traffic. However just because its good, doesn’t mean I would pick it over the automatic transmission.

The Toyota Hilux continues to be a premier 4WD Ute. Recent improvements have made it better and stronger. It is now better at towing and driving off road while cocooning the occupants in more comfort and style. To be honest I have never met a buyer that has regretted buying a Hilux.

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What is Good:

  • Towing ability
  • Comfort and features
  • 4WD ability

 What is Not so Good:

  • Missing some safety items
  • MT is good but go for the AT
  • No Apple CarPlay®/Android® Auto

Model    Toyota Hilux SR5 Dual Cab Ute 4WD

  • Model Price $59,782 RDAP
  • Engine 8L 4Cyl CRD Turbo
  • Drivetrain 6 Sp MT 4WD
  • Power               130kW @ 3,400rpm
  • Torque 420Nm @ 1400rpm
  • Safety               5 STAR ANCAP
  • CO2               223g/km
  • Economy ADR 5 L/100 km
  • Servicing Capped Price
  • Tow Rating 3,500 kg
  • Tow Ball Rating 350 kg
  • Warranty 3 Yrs / 100,000 km 3 Yrs Roadside Assist

Overall UteGuide Rating: 89/100

  • Behind the Wheel 9
  • Comfort               9
  • Equipment               8
  • Performance               8
  • Ride & Handling 9
  • Practicality               9
  • Fit for Purpose 9
  • Towing Ability               10
  • Off Road Ability 10
  • Value for Money 8
2018 Toyota Hilux SR5


The Toyota Hilux SR5 offers more SUV-like features including an improved compliant ride, quieter cabins and higher levels of comfort and convenience.

The six speed manual transmission is very easy to use and smooth even around town in peak hour traffic. However just because its good, doesn’t mean I would pick it over the automatic transmission.

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