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Toyota Hilux Tipper review

  • Fully Toyota-approved Hilux tipper conversion
  • Product of new Toyota Trade Plus programme
  • One-tonne payload and five-year warranty

Toyota is working hard to build back up its light commercial vehicle (LCV) business in 2017 after years of what’s probably best described as mild neglect. As part of this process it’s launching a new range of authorised conversions as part of the Toyota Trade Plus programme – hence the new Hilux Tipper we’ve got here for review.

What is the Toyota Hilux Tipper?

You’ve heard of Ronseal? This is quite simply a tipper conversion for the latest Hilux pickup, although given the complexities involved, calling it simple is doing the converters – Bristol-based TGS Group – something of a disservice.

Toyota Hilux Tipper review - side view

Announced at the CV Show 2017, the Hilux Tipper is available as either a two-door Single Cab or a four-door Extra Cab, and we’re testing the latter here.

Where can I buy a Hilux Tipper?

As a Toyota Trade Plus product you can go into any Toyota LCV dealership and order a complete Hilux Tipper – not quite off-the-shelf, but without the hassle of dealing separately with a third-party converter.

Toyota Hilux Tipper review - tailgate detail

This process not only saves buyers time; because the partner converters involved in the Trade Plus programme are thoroughly vetted to make sure they meet Toyota’s criteria, the whole vehicle measures up to the standard warranty length.

That means the Hilux Tipper is covered for five-years or 100,000 miles. Which is pretty compelling.

How is the Toyota Hilux turned into a Tipper?

Toyota doesn’t sell a Hilux chassis cab in the UK, so the rear tub is removed from a standard pickup, and a tipper bed with associated electro-hydraulic control system added instead.

Toyota Hilux Tipper review - dropsides lowered

The tipping frames are fully galvanised to reduce corrosion, the sideboards are anodised aluminium and have a dropside function for additional load area access, while the rear features a two-way tailboard hinge mechanism.

Toyota Hilux Tipper review - tipper mechanism detail

There’s a prop to ensure safe working when the tipper bed is upright, and a wander-lead so you can activate the hydraulics from a safe distance as well. An audible warning sounds during operation, and Toyota assures us the system has hose-burst protection in case of overloading.

Toyota Hilux Tipper review - gantry detail

A powder-coated gantry protects the back of the cab; the Toyota-logoed central panel rather restricts rear visibility, however.

What are the Hilux Tipper load area dimensions?

These are the bed dimensions for the Extra Cab Tipper:

  • Load area length: 1,850mm
  • Load area width: 1,800mm
  • Standard side height: 300mm
  • Estimated payload: 1,000kg

The only difference between the Extra Cab and the Single Cab is the additional length available for the Single Cab’s load area, as you'd expect – in this instance extending to 2,350mm – which in turn results in a slightly lower payload estimate of 930kg.

Unlike the regular Hilux pickup, there is no intrusion into the load bed by the wheelarches; as you can see from the pictures, the tipper body sits above them. This also explains the relatively low side height of the bed.

Toyota Hilux Tipper review - side view, tipper bed raised

Also worth noting is that the tipper body is 1,900mm wide – so it sticks out slightly beyond the sides of the cab.

What’s the Hilux Tipper like to drive?

Unfortunately, we were only able to test it unladen, so can’t comment on any potential stability issues created by the height of the load area.

This proviso aside, it’s very much like any other Hilux. The Extra Cab only comes in the basic Active trim-level, so the interior is a little sparse but appears to be very well put together, and boasts a design far more modern than most pickup rivals. It’s a pleasant place to be.

Toyota Hilux Tipper review - cab interior view through open crew cab doors

There’s a little more wind noise generated by the squarer shape of the tipper bed – which you can see projecting beyond the cab’s confines every time you look in the door mirror – but the engine is impressively silent for a working truck, and there’s minimal vibration.

We weren’t overly bothered by the limited rear visibility caused by the gantry, but it’s certainly worse than a standard Hilux.

Toyota Hilux Tipper review - front view driving through town

More typical is the limited performance from the Toyota’s 2.4-litre turbodiesel engine, which packs just 150hp in a sector where approaching 200hp is becoming more common. Its 400Nm of torque means it handles weight ok – and tows 3.5 tonnes – but acceleration is not even brisk.

The ride is also rather jittery without any weight over the back wheels, and the manual gearbox is best described as long-winded.

Toyota Hilux Tipper review - rear view driving through town

None of these negative elements would put us off if the Tipper – and its five-year warranty – was right for the job. They’re minor niggles, rather than deal-breakers.

Any other Toyota Trade Plus conversions we should know about?

Other confirmed Toyota Trade Plus conversions are a Hilux dropside – so the tipper body without the lifting mechanism, essentially – and a refrigerated Proace, though we’re told more are planned.

Two new Toyota-endorsed Bri-Store racking kits are available for the Proace, too (though not in conjunction with the fridge, obviously).

For more complex conversions, a Toyota Authorised Converter programme is also in the process of being set up.

How much does the Toyota Hilux Tipper cost, and what’s standard equipment?

The conversion is a £3,795 on top of the price of the truck, which means a total of £22,498 (basic, excluding VAT) for the Single Cab and £23,744 (ditto) for the Extra Cab.

Standard kit on the Active trim level that forms the basis of the Tipper includes:

  • Four-wheel drive with locking rear differential
  • Seven airbags
  • Downhill Assist Control (more familiarly known as hill descent control)
  • Electric windows
  • Bluetooth, aux-in and USB connection
  • Air-conditioning
  • Alarm

Specific Tipper options include a Meshmasters kit that basically cages the load area (£1,645), reversing sensors (£250), reversing alarm (£105) and various visibility features including LED strobes and graphics.

Toyota Hilux Tipper review - cab interior, steering wheel, dashboard, gearlever

As for running costs, there are no official figures, but we’d expect a slight dent in the official 40.4mpg fuel economy of the Extra Cab pickup due to the poorer aerodynamics of the Tipper body, and maintenance will be slightly costlier due to the Tipper’s additional complexity.

Our standard insurance profile from mustard.co.uk came out with an annual quote of £536.84.

Insurance quotes are from mustard.co.uk and are based on a 46-year-old self-employed married male living in Hertfordshire with nine years NCD and no claims or convictions. Insurance quotes will vary depending on individual circumstances.

Verdict

Though the shallow, high-mounted load area means it probably won’t be suited to every task, Toyota and TGS have done a great job of this Hilux Tipper conversion.

If you need a rugged, relatively compact tipper solution with moderate off-road capability it’s well worth further investigation – especially given the reassurance of that five-year warranty.

Also read:

>> The full Toyota Hilux review on Parkers Vans

>> The Parkers Vans pickup group test - every major model compared

>> Toyota launches two official conversion programmes at CV Show 2017

>> New pickups coming soon