Continuing on with the theme of cars that perform beyond the call of duty, today we look at a particular Toyota Hilux. Top Gear, a BBC automotive show, recently set out to test the commonly held belief that Toyota trucks are extremely durable. Top Gear is known for its creative and entertaining tests and this case was no exception.
The staff purchased a Toyota Hilux Diesel with 190,000 miles on it for approximately $2000. The vehicle had some body rust and was battered, but functioned well. They subjected this truck to numerous abuses.
First they drove it around Brsitol, sideswiped a stone wall and drove it into a tree. After prying the fender back, they kept on driving and tethered the truck onto the beach at low tide. The tide came in, the truck broke loose and was completely submerged. It was completely water logged and covered in silt. A mechanic working with only basic tools was able to get the truck drivable again in an hour (they did replace the windshield for safety).
Following the attempt to drown it, Top Gear ran the truck through a shed and dropped a caravan trailer on top of it and hit it with a wrecking ball. The truck sustained further body damage but was still functioning. Finally, they set the truck on fire. Even after this, once the fire burnt itself out, they were able to drive the truck into their set.
This has not been the show’s only encounter with the Hilux. In 2007, two presenters from the show became the first people to drive an automobile to the Magnetic north Pole (as determined by the 1996 measurement).
While these Toyota Hiluxs performed well, the same cannot be said for Toyota overall. This week Consumer Reports dropped Toyota from its position as the most reliable vehicles overall. Toyota now ranks behind Honda, Acura, Scion and Subaru on average vehicle reliability. Previously, even without testing, new Toyota vehicles would be given a reliability of at least “average” based on the overall performance of the manufacturer. Now Consumer Reports will wait and accumulate data for a year before providing any reliability score.
All this just goes to show that there are some spectacularly durable vehicles produced but manufacturers should not rest on their laurels. Consumers are increasingly demanding when it comes to amenities and reliability and will not let companies slide by forever on their past history of good cars.
If you have purchased a car that has not survived its first year or two without numerous trips to the dealer for repairs, you may have a lemon and may have some recourse under existing lemon and consumer warranty law. For more information, travel to my web site. In the mean time, I recommend that you do not drive your car into the ocean, set it on fire, or run it into any buildings.