So, road conditions have been taking a dip over the past few years and suddenly a 4X4 is not just suited for off-road conditions, it makes sense over city streets as well.
Meet the Toyota Hilux 3.0, the answer to your daily pothole-ridden dilemma.
The marque needs no introduction as over two million satisfied owners worldwide will vouch for the Hilux.
A quick search over YouTube returns a number of videos of what the truck is capable of doing; it’s no wonder that the Hilux 3.0 is the vehicle of choice for desert duellers and timber tycoons around Sabah and Sarawak.
Over the years, though, the Hilux has evolved to be more than just a hardcore off-road machine – it is now the truck of choice for many just to go about their daily chores around the city.
I know of many drivers who have never even used the rear bed of the truck, yet prefer driving around in their Hilux than some luxury car.
This is because the Hilux is robust, the diesel engine is economical, and it drives like a car.
And we agree with these observations as it really does share quite a lot with a regular car, besides the obvious size and the truck-like vertical dashboard, that is.
Couple these points to the design of the new Hilux and you have a good-looking truck with car-like agility on tarmac and the capability to see off the most challenging of terrains.
On the move, the Hilux is silent and the suspension surprisingly comfortable.
The rear fixed axle does return the occasional skip and hop but that’s about it. Place a blindfolded passenger in the front seat for a cruise along the highway and it would be hard for him to figure out whether he’s in a car or a truck – such is the versatility of the Hilux.
But the similarities across the Hilux range end there because the 3.0 variant has a few more tricks up its sleeves than its lesser siblings.
Firstly, its 3.0-litre engine comes with a Variable Nozzle Turbo that improves torque and fuel consumption while producing 160hp and a massive 343Nm of torque.
Just for the record, that’s enough power for it to deal with 500kg of goods on the rear bed or to tow anything up to 1,500kg!
Inside, the 3.0 features an Optitron meter panel that enhances visibility and a multi-information display at the centre of the dash that provides you with everything from the time to the compass display.
Our test unit also came with a Bluetooth-enabled DVD player that plays MP3s and your favourite CDs.
It also comes with a built-in GPS and reverse camera, handy when you’re in the middle of the woods and can’t find your way out.
Starting at RM83,700 for the manual 2.5, and up to RM107,250 for the top-of-the-line 3.0G that we tested, the Hilux 3.0 truly offers a unique balance between power and off- and on-road versatility.