Last year's winner HiLux SR5 is still a great unit but improvements to Ford Ranger just pushed the Toyota back to second this year. Although the 2.8L 4cyl turbo-diesel engine is refined, HiLux’s overall performance wasn’t quite up to the other contenders. But HiLux’s drivetrain is very smooth and quiet and the cabin is well insulated to further reduce engine noise and improve the perception of quality. The interior of the high-spec SR5 is modern and high-quality materials, which is noteworthy considering its working vehicle focus. The centre console is dominated by a seven-inch touch-screen multimedia system that has sat-nav, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity. Convenience features such as climate control and a smart key are included, as is tilt-and-reach-adjustable steering, a rarity in this category. HiLux is marketed as ‘unbreakable’, and Toyota has built on this with a strengthened chassis and beefed-up suspension. The SR5 had an excellent overall suspension set-up that finds the right balance between being not too hard unladen or too soft with a load in the tray. Although HiLux was equal best in the class for tray space, it can’t match the other two finalists for towing, and there are a few others with better payloads.