A tough working life of eight years or more is in prospect for 17 Toyota Hilux 4WD Double Cabs, delivered to the Maritime & Coastguard Agency for use all over the UK. The mileages might not be high but the stakes are, because the vehicles will be out most days with the Coastguard on search and rescue operations over isolated coastal terrain, ranging from clifftops to mudflats.
Another 4 x 4 from Toyota, but new to the MCA fleet, is the Land Cruiser. Four Colorado GX five-door models delivered at the same time as the Hilux pick-ups will be set a less arduous task – towing the new MCA publicity trailer to events around the country to help promote the work of the Coastguard.
The Hilux Double Cabs are part of a rolling replacement programme for the Vauxhall Bravas previously used by search and rescue teams. “I’ve had no complaints and nothing but positive comments back about the Hilux,” says Lyall Plant, who is Rescue Equipment Manager for the Southampton-based Government agency, responsible for a fleet of more than 350 vehicles.
It was Lyall who originally assessed the model’s suitability for its demanding role. He reported that it provided the best value for money, but selected it “mainly for its performance, carrying capacity and level of fit-out.”
The Hilux 4WD Double Cabs have a maximum payload of 880kg and are powered by 89bhp, 2.4 litre turbocharged diesel engines with five-speed gearbox and limited slip differential. Fitted with Truckman backs with internal racking, they also carry ‘blues and twos’ (emergency lights and sirens), towing gear, off-road tyres and radios.
The vehicles have to carry not only the rescue teams but all their recovery and medical equipment – as well as any rescued customers!
The Land Cruiser Colorado is a practical but also luxurious 4 x 4 well-suited for a public relations role where an off-road capability is required. It has a 123bhp, 3 litre turbo diesel engine and permanent 4WD. The Toyota Hilux and Colorado models are painted in the blue and yellow Coastguard livery and supplied on a fleet maintenance contract.