Hilux How To: Using the Four-Wheel Drive System

The new Toyota Hilux has a switchable four-wheel drive system that allows you to make the most of Hilux’s agile handling and powerful engine, whatever the conditions.

To discover how to operate Hilux’s four-wheel drive system, watch our short film or read on below for more details.

For normal on-road driving, select H2 (high speed, two-wheel drive) mode for the best fuel economy and comfort.

If you are driving off-road or on snow and ice, select H4 (high speed, four-wheel drive) mode to engage four-wheel drive. The system can be switched from two- to four-wheel drive while on the move, at speeds of up to 62mph.

Turn the control switch from H2 to H4, and the indicator light will flash (pictured below) and then remain illuminated when H4 mode is engaged.

Hilux 4WD - Switching from H2 to H4

To tackle steep, slippery hills you’ll need the maximum power and traction of L4 (low speed, four-wheel drive) mode, which uses low gear ratios to deliver unrivalled traction and pulling power.

To shift from H4 to L4 mode, your Hilux needs to be stationary. For vehicles with a manual transmission, depress the clutch, or for automatic transmissions, select neutral (N).

Next, push and turn the control switch to engage L4. The ‘4LO’ indicator light will flash (pictured below) and then remain illuminated when L4 mode is engaged.

Hilux 4WD - Switching H4 to L4

Moving back through the modes is simple. Disengage L4 while Hilux is stationary, by depressing the clutch (manual) or selecting neutral (automatic) and turning the switch back to H4. The ‘4LO’ indicator will flash and go out.

Switching from H4 to H2 can be done while you’re on the move. Turn the control switch from H4 to H2 and the H4 dash indicator will go out.

To download an owner’s manual for your Toyota vehicle and to access other owner benefits, please visit My Toyota.


  1. I have a Hilux Invincible X, purchased new in 2021 from a Toyota main dealer in the UK.
    I am confused about the position regarding driving the vehicle in 4H on tarmac. Regarding the comments on here both from Toyota and the public there is a lot of uncertainty and contradiction as of the position regarding this issue. Would it please be possible to clarify the if it is drive in 4H on tarmac?
    A quick look back through the previous comments will help you see why I am confused.

    1. Hi Graham, thanks for your comment.

      Please provide your Vehicle Registration so that we can look into this.


  2. Hi, I have just purchased a much older model Hilux without the switch pictured here but with second gear stick. What’s the best way of changing from 2WD to 4WD?

    1. Hi Karen, thanks for your question.

      Please provide your Vehicle Registration so that we can check if your vehicle has this feature.


    1. Hi Kevin, thanks for your comment.

      Please can you provide your vehicle registration so that we can best assist you.


    2. No, you most certainly can not. Don’t see why Toyota needs your registration to know that. 4H locks your center dif, meaning it locks it so the drive shafts going to the front and rear wheels have to move the same speed. While turning the rear and front wheels travel different speeds, which puts huge amounts of strain on your car if the diff is locked. ONLY use 4H on surfaces that allow the wheels to slip a bit to catch up. That means, sand, mud, gravel, snow and ice. NEVER on dry tarmac. This is a proper 4×4 truck, not AWD.

    1. Morning Jackie, apologies for the delay in coming back to you.

      We’d recommend getting in touch with your local Toyota Centre to book an appointment so they can take a look at this for you.

      Find details of your nearest Toyota Centre here: https://brnw.ch/21wHtm7

      Thank you.

    2. just drive a bit on gravel or mud and the car will spin out of the 4×4 as sometimes you get a bit of wind up in the system and it need to spin out

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