With more power, a wider track, and bigger brakes, the Hilux GR Sport upholds Toyota’s performance badge in the ute space
According to Toyota, engineers from Australia have been instrumental in the design process of this Dakar-inspired ute, working in partnership with colleagues from Latin American, Japan and Thailand.
Though the halo Hilux variant is not quite at the Ford Ranger Raptor-rivalling level that fans had hoped for, Toyota Australia claims that this GR Sport variant “builds on the renowned durability and rough-road performance” of Australia’s best-selling vehicle.
What’s new under the bonnet?
Though some speculation pointed to this Hilux GR Sport benefitting from the same twin-turbo 3.3-litre turbo diesel engine as the Land Cruiser 300, it has retained its 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine, but has received a ten percent boost in power and torque. This means that the standard outputs of 150kW and 500Nm have been lifted to 165kW and 550Nm.
Toyota Australia notes that this is the most power that a diesel Hilux has ever been sold with locally, though it does get trumped by the 225kW/453Nm offered by the supercharged V6 of the Hilux TRD back in 2008.
The six-speed torque converter automatic transmission is carried over from the standard model, though Toyota Australia notes that it has received a sportier tune. It also gets shifter paddles behind the steering wheel.
What handling improvements does the Hilux GR Sport get?
With longer axles, the track on the Hilux GR Sport has been widened by 140mm at the front, and 155mm at the rear. It also gets the same fender flares as the recently updated Hilux Rogue to complete the widened look. It also gets a reinforced rear axle.
A revised suspension system with revised wishbones and new monotube shock absorbers has been added with improved damping force and heat dissipation. It also gets stiffer coil springs at the front, which is said to improve front-rear balance.
It also benefits from disc brakes at all four corners, another upgrade that it shares with the Rogue. Four-piston calipers clamp down on 338mm rotors at the front, and single piston-calipers handle the rear 312mm rotors. In true GR Sport fashion, the calipers are painted red.
The Hilux GR Sport sits on 17-inch wheels which are wrapped in all-terrain tyres.
Any changes on the inside?
Besides the aforementioned shifter paddles, the changes in the cabin of the Hilux GR Sport are purely aesthetic. There’s a red centre mark on top of the steering wheel, and GR badging around the interior.
Speaking about the new Hilux GR Sport, Toyota Australia Vice President Sales, Marketing and Franchise Operations Sean Hanley seemed excited to share news of this locally-developed rally inspired ute.
“HiLux GR Sport draws on the spirit of Toyota’s Dakar success as a hardcore 4WD that will appeal to customers seeking the quintessential off-road version of Australia’s best-selling vehicle,” Mr Hanley said.
“It has been designed to turn heads with aggressive in-your-face styling that’s reinforced by a healthy performance boost, enhanced high-speed handling and even better grip on dirt roads,” he said.
Pricing is yet to be confirmed. Given that the prior tree-topping Hilux Rogue lists for $70,200, it’s feasible that the GR Sport could sit around the $80k mark, safely undercutting Ford’s Ranger Raptor ($85,490).
We can expect to see the Toyota Hilux GR Sport land locally in the second half of 2023.
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