Toyota has finally revealed its true Ford Ranger Raptor rival, with the HiLux Mako 4x4 dual-cab pick-up making a splash with upgraded suspension that’s more than ready to head off-road.
Named after one of the most aggressive shark species, the Mako is New Zealand’s answer to Australia’s recently facelifted Rugged X, although unlike the latter, the former gets significant mechanical changes.
These include ARB Old Man Emu suspension, which delivers front (+40mm) and rear (+50mm) lifts, and includes BP-51 shock absorbers with adjustable compression and rebound control as well as tweaked leaf springs.
The Mako also gets 18-inch Black Rhino alloy wheels wrapped in Maxxis RAZR all-terrain tyres (265/60), although the improvements that all of these features bring to the HiLux’s key data are yet to be confirmed.
Either way, it’s clear the Mako lines up against the Ranger Raptor better than any other HiLux before it, including the Rugged X with which it shares much of its other equipment.
Common elements between the two extend to a hoopless steel front bar with an integrated LED light bar, bash plates, red recovery tow hooks, fender flares and a heavy-duty rear bar with a step. For reference, the former goes without the latter’s snorkel.
Other unique kit for the Mako includes better brakes with larger front discs (+15mm), different pads and braided front and rear lines as well as side steps with ‘Mako’ branding, a T Custom Sports Guard non-slip tub liner, a soft-close tailgate and specific decals.
Inside, the Mako stands out from the HiLux crowd with its aggressive front sports seats and chunky steering wheel with a 12 o’clock marker. These items are trimmed in leather, but the former goes a step further with quilting.
That said, the Mako does blend in with its Rugged X-matching 150kW/500Nm 2.8-litre single-turbo four-cylinder diesel engine, which falls just short of the Ranger Raptor’s 157kW/500Nm 2.0-litre twin-turbo unit.
However, the Mako gets one back on the Ranger Raptor with its 940kg maximum payload and 3500kg maximum braked towing capacity, which are 182kg and 1000kg superior respectively.
From the end of this year, the Mako will be assembled by Toyota in New Zealand, where it is priced from $NZ79,900 ($A74,000) plus on-road costs. Comparatively, the Rugged X and Ranger Raptor check in at $69,990 and $77,190 in Australia, where the former is assembled.