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Dream Factory: How Kia and Hyundai's new utes can take down the booming diesel V6 of the Toyota GR HiLux

Can Hyundai and Kia take down the champ? (image credit: Enoch Gonzales)

With news well and truly confirmed that Hyundai and Kia are working on dual-cab utes that are expected to be in market within 24 months, and with Toyota known to be working on a hardcore GR version of the next-generation HiLux, the time is right to get our Sherlock Holmes on about just how the two would compete, head to head.

Sure, the brands are yet to confirm exactly what will be powering the new utes, but we can make some educated guesses, and if we're right, you have every reason to be excited.

Welcome, then, to the Dream Factory - so called because, should our dreams come true, this is exactly how this battle with shake out in real life.

Toyota GR HiLux - estimated in 2023

The Toyota GR HiLux is expected to out-punch rivals like the Ford Ranger Raptor and Isuzu D-Max, courtesy of a new 3.3-litre diesel V6 that will also power the LandCruiser 300 Series.

We know from Toyota that the brand was looking for a "big diesel" to power its performance-flavoured HiLux, with its executives confirming as much to media way back in 2018.

But heavy rumours point to the brand launching the LandCruiser 300 Series with a new 3.3-litre V6 diesel. And it should be plenty punchy, with the brand in Australia promising that the new engine will out-perform the current diesel V8 used in the LandCruiser 200 Series, which will mean outputs in excess of 200kW and 650Nm.

Toyota has previously promised that any car given the GR badge would benefit from "noticeable" performance upgrades from its regular counterparts. And that means a GR HiLux would have to up the performance factor, no matter whether the focus is then on the road or off it.

“The plan for us is that any product that comes into Australia with Gazoo-racing branding will primarily be focused on performance. It needs to be the full package. It needs to show a noticeable performance increase on our standard line-up,” a spokesperson told CarsGuide in the past.

Hyundai and Kia ute - estimated in 2023

Hyundai in Australia has confirmed that it is expecting to have a true Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger rival in Australia by 2023. Kia, too, has confirmed the project, and even thinks their version could be the first to arrive.

"The sooner the better," Hyundai Australia's former boss, JW Lee, has told CarsGuide. "All the time I’m crying and praying whenever I have the chance to bring this issue to headquarters, so the sooner the better.

"(But) 2023 is our target year. It depends on production and the plant. I think the candidate plant is still under study, where we’re going to produce those vehicles is yet to be decided."

We also know that the ute will offer everything a vehicle in its class should, including a one-tonne payload and a three-tonne braked towing capacity.

What we don't know, however, is just what will be powering it. But it's here that we can make some guesses.

There have been hints that the straight-six-cylinder diesel from the new GV80 - which makes a considerable 205kW of power and 588Nm - could be on the cards for the ute, with the brand's R and D boss pointing to the "commercial" applications of the punchy engine.

“With this engine we can have so many applications. As you know, we make commercial vehicles and so on, so this engine will be out there for quite some time. You don’t need to worry about that engine,” Hyundai's Albert Biermann told CarsGuide in January, before clarifying that “we have not finally decided yet” where that engine will end up.

So, straight-six versus V6. Hyundai and Kia versus Toyota. A newcomer versus a grizzled veteran. Tell us your pick below.