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Is this what Toyota GR HiLux will look like? New dolled-up dual-cab ute points to Japanese Ford Ranger Raptor rival

The new HiLux has been given a GR, or Gazoo Racing, makeover, with Toyota in Japan equipping the workhorse with hardened-up design features everywhere except under the bonnet.

The HiLux GR Parts give us as our best idea yet of what a proper GR HiLux might look like, with the Japanese brand thought to be working on a genuine rival to the Ford Ranger Raptor, and even trademarking the GR Hilux nameplate here in Australia.

For now though, we have to be content with body changes only, though the GR Parts makeover is more than a simple styling package.

For one, there's the bright red bash plate installed up front, along with a new bumper guard and steel sports bar that frames the bed. There's also a new twin-tipped exhaust, metal framed, GR-branded mud flaps, and a host of new tray cover options.

Perhaps most significantly, though, Gazoo Racing promises to improve the handling of the HiLux, by fitting the GR Parts edition with thicker anti-roll bars front and rear, along with what the brand describes as a performance damper set, which kills "unpleasant vibrations and noises”.

For now, though, it remains powered by the HiLux's 2.8-litre diesel engine now good for 150kW and 500Nm. But it is more a case of when, not if, for a proper GR HiLux. The brand here has made no secret of its desire to launch a performance-focused ute here, having previously told CarsGuide:

"We’re always taking a keen interest in the high-performance ute market, but at this stage we have nothing announce. But like we’ve said in the past, we are not ruling truly out any model from GR modification.

"We race the HiLux in Dakar, so it’s definitely not out of the question that we could see a vehicle like that some time in the future.”