Toyota has just whipped the covers off a new Z GR Sport HiLux that paves the way for a tru GR monster powered by the LandCruiser 300 Series' thumping turbo-diesel V6.
The journey to GR has now officially begun, with the Z GR Sport HiLux arriving as a bigger, badder and – according to Toyota – better-steering variant in the brand's dual-cab range.
The major under-the-skin improvement is to the ride and handling, with the brand saying the Z GR Sport HiLux's suspension has been re-tuned to for better steering response and flatter handling with less body roll.
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According to Japanese specification, the Z GR Sport is 45mm wider than the standard HiLux, thanks to its more swollen wheel arches, and it's been fitted with a new front bumper and grille. There's also a gloss-black treatment at the rear bumpers, as well as red brake callipers, stamped with the GR logo, hidden behind the 18-inch alloy wheels.
Inside, the interior is finished in synthetic leather, while the fabric-finished front seats are embossed with the GR logo and red stitching, while the steering wheel hides paddle-shifters for the automatic gearbox.
The engine, however, remains unchanged. For that to change, it seems, we'll have to wait for the full-fat GR HiLux, which we've long suspected will share the LC300's diesel engine, making it the most powerful diesel dual cab in the country.
Way back in 2018, Toyota went on the record as saying it would be looking for a "big diesel" to power a GR HiLux, suggesting a petrol engine wouldn't cut in a GR model. The problem, of course, is that no such engine existed. But that all changed with the launch of the LC300, which is home to a new and thumping V6 diesel that the brand has told us will make its way into other Toyota products.
Toyota is yet to officially confirm a GR HiLux, despite lodging an official trademark for the name in Australia in January 2020, but CarsGuide understands a go-fast model is at best unlikely to arrive in the vehicle's current iteration, with the wait most likely to stretch until an all-new model is revealed, which will most likely occur in 2023-2024.