Toyota is reportedly preparing a rival for vehicles like the Nissan Navara Warrior and Ford Ranger FX4 MAX, with the HiLux GR Sport set for an October debut, according to local media reports.
While not a full-fat GR model complete with thumping V6 diesel engine lifted from the LandCruiser 300 Series, the GR Sport will be more than a sticker pack, with Japanese outlet Creative 311 reporting some key engineering changes that should deliver better on-road handling and dynamics.
Key among the changes will be the inclusion off GR Sport tuned suspension, which should improve its on-tarmac handling. Whether the changes also improve off-road performance remain to be seen, but as evidenced through Walkinshaw's work in providing a domestic suspension tune for imported utes, there's a burgeoning market for on-road performance in the dual-cab space.
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Elsewhere, it's appearance updates for HiLux GR Sport, with a new and matt-grey-framed front grille, bespoke 18-inch alloys, paddle shifters, beefier guards, a shark-fin antenna and a ton of GR Sport branding inside and out.
Under the bonnet, though, remains Toyota’s recently upgraded four-cylinder diesel engine, which boosts the outputs from its 2.8-litre turbo-diesel to 150kW and 500Nm, which also lifts the maximum braked towing capacity to 3500kg.
For ore grunt than that, though, you'd going to have to wait for the GR HiLux, which - although already trademarked in Australia - isn't expected to arrive until 2023.
We expect that model to be fitted with the LandCruiser's V6 diesel, with Japanese site Creative 311 - quoting dealer sources - reporting that the new 3.3-litre diesel V6 engine will produce a whopping 230kW and 687Nm, and will pair with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
One thing is certain, though - more power is coming for the GR HiLux.
Asked directly whether a new GR HiLux would need to produce more power to be worthy of the badge, Toyota Australia's General Manager of Product Planning and Development, Rod Ferguson, replied "that would be a fair assumption."
"HiLux is a very important model to us, and clearly we want to keep improving and doing things to the HiLux, but we haven’t gotten anything else to announce for HiLux," he says.
"Clearly it’s our ambition to offer more product variations, and stretch that product in as many different directions as we can, that’s clearly our ambition."