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The Toyota GRG Concept is the hardcore HiLux we're still waiting for


It seems everyone is getting a tougher-looking HiLux product, with Toyota unveiling the HiLux GRG Concept at the Tokyo Auto Salon this month.

Everyone, that is, except Australia, where the brand continues to keep its cards close to its chest as to its plans to toughen up its (and the country's) best-selling vehicle.

The GRG here stands for Gazoo Racing Garage, the name given to 12 Toyota dealerships in Japan that will sell the parts required to build your own GR HiLux, as well as a limited number of completed vehicles.

And we do mean limited, with the stocks in Japan currently limited to a total 20 vehicles - 10 each in white and black. Those tiny numbers are explained by the fact the HiLux doesn't currently have much of a presence in that country, so this is Toyota hoping to increase its domestic footprint.

It's built using extras imported from other markets (mostly South America), with the highlights being blacked-out grille, and optional blacked-out bonnet, as well as the black alloys, a blacked-out interior design treatment and no shortage of stickers. There's also black side steps, a chunky sports bar (meant to ape a rally cart's rollover bar) red-trimmed fog light recesses and GR badging on the start button. 

Toyota in Japan is yet to reveal engine specifics, but it's understood the GRG Concept makes use of the brand's 2.4-litre diesel engine, which should deliver 110kW and 400Nm to all four tyres. 

In international versions there's also recalibrated suspension, new springs and tuned dampers, all of which are designed to deliver more control in "high-speed conditions" off-road, much like the Ford Ranger Raptor.

While Toyota in Australia is yet to confirm a GR-stamped HiLux for Australia, the brand has told CarsGuide its taking a "keen interest" in the performance ute market. 

"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," a spokesperson said. 

"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."

It follows news the Japanese giant has trademarked the name "GR HiLux" with the Australian Government's IP (intellectual property) office.

According to the filing, the application is still being considered, with a final report expected on January 20. Other information is thin on the ground for now, but we can make some educated guesses...

For Toyota's part, it had this to say on the filing:

"It is standard practice for our parent company to reserve vehicle names that could potentially be used in future, as a means of protecting that name for future use. This is done in all key markets as a matter of course. There are definitely no plans to introduce a GR Hilux at this stage, but as always, it is something that we would definitely not rule out for the future, especially with the high level of interest locally for high performance utes."