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Top 10 news stories of 2020

It’s no surprise that ute news clicked big in 2020, but stories about sports cars and SUVs also made the top 10.

There is no doubt this year (more than any other) has been a rollercoaster with many ups and downs throughout, but CarsGuide has expanded its breadth and depth of news coverage.

More than 1800 pieces of news content has been published from January 1 with some genuine surprise, scoops and exclusives hits to be found in that long list.

However, to keep things brief, here are the top 10 news stories of 2020 that resonated with our audience throughout the year that seemed to stretch on forever.

10. New Toyota Land Cruiser 300 Series 2021 could be just the beginning: HiLux-style special editions studied for incoming icon

With the new-generation Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series on the horizon, what better way to celebrate than with some special-edition variants? It seems the big T brand will adopt a similar strategy for its hotly-anticipated LandCruiser SUV as the HiLux ute, which could spawn Rogue and Rugged X versions of the former, just like what is available with the latter.

9. Hyundai ute to get punchy six-cylinder diesel - watch out Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger!

Revealing its luxury-focused Genesis GV80 early in the year with a turbo-diesel inline six-cylinder engine means the punchy powertrain could migrate over to Hyundai’s in-development dual-cab ute. This means enough power and torque (205kW and 588Nm respectively) to easily bother the top-selling Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger.

8. Mazda launches new rotary sports car for 100th anniversary

There plenty of reasons to despair in 2020, but Mazda quietly celebrated its 100th birthday by unleashing a new rotary sports car onto the world – albeit the digital world of Gran Turismo Sport, a video game on the PlayStation 4. The RX-Vision GT3 Concept takes the rotary concept car from 2015 and builds upon it with a wild bodykit and 419kW engine for a genuine track-day terror.

7. Toyota Land Cruiser 300 Series to be revealed in August! Twin-turbo hybrid V6 to produce 220kW

Though the initial plan for Toyota was to have the next LandCruiser break cover this year, that obviously didn’t happen due to a number of factors, least of which was the outbreak of COVID-19. However, news also broke that the V8 of the old car would be swapped out in favour of a twin-turbocharged hybrid V6 as emissions regulations continue to tighten.

6. GR Land Cruiser 300, GR HiLux and GR Fortuner: How Toyota's game-changing V6 diesel will change the shape of performance in Australia

Toyota has pushed hard in recent years to legitimise its Gazoo Racing (or GR) brand in Australia with the launch of the Supra and hot hatch Yaris, but what would cement its place more than a performance-orientated LandCruiser, HiLux and Fortuner?

5. Toyota Land Cruiser 300 Series 2021 to be revealed in July with TWO new 3.5-litre V6 engine options - reports

This story combined with number seven on our list shows how even the best laid plans were upended in such a tumultuous year. Reports out of Japan pointed to an earlier-than-planned July reveal of the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series, but those plans obviously didn’t materialise.

4. Why Toyota HiLux GR 2023 will be a monster: Land Cruiser 300 Series' 3.3-litre V6 could produce the world's most powerful diesel ute - reports

Ford’s Ranger Raptor has been a certified hit in Australia, so what does Toyota have in store to counter the flagship dual-cab ute? That would be the GR HiLux, which could borrow the new LandCruiser 300 Series’ 3.3-litre diesel V6 to outmuscle the competition.

3. New Toyota Corolla GR hot hatch is coming! 200kW, all-wheel-drive screamer to arrive in 2023: reports

Toyota has come back to the performance car scene in a big way recently. First it was the BMW Z4-twinning Supra, then it was the critically and commercial hit of the GR Yaris. However, the brand has more to come, with a Corolla hot hatch being planned to take on the Hyundai i30 N and Volkswagen Golf GTI.

2. The most powerful ute in Australia? How Kia's new dual-cab could change the game

The Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger might grab all the headlines now, but soon enough Kia will have its own dual-cab ute to call its own, and it should offer plenty of performance and an industry-leading warranty too. Should the established players be worried? Absolutely.

1. Hyundai's Land Cruiser 300 Series rival to be the ultimate disrupter: Toyota's off-road legacy "not a problem" for rugged ladder-frame SUV

There is no doubt Hyundai has huge ambitions in Australia, and setting its sights on Toyota’s coveted top spot is certainly bold. But to do that, the South Korean brand needs a competitor in all the segments Toyota is currently playing in, which means Hyundai could bring to market a genuine LandCruiser rival.