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New Toyota GR HiLux 2023: Big V6 diesel, launch date and everything else we know so far about incoming Ford Ranger Raptor rival

The Toyota GR HiLux is beginning to take shape.

Details surrounding Toyota's Ford Ranger Raptor rival are beginning to take shape, allowing us to finally piece together what we know so far about the incoming GR HiLux.

It is definitely a case of when, not if, for the go-fast HiLux, with Toyota now having registered the nameplate "GR HiLux" in Australia, with its application officially approved on February 18. 

Toyota Gazoo Racing president Shigeki Tomoyama told media attending the 24 Hours of Le Mans that he wants a road-going performance HiLux bred off the brand's Dakar winner.

And the in Australia brand has also made no secret of its desire to launch a performance-focused ute here, telling 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.”

So here's everything we know so far.

Engine

Toyota is yet to officially confirm, but CarsGuide understands the V6 enigne will be all-new. Toyota is yet to officially confirm, but CarsGuide understands the V6 enigne will be all-new.

Way back in 2018, Toyota went on the record as saying it would be looking for a "big diesel" to power a go-fast HiLux, suggesting a petrol engine - like the V6 it would eventually axe through lack of interest - wouldn't cut in a GR model.

The problem, of course, is that no such engine existed. But that changed last week, when news appeared of a stonking big V6 diesel that is expected to find a home in Australian versions of the new LandCruiser 300 Series.

While Toyota is yet to officially confirm, CarsGuide understands the V6 thumper will be all-new, and we know it will find its way into other cars from Toyota, too.

You can expect power to meet or exceed the 200kW and 650Nm on offer from the current V8 diesel in the LandCruiser 200 Series, and the braked towing capacity to be mighty impressive, too. 

And that's good news for a go-fast HiLux. The brand's top-selling dual-cab currently produces a healthy 130kW and 450Nm. And even the Ford Ranger Raptor only punches out 157kW and 500Nm.

That would make a 650Nm GR HiLux a formidable proposition.

Performance

When a GR HiLux is unveiled, you can bet it will land in Australia. When a GR HiLux is unveiled, you can bet it will land in Australia.

We do know that, no matter what shape the GR HiLux eventually takes, it will offer a "noticeable" increase in performance, with Toyota being very clear on that being a minimum requirement for any vehicle that wears its go-fast badge.

“The plan for us is that any product that comes into Australia with Gazoo-racing branding will primarily be focused on performance. It needs to be the full package. It needs to show a noticeable performance increase on our standard line-up,” a spokesperson told CarsGuide in the past.

“And at this stage our plan is to bring in GR-branded cars. That’s the main focus at this stage, but we wouldn’t rule out GRMN products that align with our market, and we wouldn’t rule out GR Sport products, either."

And when a GR HiLux is unveiled, you can bet it will land in Australia, not just because of the size of our ute market, but because Toyota says it will "fight very hard" for anything unveiled internationally. 

“We will definitely put our hands up for anything that becomes available. And we will fight very hard for it,” a brand spokesperson says. 

Timing

Toyota is yet to officially confirm a GR HiLux. Toyota is yet to officially confirm a GR HiLux.

Now for the bad news.

While Toyota is yet to officially confirm a GR HiLux, let alone its timing, 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.

That's not to say it's impossible, but we're certainly not expecting the go-fast ute to arrive in the short term, being this year or next.

The only real question, then, is will it be worth the wait?