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Toyota GR HiLux: New "performance edge" required for what could be Australia's most powerful diesel dual-cab ute

The Toyota GR HiLux would need to offer a significant performance upgrade

A GR-branded Toyota HiLux would require a new "performance edge" to live up the performance sub-brand's reputation, with the Australian arm laying out their requirements for a Ford Ranger Raptor rival.

Perhaps most important, while the brand wouldn't confirm a GR HiLux, Toyota in Australia told CarsGuide it would have its hand high in the air for a performance-focused dual-cab the moment one becomes available.

That's the word from Toyota Australia's boss of sales and marketing, who says he's well aware of the popularity of the performance market locally.

It follows news that Toyota has trademarked the name "GR HiLux" for our market, along with international reports pointing to a go-fast ute coming. But Mr Hanley did warn that a trademark application is no guarantee of a model arriving.

"I have no light to shed on it today, but what I can say is that the performance market is very healthy in Australia. We continue to study all options," he told CarsGuide.

"One shouldn’t assume that because we trademark a nameplate that it’s coming, we do lots of those. But while we have no announcement today it’s something that if it became globally available, it would be something of interest to the Australian market and to Toyota in Australia."

As far as what to expect from a GR HiLux, Mr Hanley pointed to the GR Yaris - the three-cylinder powerhouse hot hatch that will be here by the end of the year - as a guide for the brand's performance future models. And that means a GR HiLux would have to have a new "performance edge" to wear the badge.

"I think when we talk about GR, it’s our performance sub brand," he said.

"I have absolutely no news or knowledge at this stage. (But) it would have to have a performance edge or flavour to it. And anything we do in that space going forward will come under that GR brand."

If it's a performance edge, and a diesel engine, they're after, then one might be about to become available, courtesy of the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series.

As far back as 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 at the time. But that has since changed, with news now beginning to appear that a big V6 diesel will find it's way into a new LandCruiser.

CarsGuide understands the engine will be all-new, and will likely find its way into the Japanese giant’s other products, too. And while specific outputs are yet to be confirmed, you can expect power to meet or exceed the 200kW and 650Nm on offer from the current V8 diesel offered in the LandCruiser 200 Series.

While Toyota is yet to officially confirm a GR HiLux, let alone its timing, CarsGuide expects a go-fast model to not 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.