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What will be an epic battle for dual-cab dominance is shaping in Australia, with Toyota's new GR HiLux and the next-generation Ford Ranger Raptor coming to throw down for the title of most hardcore hauler.
Each has a secret weapon, with the GR HiLux tipped to take on the LandCruiser 300 Series' twin-turbo-diesel V6 (and it's a beast), and the Ranger Raptor expected to also borrow form another vehicle, this time the Ford Explorer ST and its twin-turbo V6 petrol engine.
Ford versus Toyota. Raptor vs GR. Petrol vs diesel. It's a battle of the ages, so let us take you ringside as we take a close look at these monstrous utes.
While the current Ranger Raptor is offered in Australia with a 2.0-litre twin-turbo, four-cylinder diesel engine good for 157kW and 500Nm, the news was already pointing to a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 diesel which would up the grunt considerably, this time to a whopping 186kW and 597Nm.
But according to international reports, the new Raptor will also score access to Ford's a twin-turbo V6 petrol engine, unlocking a whole new level of performance - and one that, should it make it to Australia - would fly in the face of conventional wisdom about the popularity of petrol-powered performance dual-cabs.
The new first appeared on Ford Authority, where they're reporting that the engine of choice will be the 3.0-litre EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 petrol engine that is used on the Ford Explorer and the Lincoln Aviator, paired with a 10-speed torque-converter automatic transmission.
And now for thee good news: In the former, it makes 272kW and 515Nm. But in the latter? A monstrous 298kW and 563Nm.
That's a big jump up from what we were expecting, which was the Ford Bronco’s 231kW and 542Nm 2.7-litre EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 petrol.
Why petrol? Because the Raptor will be sold in the USA for the first time - a country where they think Diesel is a clothing brand.
From its wider track to its performance suspension and off-road tyres, not to mention the Fox shocks, part-bespoke chassis and bash plates galore, Ford rightly bills the Raptor as "the first ever factory-built, factory warranted, off-road performance truck."
We expect the new Ranger to be officially revealed this year, with an on-sale date in early 2022, with the Raptor to follow.
Toyota will see Ford's punchy petrol engine and raise it a thumping twin-turbo diesel which could well see it earn the crown as the world's most powerful diesel dual cab.
Why? Because we've always suspected Toyota will fit the LandCruiser 300 Series' V6 diesel to the GR HiLux, not just because sources have confirmed the new engine would have multiple uses within the Toyota family, but also because the brand's international executives have said they were waiting for a "big diesel" to power a go-fast HiLux.
What's new here, though, is just how powerful it could be. Japanese site Creative 311 - quoting dealer sources -reports that the new 3.3-litre twin-turbo diesel V6 engine will produce a whopping 230kW and 687Nm, and will pair with a 10-speed automatic transmission.
It would make sense for the GR-badged HiLux to adopt the most powerful diesel engine available. Toyota has previously promised that any car given the GR badge would benefit from "noticeable" performance upgrades from its regular counterparts. And that means a GR HiLux would have to up the performance factor, no matter whether the focus is then on the road or off it.
“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.
"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."
Asked directly whether a new GR HiLux would need to produce more power to 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."
Toyota has trademarked the name "GR HiLux" in Australia, with the go-fast ute expected to launch with the next new HiLux, possibly in 2023.