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Toyota HiLux gets V6 power! GR Sport tough truck to rattle the Ford Ranger Raptor


The Toyota HiLux has been gifted a petrol V6 engine to create a more hardcore GR Sport-badged truck with its sights set squarely on the world-beating Ford Ranger Raptor. 

The HiLux GR Sport, which will go on sale in South American markets in early 2020, ditches the four-cylinder powerplant in favour of a 4.0-litre V6 unit which delivers 175kW and 375Nm.

That same engine has appeared in the HiLux in Australia in the past, but was killed off in 2017 with Toyota citing a lack of demand. But the engine lives again, at least in international markets, with the Toyota readying the HiLux GR Sport for launch into Brazil and Argentina next year.

And while those numbers won't do much to terrify the Ranger Raptor - which produces some 157kW and 500Nm from its 2.0-litre twin-turbo-diesel - they do up the power on the existing cream of the HiLux engine crop; the 2.8-litre diesel good for 130kW and 450Nm.

It's worth pointing out here, though, that Toyota's 4.0-litre V6 petrol engine can also be tuned upwards from those outputs, producing a much healthier 234kW and 400Nm in other applications. That tune could be reserved for a future full-fat HiLux GRMN version.

Under the skin 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 Raptor.

The GR Sport also gets a design update, with a blacked-out grille, bonnet and roof, as well as two-tone alloys, a blacked-out interior design treatment and no shortage of stickers. Inside, you'll find a 7.0-inch touchscreen, push-button start and red design flourishes on the dash, Outside, expect LED headlights with DRLs, chunky sidesteps and a factory sport bar.

While the GR Sport is yet to be entirely ruled out for Australia, Toyota here concedes "there's a very small chance" of it arriving locally, but did point to us getting our own go-fast HiLux in the future.

“There’s a very small chance of that for Australia,” a Toyota spokesperson told CarsGuide. “That was an engine that we discontinued in Australia, due to market demand.

"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."