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Toyota is finally coming for the Ford Ranger Raptor! New "apex off-road variant" confirmed as battle for off-road supremacy fires up

Toyota is coming for the Ford Ranger Raptor!

Toyota Australia is rolling out a series of major upgrades to its flagship HiLux products as it readies for war with the all-new Ford Ranger in Australia.

The two utes are constantly duking it out for the top sales spot in Australia, and with a new Ford Ranger now around the corner, Toyota has upped its HiLux offering in preparation for battle.

The focus for this update is the flagship Rogue model, which will be equipped with a wider track and updated suspension package, and which will begin arriving in Q4 this year.

But also around the corner is a true Ranger Raptor fighter - and as-yet-unnamed model which will replace the Rugged X - which Toyota promises will be its "apex off-road variant".

And that means Toyota is finally taking aim at the Ford Ranger Raptor, though the brand is yet to spill details on that model.

We do know that the Rogue variant of the HiLux family will now get a 140mm wider track both front and rear, as well as a 20mm boost to ground clearance. The changes, say Toyota will “aid off-road ability while also improving on-road performance.”

Also helping on that front is an “overhauled” suspension set-up, with the front suspension arm and front stabiliser bar length extended, and the shock absorber angle changed to improve efficiency. At the rear, there’s extended axle lengths, dampers that have bene shifted further towards the wheels, and a new rear stabiliser bar.

The brand says rolling rigidity has been improved by 20 per cent, and there’s better steering feel, too.

Also new is a long-awaited braking upgrade, with new rear ventilated disc brakes (gone are the drum brakes) and bigger 17-inch front disc brakes.

There’s a tough new look too, with wider over fenders and new mudguards, along with a new-look front end that looks wider and angrier.

"The significant suspension upgrades to the HiLux Rogue not only improve off-road capability but create a more stable and comfortable on-road driving experience," says Toyota Australia Vice President Sales, Marketing and Franchise Operations Sean Hanley.

”Continuous improvement is a key facet of Toyota's philosophy and has been clearly achieved by this latest HiLux premium model.”

The rest of the HiLux range gets some lighter upgrades too. Certain SR models now get 17-inch alloys and body-coloured door handles, while SR5 Double Cab models get a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, a panoramic view monitor and puddle lamps.

Pricing details are yet to be confirmed.