Toyota’s in-house Gazoo Racing programme continues to gain momentum and, indeed, plaudits. Via a three-tier strategy that sees various models gain either GR-S cosmetic treatment or subtle tweaks, to focused, high-performance variants like the GR Corolla and GR Supra, via this pet project of the former president and CEO of Toyota Motor Corporation, Akio Toyoda, this Japanese brand has a burgeoning portfolio of exciting products aimed at enthusiasts.
Not to be left out and, indeed, with three overall Dakar Rally wins under its modified beltline for added credibility, the modern Hilux double-cab has received two doses of GR-S treatment to date, the first in 2019 and again in 2022; on this occasion with added performance to match its stickers.
Toyota UK has announced that it is expecting a shipment of a new third iteration of the Hilux GR-Sport. The interesting thing about this is the UK market receives its bakkies from…Durban. Indeed, while the Prospecton Plant hasn’t yet produced a so-called widebody version of its best-selling Hilux (these are traditionally built exclusively at the brand’s Thailand plant), an order for the new GR-Sport that features this broader stance means that the KZN assembly line will need to adjust its plans accordingly.
Standing 20 mm taller than a standard flagship Hilux Legend, the new GR-Sport boasts 265 mm worth of ground clearance. To accommodate a wider body, the vehicle’s wheel track widths have been adjusted outwards by 140 mm in the front and 155 mm at the rear. It stands to reason that the vehicle’s resultant broader stance compared with a standard Hilux translates to both a more assured on-road driving experience, but also added off-road prowess, including a more generous approach angle.
Fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels, this purposeful-looking bakkie features flared wheels arch extensions, a bespoke bash plate and grille design and an “aero-styled” sport bar and load bay cover.
Inside, the sportiest Hilux to date gains GR-branded sports seats, various red trim highlights, steering wheel-mounted transmission paddles and metal pedals.
Should Toyota South Africa decide to leave a few examples of the new Hilux GR-Sport at the dock, instead of shipping these overseas, it seems likely that the vehicle’s striking styling will be complemented by the fitment of the uprated 165 kW/550 N.m version of the brand’s proven 2,8-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel motor.