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New Toyota Hilux GR Sport to top the range long-term

Toyota’s new flagship Hilux pickup isn’t about to be superseded by a high performance variant, says Toyota boss

The recently revealed Toyota Hilux GR Sport will remain the top-spec model for Toyota's pickup truck range, bosses have confirmed. While Ford is forging ahead with the introduction of a new V6-petrol-powered Ranger Raptor, Toyota won't be following its rival into the performance pick-up truck market with a GR Hilux.

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Speaking at the 2022 CV Show, Toyota Light Commercial Vehicles manager Gareth Matthews confirmed that the GR Sport is the best solution for Toyota's current Hilux range. "UK customers aren't complaining that the [201bhp] 2.8-litre diesel is underpowered, so there isn't a good enough case for us to look beyond that for a performance version. The GR Sport has the looks that customers want while still having the right payload weight, so we're meeting the demands of performance fans there."

The other reason that a Toyota GR Hilux is unlikely to materialise is because the Toyota truck isn't sold in North America. While the Ranger Raptor will be sold in both territories, Toyota has the larger Tacoma and Tundra models - which are available in high-performance Toyota Racing Development (TRD) guises Stateside.

On the subject of future powertrains for the Hilux, Matthews wouldn't be drawn. "It's difficult to move away from diesel, because of the payload weights and towing capacity that's needed for a pickup," he said. "For us, full electric doesn't meet that requirement yet, while heavier vehicles are turning more towards fuel cell technology, which could be a better alternative."

Toyota Hilux GR Sport 

The 2022 CV Show in Birmingham marked the UK launch of the new Hilux GR Sport, where it joined Toyota's expanded Professional commercial vehicle line-up, including the Proace and Proace City vans, Land Cruiser Commercial and newly-launched Corolla Commercial estate-based van.

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Inspired by the Japanese firm’s Gazoo Racing division, which helped develop the GR Yaris hot hatch and GR Supra sports car, the Hilux GR Sport has been “designed to capture the attention of customers whose active lifestyles go well beyond the everyday, giving them an ideal vehicle for adventurous journeys and sporting pursuits”, according to Toyota. 

As a result the brand’s engineers have modified the pick-up’s suspension, and are claiming a more rewarding driving experience with increased control, responsiveness and grip. These tweaks include new, stiffer front coil springs that are damped by new red-painted monotube dampers. This monotube tech results in a larger piston area inside the damper body, meaning the suspension offers faster responses, better heat dissipation and improved performance. 

This should result in a more comfortable and controlled ride for occupants, while Toyota also claims that the truck’s handling and steering response has been improved significantly. The suspension adjustments to the GR Sport model combine with the changes applied to the updated Hilux, which include retuned rear leaf springs and new bushes.

Hilux GR Sport models are distinguished from the rest of the line-up by a new black mesh grille that features a central horizontal bar bearing the Toyota name. Larger fog light surrounds also feature, along with machined 17-inch alloy wheels with a black finish wrapped in all-terrain tyres. Black detailing extends to the door mirrors, side steps, wheel arch extensions and tailgate handle, while subtle GR Sport badging also features.

Inside, the Hilux GR Sport boasts sports seats trimmed in a mix of black leather and synthetic suede with red contrast stitching, while GR badges on the starter button, seat backs and carpet mats all feature, as well as carbon fibre-style trim inserts and a red stripe in the dash. The Hilux also gets aluminium sports paddles and paddle shifters to take manual control of the automatic gearbox.

The Hilux GR Sport is powered by a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine producing 201bhp and 500Nm of torque and sends its output to all four wheels through a six-seed auto transmission.

Available only as a double cab model, the Hilux GR Sport offers a payload capacity of 1,000kg and can tow a 3,500kg trailer. 

Pricing for Toyota’s new Hilux GR Sport commercial vehicle starts from £37,551 excluding VAT; the standard on-the-road price is £44,995. Deliveries commence in the summer.

Check out our review of Ford's new Ranger MS-RT here...

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Senior test editor

Dean has been part of the Auto Express team for more than 20 years, and has worked across nearly all departments, starting on magazine production, then moving to road tests and reviews. He's our resident van expert, but covers everything from scooters and motorbikes to supercars and consumer products.

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