Toyota has revealed yet another regional HiLux GR Sport variant, but this one might be the most interesting one yet.
A pre-production vehicle was revealed to South African media late last week at its annual State of the Motor Industry event.
While it looks similar to other HiLux GR Sport models around the world, the South African GR Sport’s 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder has been tuned to produce 165kW of power and 550Nm of torque.
Those outputs are up 15kW and 50Nm over the standard model.
That pushes it ever closer to the Volkswagen Amarok, currently the most powerful ute in this segment, which offers up to 190kW of power (200kW on overboost) and 580Nm of torque from its optional V6 turbo-diesel.
The South African GR Sport will also receive as-yet unspecified suspension upgrades.
Toyota Australia has still yet to confirm the GR Sport – in any of its regional variations – for Australia.
“Toyota Australia is continually looking at opportunities to expand the Toyota GR range with more exciting models however at this stage, we have no announcements to make,” said a spokesperson for Toyota Australia.
The South African ute most closely resembles the European model, with its black grille and more aggressive front bumper.
The wheels also appear to have been borrowed from the European model, featuring a black and machined finish.
There are also the standard GR Sport exterior tweaks, such as black mirror caps and various red highlights.
The flared wheel arches resemble those of the other GR Sports, but with a unique red highlight for the cutout.
It’s unclear what changes have taken place under the skin.
The European-market HiLux GR Sport’s upgraded suspension includes new monotube shock absorbers and stiffer front coil springs, promising improved ride comfort and better body control.
The Japanese-market GR Sport also has a revised suspension tune, while Toyota’s Thai operations announced its Revo GR Sport has a new monotube shock absorber.
The variations between all four GR Sport models are subtle, but all four have some kind of suede/leatherette upholstery inside and tweaks like carbon fibre or red accents.
The South African model’s interior has yet to be revealed.
Its reveal comes as Toyota expands its GR Sport line-up globally.
Toyota offers a wide range of GR Sport vehicles in the Japanese market, including the Voxy and Noah people movers and the Prius hybrid.
Last year, Toyota Indonesia released a GR Sport version of the Fortuner SUV with unique wheels and restyled front and rear bumpers, as well as similar interior tweaks to the HiLux GR Sport.
The C-HR gets racier styling and a firmer suspension tune, while the LandCruiser GR Sport takes an entirely different tack with a focus on superior off-road ability.
For now, the local HiLux range is topped by the sporty-looking Rogue and the more off-road-oriented Rugged X.
The Rugged X features a swag of off-road kit, including a bash plate, LED light bar, snorkel, front and rear recovery points and heavy-duty rock rails and front springs.