Toyota has overnight revealed its tougher-looking and more powerful flagship HiLux, due here this year.

The Toyota HiLux GR Sport has what the brand calls a Dakar-inspired design, and will be the most powerful diesel HiLux it has ever offered locally.

The company says it expects the dual-cab GR Sport to arrive in the second half of 2023. Pricing has yet to be revealed, but will almost certainly be above the $70,200 before on-roads sticker of the current Rogue range-topper.

The GR Sport continues to use a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine like most HiLux models, but with power and torque boosted by 10 per cent to 165kW (@3000rpm) and 550Nm (@2800rpm), respectively.

Toyota says the extra grunt comes courtesy of revised turbo-supercharging and fuel injection control.

The six-speed automatic transmission has also received sportier tuning and an expanded lock-up area. Paddle shifters are standard.

Like the refreshed 2023 HiLux Rogue, the front track has been widened by 140mm, but the rear track is 15mm wider than the penultimate HiLux at 155mm.

Suspension modifications consist of redesigned wishbones, stiffer coil springs and a reinforced rear axle, with monotube shock absorbers said to provide higher damping force and greater heat dissipation.

Toyota promises the set-up offers a sportier feel and a reduced roll angle without compromising everyday ride comfort.

Like the Rogue, there are also ventilated rear disc brakes. These use a one-cylinder floating calliper, while the front discs feature a four-cylinder fixed calliper.

Visually, the GR Sport is distinguished from lesser models through its satin black over-fenders that wrap around into the front bumper.

There’s a more aggressive front-end with an upright mesh grille featuring a Toyota wordmark.

Approach and departure angles are 30 and 26 degrees, respectively, compared to 31 and 23 degrees for the Rogue.

Toyota promises a higher ground clearance figure for the GR Sport, but hasn’t said what that is. For reference, the Rogue has 265mm of ground clearance.

The GR Sport rides on 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in all-terrain tyres, and there’s a skid plate, rock rails and red rear recovery points.

Inside, the black interior has a few pops of contrast: bright sports pedals, red seatbelts, and GR logos on the steering wheel and headrests; GR logos also dot the exterior, including on the red brake callipers.

Toyota Australia says it’s a “global centre of excellence for Toyota 4WD vehicles” and its engineers have been “instrumental” in the development program, working alongside colleagues from Japan, Thailand and Latin America.

Like the Rogue, while the GR Sport will be manufactured alongside other HiLux models in Thailand, some finishing touches could be added at Toyota’s facility in Altona, Victoria.

“HiLux GR Sport draws on the spirit of Toyota’s Dakar success as a hardcore 4WD that will appeal to customers seeking the quintessential off-road version of Australia’s best-selling vehicle,” said Sean Hanley, Toyota Australia’s vice president of sales, marketing and franchise operations.

“Thanks to the extensive involvement of our local designers and engineers, HiLux GR Sport is a fun-to-drive vehicle that will bring new capabilities and excitement to the adventure lifestyles of Australian customers.”

Somewhat confusingly, this isn’t the only HiLux GR Sport available though it’s the only one coming here.

Toyota has revealed different GR Sport variants for Japan, Thailand, Europe and South Africa, though only the lattermost country gets the more powerful diesel engine – if without the more aggressive styling of the vehicle coming here.

The new GR Sport will give Toyota a more direct rival to the likes of the Nissan Navara Pro-4X Warrior, though with its unique twin-turbo petrol V6 the Ford Ranger Raptor has moved the game on in this space.

While the GR Sport will be the most powerful diesel HiLux sold by Toyota in Australia, it won’t be the most powerful overall.

The short-lived 2008-09 TRD HiLux featured a supercharged 4.0-litre petrol V6 engine producing less torque (453Nm) but considerably more power (225kW).

HiLux GR Sport specifications
Length5320mm
Width2020mm
Height1880mm
Wheelbase3085mm
Track widthFront: 1675mm
Rear: 1705mm
Approach angle30 degrees
Departure angle26 degrees
Engine2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder
Power165kW at 3000rpm
Torque550Nm at 2800rpm
BrakesVentilated discs with four-cylinder fixed front callipers and one-cylinder floating rear callipers

MORE: Everything Toyota HiLux

William Stopford

William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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