Toyota’s Hilux has achieved near legendary status all over the world as one of the most ready-for-anything pick-em-up trucks out there. It’s been through a number of generations, and we haven’t gotten a damn one of them here in the U.S. market, which is a damn shame because it would sell like hot cakes. You know, if it weren’t for that frickin’ chicken tax. And now there’s another reason to be bummed that we can’t buy a new Hilux. Two letters; GR.
The Hilux GR Sport doesn’t go to quite the extent that the Yaris GR did. It’s not a homologation racing special, and it doesn’t have a special body, special drivetrain, or even a special engine. Under the hood you’ve got the same 2.8-liter D-4D diesel engine delivering 201 horsepower and 369 nice foot pounds of torque through a six-speed auto box.
The Hilux GR Sport doesn’t get any extra towing or hauling capacity, either. It’s just a regular truck from the drivetrain’s point of view. It’s still good enough at 7800 pounds towing, or 2200 pounds in the bed. The GR version only comes in Double Cab configuration, for what it’s worth.
Okay, so what fun stuff does it come with? What has Gazoo Racing done to this one to make it worthy of the name? All of the stuff that would make a truck good when the pavement disappears, that’s what they did. This special Hilux has a gnarly suspension setup with new monotube shocks and stiffer front coils tuned to provide faster response, sharper off-road handling, and an all-around increase in grip. That’s paired with a standard limited slip differential and Toyota Active Traction Control to allow everything to work together in harmony. Of course there are new and special 17-inch alloy wheels with all-terrain tires fitted, because that’s what you do.
While this version of the truck would probably be called TRD Pro over here in the states, I just think GR Sport sounds cooler.
Visually, you’ll get a unique front fascia with a G-pattern mesh grille and a center bumper bar that Toyota says is reminiscent of the 4th-gen Hilux from the 1980s. I don’t really see it, myself. Oh, and there are bigger fog lights and surrounds to match. Neat.
Inside you get more or less the same interior as the Hilux Invincible. (Side note, how awesome is ‘Invincible’ as a trim level? Does it get more badass?) That means sporty front seats with red stitching, and sporty aluminum pedals and shift paddles. It comes standard with JBL audio, nav, heated front and rear seats, LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, and Downhill Assist Control for creeping down steep off-road hills.
Personally, I think a right-sized pickup in off-road spec would be a great seller right now. It’s a bit smaller than Toyota’s current offerings here in the U.S. and has the kind of engineering and reputation all over the world that it only wishes it had in this market. Admittedly most American truck buyers don’t know what Hilux means, and wouldn’t know GR from any other weird badge, but it’s still cool and I wish we got it. Obviously the diesel wouldn’t fly, but maybe a good V6 and it’d still be a decent buy. Here’s hoping it’s actually good off road.
If you live in the UK, for example, you can order one for about 44,000 pounds after VAT. Toyota will begin delivering the GR this summer.