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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Toyota UK Exec claims Hilux GR Sport doesn’t need a performance step-up

Long rumoured GR Hilux could well be put on hold in spite of having been mulled for the next generation Hilux.

The Toyota Hilux GR Sport (GR-S), due in South Africa by July, is poised to remain the brand’s flagship model in spite of lingering rumours about the GR Hilux.

Set to be the final encore for the current generation Hilux, the GR-S, for South Africa, will be closer aligned, aesthetically, to the Japanese and European models rather than the Thai-derivative, but with added grunt in the shape of 165kW/550Nm from the 2.8 GD-6 turbodiesel engine.

In a reversal, the European model won’t receive the 15kW/50Nm uptake, a trait Toyota’s Light Commercial Vehicles Manager for the UK, Gareth Matthews, says is a clear indication that a more powerful model along the lines of the GR Hilux isn’t necessary.

“UK customers aren’t complaining that the 2.8-litre diesel is underpowered, so there isn’t a good enough case for us to look beyond that for a performance version,” Matthews told Britain’s Auto Express.

“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.”

ALSO READ: Toyota Hilux GR-S release delayed due to flood damage at Durban assembly plant

A model that has gone quiet in recent months, the GR Hilux has widely been tipped to head the next generation Hilux line-up, with speculation hinting at it being powered by a 230kW/687Nm version of the 3.3-litre turbodiesel V6 used in the Land Cruiser 300 and Lexus LX.

In what will be a confirmation of comments made back in 2018 by Toyota Argentina CEO, Daniel Herrero, to Autoblog Argentina about a possible V6 oil-burning Hilux, the bent-six, if approved, will lead to the GR Hilux usurping the outgoing 190kW/580Nm Volkswagen Amarok V6 TDI in becoming the most powerful diesel bakkie made outside of the United States .

Reportedly also on track to ride on the new body-on-frame TNGA-F platform that underpins the Land Cruiser 300/LX, Tundra and Sequoia, a related claim is that the GR Hilux could potentially be petrol-powered as it will be closer aligned with the all-new Tacoma spied for the first time earlier this month.

If true, it will result in motivation coming from the 3.5-litre badged 3.4-litre twin-turbo V6 that pumps out 305kW/650Nm in the Land Cruiser and LX.

Opting for the latter will result in the GR Hilux being significantly more powerful than the new Ford Ranger Raptor, whose twin-turbo 3.0 EcoBoost V6 produces 292kW/583Nm.

For now though, all claims are purely speculative with Toyota having remained quiet in spite of gaining approval for the GR Hilux moniker from Australia’s Intellectual Property Office two years ago.

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