Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

PODCAST: Why Toyota Hilux GR-S is not Ford Ranger Raptor rival

Isuzu D-Max AT35 and not Ford Ranger Raptor is a competitor for this double cab bakkie.

The Toyota Hilux GR-S III might be a big mean off-road ready machine, but it should not be classified as a direct rival for the beastly Ford Ranger Raptor.

Watch Pitstop podcast video

In this week’s edition of The Citizen Motoring’s Pitstop podcast, we look at where the GR-S fits in on the bakkie landscape. And we explain why the Isuzu D-Max AT35 is its real competitor in this niche segment.

The timing of the first edition of the Toyota Hilux GR-S in 2019 is probably what caused its comparison with the Ford Ranger Raptor. Not long before that, the Blue Oval introduced the first-ever Raptor as an off-road performance bakkie.

This double cab offered seriously suspension upgrades to take on the gravel at above-average speeds. But it featured the same 157kW/500Nm four-cylinder 2.0-litre biturbo diesel engine that served on other derivatives.

ALSO READ: WATCH: New Toyota Hilux GR-S shows off its rugged footwear

Toyota Hilux GR-S enters game

Released not long after, the first Toyota Hilux GR-S featured very similar outputs of 150kW/500Nm from its 2.8-litre GD-6 diesel mill. Its suspension was also slightly tweaked from standard models, but not in the form of the Bilstein damper upgrade the Raptor boasted.

The second GR-S Hilux, delayed due to flood damage to the Prospecton assembly plant in 2022, meant business. It again featured the 2.8-litre GD-6, but with uprated outputs of 165kW and 550Nm. It was enough to put the first Raptor to shame, but the glory was short-lived.

When the Blue Oval rolled out the beastly current edition Ford Ranger Raptor, it was game over. The 3.0-litre twin-turbo petrol engine makes 292kW and 592Nm and broke all the records for fastest production double cab.

ALSO READ: Hilux GR-S III to lose ground on Ranger, Amarok and D-Max

Isuzu the real measure

But while the Raptor evolved into a league of its own, another bakkie has always been a much closer rival for the Toyota Hilux GR-S. That is the Isuzu D-Max AT35.

With its big wheels and wider track, the 140kW/500Nm D-Max AT35 also sets out to be a better off-roader than standard versions. But without all the power and hardware to transform into a true high-performance machine like the Raptor.

Read more on these topics

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