Toyota scoured the globe to find something extra for its best-selling HiLux pick-up range.

With inspiration coming from the Dakar, one of the toughest off-road endurance events in
the world, plus input from the company’s Australian design team in Melbourne and
extensive testing here, the result is the all-terrain performance GR Sport dual cab.

Seen as a replacement for the range-topping Rugged X, Toyota landed on the GR
HiLux racecar that was making its presence felt in one of the world’s toughest off-road
endurance events, the Dakar Rally, for inspiration, while sharing underpinnings with the
existing flagship, the Rogue.

Apart from the price, $73,990, plus on-road costs, opposed to $70,760, there’s more
than one Roguish element to the GR Sport, while closest rival in the ranks of the hairy
chested off-roaders would have to be the Nissan Navara PRO-4X Warrior ($68,265).

GR Sport’s track width has increased by the same amount as the HiLux Rogue – 135
mm at the front and 155 mm at the rear, along with a 15 mm jump in ride
height, compared with the core HiLux.

Toyota Australia Vice-President Sales, Marketing and Franchise Operations Sean
Hanley says: “The extensive suspension, powertrain and underbody modifications give
our new HiLux GR Sport the sort of performance credentials, that, along with its
renowned towing and off-road capability, will appeal to recreational enthusiasts.”

The GR Sport comes with a five-year/unlimited kilometre Toyota Warranty Advantage.
This is extended to seven years on engine and driveline, with capped-price servicing for
the first three years or 60,000 km, whichever comes first, and each six-month / 10,000
km service costing $290.

It appears the maker has finally come to the conclusion that many present-day pick-ups
no longer rely on the brand badge alone for front-on recognition, hence the GR Sport’s
unique blacked-out front grille with prominent T-O-Y-O-T-A lettering, a company first.

An aerodynamically enhanced wide-track front bumper with a silver lower moulding and
new dark grey overfenders help to house the increased wheel track.

Black badging, door handles and exterior mirrors emphasise the GR Sport’s dynamic
look, while four-wheel ventilated disc brakes are also painted red with GR logos to
communicate the model’s performance intentions.

To support the off-road capability of the new flagship HiLux, the GR Sport is fitted with a
Dakar-inspired front skid plate, steel rock rails and a pair of red-painted rear recovery
points, all developed locally by the TMCA conversions and accessory team.

As opposed to the Rogue’s 18-inch wheels the GR Sport settles for meagre gloss black
17-inch alloys wrapped with Bridgestone Dueler rubber, which look lost in the expansive
wheel arches. There is plenty of room for larger wheels, however. Spare is a full-size alloy.

Upgrades include seats upholstered in a blend of leather-accented and perforated
suede trim, with silver accents for the perforated suede and grey stitching. Red
seatbelts provide sporty accents in line with the GR design theme.

Aluminium pedals complement the new ‘Technical Mesh’ trim of the dashboard and

The steering wheel features a leather-accented wrap with red centre mark, GR logo and
paddle shifters, with a unique visual treatment also applied to the shift lever. The bulky
wheel was not everybody’s friend, as was the notchy action of the stubby gear lever.

The GR Sport features an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with embedded
satellite navigation, AM / FM and DAB+ digital radio, and wired Apple CarPlay and
Android Auto that. A nine-speaker JBL premium audio system fills the passenger
surroundings with excellent sound.

Company ‘lab coats’ have coaxed 10 per cent more power and torque out of the trusted
Toyota 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine, stumping up 165 kW and 550 Nm, respectively. The
six-speed automatic transmission has also been recalibrated to match the increased

The GR Sport offers all the active safety technologies found on the HiLux Rogue. These
include Toyota Safety Sense features pre-collision system with day and night pedestrian
and daytime cyclist detection, high-speed active cruise control, lane departure alert with
steering assist (brakes) and road-sign assist (speed signs only).

The addition of a blind spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert bolster the Toyota Safety
Sense suite of safety technologies offered in the HiLux, while an electro-chromatic rear-
view mirror and smart key provide enhanced convenience for owners. A panoramic view
monitor is fitted as standard to the GR Sport, helping owners to gain a full view of the
vehicle surrounds when navigating tight spaces.

Despite a 15 mm increase in ride height over the core HiLux, climbing into the passenger
cabin is made relatively easy by well-place grab handles.

Most noticeable about the surroundings on settling in the front are four cup holders – two
in the front console and two in the dash. There’s a double-decker glovebox, the upper
cooled, the lower with room for log books and other paperwork.
Performance was spritely (negligible turbo lag) as you would expect from the improved
engine. The transmission conducted itself with equal efficiency across the rev range and
under varying loads.

Steering was firm to the touch and the transmission moved between cogs on cue,
especially when called on to shift down when overtaking.

Toyota puts the combined urban / highway fuel consumption at 8.1 litres per 100
kilometres. Best on test was 7.5 while 10.6 litres per 100 kilometres was recorded in
extended mixed work.

The GR Sport’s suspension is allied to special KYB monotube shock absorbers tuned
specifically for the vehicle, as well as the removal of the rear stabiliser bar providing
increased suspension travel.

Blacktop with blemishes were dealt mostly with smooth delivery, although there was some
rock ‘n’ roll (without music) at times.

The suspension upgrades have not compromised on the HiLux’s full 3500 kg braked
towing capacity, that is supported by the standard fitment of a genuine towbar with
towball and seven-pin trailer wiring harness.

Tow-Pro Elite, an optional electric trailer brake controller by Redarc, when fitted to the
dash, offers selectable proportional or user-controlled trailer braking modes depending
on the road or terrain, vehicle type or driver preference. A nifty addition left to try out at
a later time.

In a bid to keep the home fires burning two automotive influencers stand out. For those
wanting the full hairy chested out-there pick-up demeanour, the Nissan Navara PRO-4X
Warrior fits the bill; those more in favour of a laidback look, with quality finish and
advanced technology on and off-road, the HiLux GR Sport scoops the pool.

Looks: 6/10
Performance: 7/10
Safety: 7/10
Thirst: 6/10
Practicality: 7/10
Comfort: 8/10
Tech: 8/10
Value: 6/10


Toyota HiLux Rogue $70,760
Toyota HiLux GR Sport: $73,990
Premium paint: $675
Two-tone: $1000
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Toyota dealer for drive-away prices.

SPECIFICATIONS (Toyota HiLux GR Sport 2.8L 4-cylinder diesel, 6sp automatic, AWD

Capacity: 2.755 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders inline
Maximum Power: 165 kW @ 3000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 550 Nm @ 1600-2800 rpm
Fuel Type: Diesel
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 8.1 L/100km
Emissions CO2: 213g/km

DRIVELINE: Six-speed electronically controlled automatic, all-wheel drive

Length: 5320 mm
Wheelbase: 3085 mm
Width: 2020 mm
Height: 1880 mm
Turning Circle: 12.6 metres (tyre), 13.4 metres (body)
Kerb Mass: 2270 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 80 litres

Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc

Five years / unlimited kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
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