Toyota launches new Hilux GR Sport II

GR-badged flagship can't rival the Ranger Raptor for cool – but it does diddle it on payload

By Matt Bird / Tuesday, 17 October 2023 / Loading comments

The sporty pickup is nothing new – look at Ford and its brace of Raptors. But we’re yet to see anything Raptor-rivalling from Toyota, which is a surprise given its Dakar success with the Hilux and the burgeoning strength of its Gazoo Racing brand. This new GR Sport II isn’t quite the pickup we’re all really lusting after from Toyota – but it is a step in the right direction. 

Described as taking the Hilux ‘to new heights’ the GR Sport II gets much wider tracks than standard – 140mm at the front, 155 at the rear. This is mostly about uprating the model’s physical presence, although obviously it well aid stability and confidence, too. Toyota says the ‘best-driving Hilux yet’ is intended to roll less and respond more precisely to steering inputs. These improvements have been achieved thanks to lighter wheels and new monotube dampers (replacing the previous twin-tubers), with discs on the rear axle now as well where drums once resided. It’ll be better off-road, too, with ride height and approach angle increased over standard. 

The exterior has received an appropriately rugged makeover, with ‘TOYOTA’ emblazoned across the grille like it really means business, black accents, GR Sport badges and red brake calipers. The rear coil springs are red, too, but you’ll have to look really closely for those. The colour scheme continues inside, including red seatbelts, GR seats and aluminium pedals. 

Indeed, all the GR Sport II is really lacking is a proper powertrain. It’s still motored along by the 204hp/369lb ft diesel that joined the range in 2020. Which does sell the rally raid look a bit short, although it’s worth pointing out that with a 1,000kg payload, the GR remains a proper pickup in the truest sense. Maybe the GR Sport III will be the magic number when it comes to a Ranger Raptor rival. For now, this one will be on sale early in 2024, with deliveries later in the year.

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