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Toyota reveals HiLux GR Sport, Aus intro TBC

First traces of sporty Toyota HiLux show up, tweaked Isuzu D-Max emerges in Thailand

12 Oct 2021

FOLLOWING in the wake of popular hero utes like the Ford Ranger Raptor and Nissan Navara Warrior, stylised pick-ups are also becoming increasingly common offerings with both Toyota and Isuzu Ute debuting pumped-up versions of their respective HiLux and D-Max, albeit overseas.

 

In the Toyota’s case, the HiLux GR Sport appears to be based loosely on the Australian market SR5 and follows the usual GR Sport trend of sportier looks and a mild improvement in dynamics.

 

Looking closely, the new sports model features the same exterior trim upgrades as the local Rogue variant, however the body cladding, wheelarch surrounds and some of the grille trim have been made body-coloured rather than black.

 

The rest of the front fascia has also been made a darker gloss black compared with the more matte-looking colour of the Rogue, with other similarities running so deep that even the 18-inch alloy wheel design and sailplane sportsbar (on the Thai version) are the same.

 

Inside the cabin are more aggressively bolstered front seats finished in black synthetic leather upholstery with an embroidered GR logo on the headrest and red inserts on the side of the bolsters.

 

A GR logo is also present on the TFT driver’s display, steering wheel and key fob, features complemented by the red stitching throughout the cabin and sports pedals.

 

Under the skin are revised monotube shock absorbers designed to improve steering response and reduce bodyroll while the off-road friendly locking rear differential has been replaced with a more performance-biased self-locking unit.

 

The GR Sport scores no powertrain upgrades, the Japanese versions being supplied with a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine while the Thai versions nab the familiar 150kW/500Nm 2.8-litre turbo-diesel.

 

Toyota’s sports-themed HiLux is yet to be confirmed for our market. GoAutohas contacted Toyota Australia for comment.

 

As for the D-Max, Isuzu has revealed its updated V-Cross range-topper in Thailand – equivalent to our X-Terrain – that has been gifted a few visual enhancements to make it look meaner and more imposing.

 

Most of the changes can be found at the front with a new two-tone front bumper and grille combination and a new ‘OPEC’ grey hero colour.

 

The standard 18-inch alloys have come in for a chunkier and more aggressive redesign too, while a more refined theme is continued through the cabin with a new two-tone black and brown colour scheme as well as redesigned seats.

 

Despite filing an Australian trademark for the V-Cross nameplate back in February, Isuzu Ute Australia (IUA) sales and marketing director Koichiro Yoshida said the new V-Cross would only be offered in Thailand for the time being, but that the local division was monitoring its market response.

 

“Isuzu Ute Australia will monitor the market response to this update, to ensure that any product updates to the D-Max in the future, meet the Australian market’s requirements – before committing to any changes in the local Australian product,” he said.

 

An IUA spokesperson also confirmed there were no updates regarding the announcement, development or introduction of a genuine hero ute to sit atop the D-Max range – yet – as speculated back in February when GoAutobroke the V-Cross story.

 

Unlike the HiLux, no changes have been made to the D-Max’s underpinnings, though the MY22 X-Terrain is set to receive a few interior tweaks to make it feel sportier when it arrives here in the first quarter of next year.


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