great, more forbidden fruit

Toyota’s Toughest Pickup Could Battle Ford’s Raptor, Thanks to the Next Land Cruiser


June 28, 2020 Cars By Photo by John Torcasio
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The Tundra may be a capable beast and the Tacoma renowned for its durability, but when it comes to Toyota’s toughest pickup, there’s no disputing which truck gets the honor: the HiLux. The midsized rig has been kicking ass and taking names all around the world for more than 50 years; while it was replaced by the Taco here in the U.S. back in 1995, elsewhere on Earth, its rugged, simple nature and nigh-on indestructible build quality means it serves as the de facto default vehicle for people in tough trades and lands with rough roads — or no roads at all.

And thanks to the next-generation Land Cruiser, it could even turn into a rival for the Ford Ranger Raptor.

That’s the word from Australia’s CarsGuide, at least. (And the Aussies know their HiLuxes and Land Cruisers.) According to CarsGuide, Toyota has at least kicked around the idea of a GR HiLux — a high-performance off-road version of the truck — even going so far as to trademark the name Down Under.

“we are not ruling truly out any model from GR modification,” a Toyota spokesperson said, according to CarsGuide. “We race the HiLux in Dakar, so it’s definitely not out of the question that we could see a vehicle like that some time in the future.”

Toyota, though, has also said such a truck would require a powerful diesel engine that could fit under the truck’s hood. Right now, no such engine exists.

But the upcoming 300-Series Land Cruiser is expected to ditch its existing gas and turbodiesel V8s for turbocharged V6, and according to CarsGuide‘s sources, that SUV’s new six-pot turbodiesel is expected to make its way into the HiLux. Assuming it cranks out at least as much power as the existing Land Cruiser‘s oil-burning V8 (which spits out 268 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque), it should be grunty enough to blow away the Ranger Raptor; that truck only comes with a turbodiesel inline-four, after all, and makes 210 hp and 370 lb-ft.

Of course, even if the Toyota GR HiLux does come to pass, will we ever see this badass Toyota here in the United States? With the HiLux gone from our shoresfor a quarter-century, the odds would be slim even if Toyota knew there was a niche for a diesel-powered high-performance midsize pickup here. Ford doesn’t even bother bringing the Ranger Raptor here, after all. Still, never say never; at the very least, maybe we’ll get lucky and see Toyota slot some go-fast off-road bits onto the next Tacoma.

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Will Sabel Courtney

Will Sabel Courtney is Gear Patrol’s Motoring Editor, formerly of The Drive and RIDES Magazine. You can often find him test-driving new cars in New York City, cursing the slow-moving traffic surrounding him.

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