Toyota Hilux GR Sport 2022: from workhorse to prancing thoroughbred

The trusty old pick-up gets the Dakar Rally-style treatment

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They are a constant on roads in the Gulf. Count how many you see on your next drive and you'll be surprised by the number of Toyota Hilux pick-ups you come across, even if you go nowhere near an industrial estate.

The trusty old Hilux isn't the most conspicuous vehicle out there. They can get lost in between the Tata buses in the slow lanes. But they're there, quietly going about their business and probably haven't let their driver down after 200,000-plus kilometres.

It's been battered by the elements, battered by the terrain and probably battered by fellow road users.

So what can you do to improve Toyota's Mr Indestructible? If you said send it to the TRD department for a few bells and whistles, you are wrong. This is getting the Gazoo Racing (GR) treatment.

Scroll through the photo gallery above to see the new car.

GR Sport Hilux joins its big brother on the region's roads

It’s not the first UAE favourite from the Japanese carmaker to have the GR Sport treatment. We had an eye-catching Land Cruiser arrive late last year. But there have been plenty of models that have been redefined by GR Sport since the programme kicked off in the past few years.

We're still waiting for a mean-looking Yaris to shake up our rental market.

Quote
We are bringing the GR Sport to one of the strongest players in the lifestyle pick-up segment, adding chassis and suspension tuning to tackle the most extreme off-road conditions
Andy Barratt, managing director Toyota and Lexus, Al-Futtaim

So, is the GR Sport Hilux for the working man who will be navigating around the capital's Mussaffah roundabouts? Not really. Al-Futtaim are looking to muscle in on a market dominated by the big American pick-ups.

"We are bringing the GR Sport to one of the strongest players in the lifestyle pick-up segment, adding chassis and suspension tuning to tackle the most extreme off-road conditions," says Andy Barratt, managing director Toyota and Lexus, Al-Futtaim. "We are confident that this vehicle will exceed the expectations of those who have waited for it for so long.”

It looks mean, it looks athletic. It has a presence. You will see this one coming with its three-dimensional trademarked front grille and specially designed front bumper. It also features a beefy skid plate, wide arch extensions to fit the 18-inch alloy wheels and tyres, as well as unique door handle and tailgate designs.

And if you haven't seen it yet, you'll probably hear it. This one packs a 4.0-litre V6 — up from the 2.7l standard. You can keep it on Eco-mode or switch to four-wheel drive and it will excel on anything thrown at it thanks to a focus on suspension and steering during its design.

Similar to the GR Sport Land Cruiser, there's a tonne of technology added in the guise of driver aids, cameras and parking sensors, because you won't want to scratch this one.

Inside, the Hilux gets the GR branding and touches throughout — and an eight-inch infotainment unit — so your workman has no excuses taking the wrong turn. But priced at Dh154,000 ($41,927), I don't think your home delivery from a warehouse will be arriving in one soon.

Updated: April 12, 2022, 4:26 AM
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