Toyota counters bakkie attack with potent, sexy Hilux GR-S
Toyota has unleashed its Hilux antidote to counter a growing number of more powerful new bakkie rivals. Rather than reinvent the wheel however, the 2022 GR Sport builds on the solid platform of the tried and tested Hilux, with a little more power, chassis tweaks and a cool new spec to set it apart.
The second GR iteration of South Africa’s best-selling vehicle follows on the original 2019 GR Hilux. It joins the Gazoo range alongside the GR Supra, GR86, GR Corolla Cross and GR Land Cruiser 300 and features a host of unique design and dynamic features to position the new Gazoo model as the hero model of the Hilux range.
The big Hilux GR-S news is under the bonnet
The big news, however, is under the bonnet. Power is up fifteen to 165 kW, while torque jumps 50 Newton-metres to a 550 Nm peak. Factory tweaks include special ECU calibration to interface the engine upgrades to revised 6-speed automatic transmission mapping and lock-up control for optimised power delivery.
Hilux GR-S gets aluminium paddle shifters on the steering wheel for manual shifting. In auto mode, that uprated transmission mapping also holds onto the selected gear for longer. And assists with downshift engine braking. Hilux GR-S comes only in 4×4 get-up with an auto LSD function.
These improvements result in the bakkie’s 0-100 km/h sprint time being slashed by 0.65 seconds. Top speed is quoted as 175 km/h. We wait with bated breath to see if this new bakkie can topple Auto’s existing 4-pot double-cab 4×4 drag strip king 3-litre Mazda BT-50’s 9.25 second 0-100 run soon.
Hot Hilux gets suspension tweaks too
Staying under the skin, Hilux GR-S gets new performance tuned monotube shock absorbers and stiffer coil springs for improved high-speed stability and handling response. Bespoke titanium finish 17″ alloys get taller profile 265-65-R17 rubber for enhanced off-road performance.
Drive Mode Select Power and Eco modes tailor the GR Sport’s power delivery and engine response. Power mode maximises increased power and torque outputs. Braked towing capacity remains a heady 3,500 kg, with a payload of 790 kg for a of 5,850 kg maximum GCM. The trusty 80 litre fuel tank remains.
The Gazoo Hilus is set apart by a large and prominent black grille with bold chrome Toyota lettering on a carbon-fibre pattern horizontal cross bar. Those LED headlights also get special treatment. They sit above vertically stacked air ducts with integrated LED fog lamps on Raider design bumpers.
Hilux GR-S styling tweaks not just on top
GR Hilux also gets wider black over fenders with contrasting inserts, black mirror caps and door handles. Add graphite-coloured side steps and a GR brand rear styling bar. GR side decals are optional this time. Three different designs depend on the red, grey, black, or white exterior colour chosen. Each colour also gets contrasting over fender inlays.
The cockpit is set apart by a new GR instrument cluster with a cog-like metallic bezel, red needles, and unique face. That sits behind a bespoke, perforated leather-trim multifunction steering wheel with red contrast stitching and GR badging. Add sporty aluminium pedals with rubber inserts and a GR branded Push Start button and centre console.
Racing-inspired front seats feature Alcantara inserts, GR badging on the headrests, red accent panels plus power adjustment for the driver’s seat. Striking carbon-fibre trim is complemented by red accent trim signalling the GR-S’ performance credentials.
Legend specification for Hilux GR-S
A comprehensive Legend-grade specification includes keyless entry, retractable power wing mirrors, one-touch power windows and automatic headlights and door locks. There’s also park distance control, a reverse camera, dual-zone climate control, a cooled upper glove box, Multi-Information Display, and integrated 220 and 12-volt power outlets.
Toyota’s familiar CarPlay, Auto-rich Bluetooth and USB touchscreen infotainment system continues. It has main function knobs and buttons and multifunction steering inputs. Hilux GR-S also gains a new panoramic view monitor with a surround camera as well as a bird’s eye view of the vehicle surroundings.
A full Toyota Safety Sense suite includes active safety from Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert and Pre-Collision System. These are backed by the obligatory ABS, VSC, EBD, Hill Assist Control and Brake Assist systems. As well as passive safety aids such as ISOFIX and a full airbag array.
Wait! We kept the best for last!
Like all Hilux models, GR-S comes with the full Toyota Connect service, a 9-service 90,000 km service plan at 10,000 km intervals, and 3-year 100 000 km warranty. Service and warranty plan extensions can also be had from any of Toyota’s 220 South African dealer outlets.
But wait, we’ve left the best for last. Were you expecting a huge premium? Well, that’s not the case – the new Toyota Hilux GR-S S 2.8 GD-6 4×4 6AT sells for just R865K. Which should make for interesting reading when the first 2023 new car sales figures start emerging amid the next round of the eternal South African Bakkie War. Bring it in!
Pricing Toyota Hilux GR-S 2.8 GD-6 4x4 6AT: R865K