GR Hilux

We bid our Toyota Hilux GR Sport Hulk a sad farewell

Regular readers will have followed our adventures with our medium term test Toyota Hilux GR Sport. Like all good things, it has sadly come to an end, leaving us to reflect on a fine few months with a legend. Hulk, as we soon came to call our medium term test GR Sport, started his sojourn with a regular road test.

He wasn’t brand new, with just under 17,000 km on the clock. The second GR iteration of South Africa’s best-selling vehicle, ours also arrived in the very week that the Toyota Hilux finally breached the million rand selling price mark. Hulk isn’t quite there yet. The big news is however under the bonnet. Power is up fifteen to 165 kilowatts. Torque jumps 50 Newton-metres to a 550 Nm peak. Get used to it!

GR Hilux

Fifteen kilowatts, fifty Newton Metres up

So we strapped our VBox to Hulk at the soonest convenience to check what fifteen more kilowatts and fifty extra Newton Metres really means… Precisely half a second to a hundred. He’s also a second faster zero to 120 km/h and six tenths nimbler between 80 and 120 km/h. So yes, that extra GR grunt makes a difference.

GR Sport also gets an uprated flappy paddle shifter auto box and auto LSD. Suspension is tweaked to improve stability and response and bespoke 17″ alloys get taller 265-65-R17 rubber to enhance off-road performance. Drive Mode Select tailors power delivery and engine response as Power mode maximises those increased power and torque outputs.


Hulk Is rated to pull out of his boots

Braked towing capacity remains a heady 3,500 kg, with a 790 kg payload for a of 5,850 kg maximum GCM. Our next point of business was to test that to the full. That experience also happened to be the first opportunity our GR Sport had to celebrate its stormy heritage. This bakkie’s launch was delayed by a flood that ruined Toyota’s Durban plant, remember…

Well, our next mission was the first to celebrate it all in style. Our tow test pulled our Tork Craft Polo Cup race car up to East London for the July nationals. The trailer was easy to hitch thanks to the reverse camera and we were ready to go. But Wednesday dawned mad and a bitter wet cold front chased us all the way across the country.

GR Sport never noticed any of it!

Not ideal for towing. But did it make a difference? Nope. Hulk hardly noticed our double-axle breakneck trailer bearing a fully laden racecar, or the 500 kg of kit in the bak. Never mind, those revised outputs do its real road performance no justice. The increases down at the bottom and towards the midrange, are far more significant than what’s reported up top.

Impressively torquey and powerful, the improvements are far more noticeable, the harder you work it. Overtaking is just a matter of flooring it. The GR re-fettled six-speed auto simply shifts to the optimal cog and it pulls like a bastard. Made passing and overtaking so easy, laden as we were. Sometimes it has to be encouraged to upshift, but just by a tug at the flappy paddle.


Hulk pulled like a bastard

We were twice forced to emergency brake. Hilux GR Sport, and the whole rig did so without any fuss or bother. Straight, calm, and efficient, albeit with a noisy ABS grind. Handling is stable, there was no trailer sway. We missed an auto wiper function that some rivals offer, but it was luxurious, warm, and comfy throughout. Hulk sipped 13 litres per hundred through our twenty hour haul there and back.

Returning to the daily grind back home, we enjoyed a thoroughly strong relationship with our Hulk. Look, its latest rivals are better in some areas. Ride is choppy unladen, especially if experienced from the rear seat. Which is also a bit tight now, compared to those latest double cabs. It’s also noisy through the wind, once again, more so in the back.


Economy not worth complaining about

Everyday fuel consumption was good. Albeit north of the claimed 8 litres per hundred. Hilux GR Sport is well equipped, even if its infotainment is a bit old school, a touch tardy and small. A good thing because even us humans can work it. Only spacemen can work some rivals’ mad systems that demand next level intellect and bodily ability to operate.

Hulk’s stormy disposition followed us throughout his time with us. From that challenging tow trip he made so easy, through perhaps the most torrid Cape of Storms winter in many a year. And ending with those Franschhoek floods that so appropriately wrapped this bakkie’s life story up on Heritage Day!


It’s simply a matter of trust!

Hulk ran perfectly through all of that, from rescuing folk from the rising water to mucking in to clean up after, the bakkie starred throughout. We also used our Hilux to move family of ours to a new home, all of which was achieved without ever even a hint of a problem or hitch. A bakkie is a bakkie and even this sporty, luxury double cab starred as a basic pickup as, and when required.

Most of all however, our Hulk left us convinced why, despite his advanced age versus some pretty handy 2022 and 3 models, the Toyota Hilux remains South Africa’s most popular selling car, month in and month out. It’s simply a matter of trust! – Michele Lupini

Testing & photography: Giordano Lupini

MEDIUM TERM WRAP: Toyota Hilux GR Sport
Engine: 165kW 550Nm 2.8-litre turbodiesel I4
Drive: 6-speed automatic 4x4
Odo on Arrival:   16,876 km
Odo Now:          21,995 km
Real world fuel:  9 l/100km
Towing Fuel:      13.4 l/100 km
Claimed Fuel:     8 l/100km
CO2:              210 g/km
Range:            1,000 km
Payload:          790 kg
Max Towing:       3500 kg
Warranty/Service: 3y 100K 9s/90K km
0-60 km/h:        4.23 sec
0-100 km/h:       9.38 sec
0-120 km/h:       12.72 sec
0-160 km/h:       25.96 sec
400 m:            16.9 sec @ 134 km/h
80-120 km/h:      6.16 sec
120-160 km/h:     13.24 sec
Claimed VMax:     180 km/h
Dunlop Grandtrek
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