By Amanda Mfuphi
Recently we had the opportunity of spending time with the Toyota Hilux Gazoo Racing (GR) Sport which is a limited-edition model with only 600 units being built and made available to the South African market. Incidentally, the exclusive Hilux GR Sport is being compared to the likes of the Ford Ranger Raptor and Isuzu Artic AT 35 which command a considerable premium over their stable mates whilst offering exclusivity and features that are not offered in lower models.
The Hilux GR Sport immediately grabs attention of on-lookers with Gazoo Racing inspired team colours. The exterior sports Gazoo Racing stickers, a bold black gloss grille with a huge Toyota emblem in silver and GR sport decals and GR Sport 17-inch alloys with 265/65 all-terrain tyres. Our Hilux GR Sport featured a black bonnet and roof, with matching black side mirrors and contrasted with a maroon bumper and side panels.
The Hilux GR Sport is also clad with Gazoo Racing stickers on the side panels and at the back as well as various GR Sport decals on the side panels. The Hilux GR Sport side steps are also branded with the GR Sport logo to distinguish this Hilux from other Hilux bakkies. The exterior features are rounded up by LED headlamps with daytime lights running function. The exterior features of the Hilux GR Sports really do not go unnoticed with people constantly asking about the vehicle and some even taking a snap of the vehicle.
The interior of the Hilux GR Sports reminds you that you in a bakkie that is not just for leisure but is also a workhorse as it is not the most glamourous as you confronted by hard plastic on the dashboard and door side. Despite this, we felt that the leather seats with red stitching and the GR Sport badges make up for the hard-plastic interior.
The Hilux GR Sport has an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that is Bluetooth, DVD and USB enabled but there is no Apple CarPlay or Android AutoPlay in the GR Sport. Another downside is that the Hilux GR Sport only has one USB port which created a bit of a challenge with the charging of phones in our trip to KwaZulu-Natal. To make up for this, the Hilux GR Sport has a 12V power socket. To assist the driver navigate the vehicle in tight parking spots, the Hilux GR Sport has a reverse camera.
Power and drive
The Hilux GR Sport is powered by a 2.8-litre GD-6 turbodiesel engine which pushes out a 130 kW of power and 450 Nm of torque. The engine is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission with selectable Power and Eco modes which alter the driving performance accordingly, by adapting throttle response and transmission shift logic. We took the Hilux GR Sport on a trip to Estcourt in KwaZulu-Natal and we found the vehicle to be a good travel companion as it offered a decently sized cabin for occupants. The cabin is also decently insulated with not too much engine noise being transferred into it. We found the ride quality of the Hilux GR Sport to be on the firmer side due to the off-road bias nature of the suspension. The Hilux GR Sport took on the long stretches of gravel roads in Estcourt without breaking a sweat. It actually felt at home in these conditions.
The GR Sport also is actually adequately powered to carry its body, and this is not affected by the number of passengers and the tons of luggage we were ferrying to Estcourt as part of festivities there. You would expect a vehicle as big as GR Sport and one that is also as powerful to demand a lot of diesel but that is not the case, we managed an average fuel consumption of 10.2L/100km when we returned from our approximately 800km roundtrip from Johannesburg to Estcourt, KwaZulu-Natal.
The Toyota Hilux GR Sport 2.8 GD-6 4×4 GR Sport 6AT is priced at R707 400. The Hilux GR Sport comes with a 3-year/100 000 km warranty. A 9-services/90 000 km service plan is also standard.
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