By Malusi Msomi
The bakkie segment in South Africa is a highly contested one. As much as the Hilux is the best-selling bakkie in Mzansi, it faces stiff competition from the likes of the Isuzu D-Max and the latest generation Ford Ranger which means no time to rest. Enter the Hilux GR-Sport. You’d mistake it to be the range topper but surprisingly it sits below the 4×2 and 4×4 Legend RS.
Our test unit was finished in a rather good-looking Arizona Red paint finish, it also sports LED headlights, black front grille and a plethora of GR badges (we counted 9 on the outside and there could be more). It looks quite boss with its wide over fenders and the blacked-out grille which is borrowed from the Raider. The unique 17-inch wheels with titanium finish is one of the exterior we love as they make the Hilux GR-Sport easily distinguishable.
The GR-S cabin is well-appointed. It has an updated interior design with a new instrument cluster, leather steering wheel with GR branding, aluminum pedals, and carbon-fiber trim with red accents. The front seats come with GR branding, red accents throughout the cabin, Alcantara inserts and power adjustment. The touchscreen infotainment comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Just like the exterior, the interior also comes with an overabundance of GR badging. The one thing Toyota got away with and we commend them with is making some of the door panels look like plastic. They even went to great lengths to even make it looked like its stitched, nice job Toyota. That said, it is starting to age a bit. With the introduction of the new Ford Ranger and incoming Amarok, it makes the Hilux’s cabin look dated.
More power and torque
Powering the Hilux GR-S is an uprated 2.8-litre turbodiesel motor that produces 165 kW (an increase of 15 kW) and 550 Nm (an increase of 50Nm). The engine is paired to a revised 6-speed automatic transmission. The performance bump has improved acceleration with overtaking being a breeze. When it comes to fuel consumption we managed a best of 10.0 L/100 km, but we recon on a long-distance trip you can get it into the low 9’s. When it comes to ride comfort, it is a tad stiff because its revised suspension setup. Off-road however is where it shines as its familiar territory.
The Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) found on the Hilux GR-S provides an array of active safety features, including Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert (LDA), and Pre-Collision System (PCS). Additionally, standard safety systems such as ABS, VSC, EBD, Hill Assist Control (HAC), and Brake Assist are included, as well as passive safety features like ISOFIX and a complete airbag setup.
The Toyota Hilux GR-S plays in a very competitive segment but holds it own thanks to a combination of style, performance, comfort, and safety. The Toyota Hilux GR is priced at R891,400.
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