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Launches & Reviews Review South Africa

Toyota Hilux GR Sport - Looks, power and presence

The 'torqued-up' bakkie rolled into my driveway the other day and the timing of that could not be more apt. After all, Toyota Gazoo Racing are firing on all cylinders at the 2023 Dakar desert race. They are dune-demolishing the opposition to dust. And just by driving the Hilux GR Sport, I can see why. It's big, it's bold and unmistakeably Toyota.
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj

There is plenty of power to take on the toughest of all road terrains, including deep soft sands like in the Dakar. Here are some quick take-outs:

  • Hilux GR Sport continues Toyota South Africa's GR product roll-out
  • Engine outputs boosted to 165kW and 550Nm
  • GR-specific suspension tuning
  • Bespoke exterior design with distinctive GR-Sport front grille treatment
  • Wider overfenders and black exterior-trim package
  • Leather/Alcantara interior trim with unique GR accents
  • 17" Alloy wheels shod with 265-65-R17 tyres

The 2022 Hilux GR Sport is the second GR iteration of South Africa's best-selling vehicle, following the debut model introduced in 2019. It features a host of unique design and dynamic features to differentiate it from its stablemates and position the Hilux GR-S as the hero model of the range.

Ride and handling

Under the skin, new monotube shock absorbers are paired with stiffer coil springs to deliver improved high-speed stability and handling response. The wheel and tyre package features bespoke 17" alloy wheels in a Titanium finish - while the tyre package has been revised with taller profile 265-65-R17 rubber, to offer enhanced off-road performance.

Exterior: Just eye-catching

Let’s make no bones about the good looks. It’s very eye-catching. The Hilux GR-S wears a unique suit, with the designers penning the design around the concepts of toughness and sportiness. A large and prominent black front grille, horizontal crossbar finished in a carbon-fibre pattern, and chrome Toyota lettering (a GR Sport trademark) announce its presence.

Special treatment has been applied to the LED headlights, alongside vertically-stacked air ducts with integrated LED fog lamps. Keen observers will note that the bumpers are based on the Raider model design (rather than Legend variants) and most notably include wider black overfenders with contrasting inserts.

Image credit: Naresh Maharaj
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj
Image credit: Naresh Maharaj

This helps give the GR Sport a more aggressive appearance. Black mirror caps, black door handles, graphite-coloured side steps and rear styling bar with GR branding - create a sporty contrast.

Four exterior colours are offered mimicking the GR brand colours: Arizona Red, Graphite Grey, Attitude Black and Glacier White. These in turn are offset by the contrasting inlay in the overfender (red, black or silver depending on paintwork choice).

Interior design

Design changes to the interior include a new instrument cluster with a cog-like metallic bezel, red needles and unique gauge face. A bespoke, perforated leather-trim steering wheel with red contrast stitching and GR badging, is joined by sporty aluminium pedals.

Source: MotorPress

GR branding has also been applied to the Push Start button and centre console. Striking carbon-fibre trim replaces the brushed finish in Legend models, which is complemented by red accent trim signalling the GR-S' performance credentials. The racing-inspired front seats feature Alcantara inserts, GR badging on the headrests, red accent panels plus power adjustment for the driver's seat.

Engine and drivetrain

Power output has been increased to 165kW (+15) and torque ramped up by 50 Nm to a peak of 550Nm. This has been accomplished via a special ECU calibration which interfaces with revised 6-speed automatic transmission mapping and lock-up control - to ensure optimised power delivery. These improvements result in a 0-100km/h sprint time reduction of 0.65 seconds. Top speed is quoted as 175km/h. Only one drivetrain configuration is offered in the form of a 4x4 transaxle mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with Auto LSD function.

Specification and features

Standard specification remains comprehensive with the model closely aligned to Legend-grade specification (with the exception of an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and JBL audio).

This includes keyless entry, retractable and power-adjustable side mirrors, automatic headlights, auto door lock, park distance control (PDC), reverse camera, dual-zone climate control, air-conditioned upper glove box, Multi-Information Display (MID), one-touch power windows and integrated power outlets (in 220 and 12-volt format). Fear not. All the bells and whistles are there to ensure a smooth and comfortable drive.


Hilux GR-S 2.8 GD-6 4x4 6AT - R 865,400

All Hilux models are sold with a nine-services/90,000km service plan (intervals set at 10,000km) and a three-year/100,000km warranty. Service and warranty plan extensions can also be purchased from any Toyota dealer (220 outlets).

About Naresh Maharaj

Naresh Maharaj is a petrol head who loves cars and writing about them. He is also a Member of the SA Guild of Motoring Journalists. Naresh is also an international sports correspondent and an acclaimed corporate MC and voice-over artist. Naresh is a sports/news producer for community radio stations and also an award-winning sports journalist. Contact Naresh on moc.liamg@123jarahamn.
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