The new flagship of the Toyota Hilux range has been caught on camera in Thailand in a slightly disguised fashion. Here’s what we’ve been able to do so far.
This is our first look 2023 Toyota Hilux GR Sport – The flagship UT will replace the range-topping Toyota Hilux Rugged X in Australian showrooms next year.
While other versions of the Toyota Hilux GR Sport have been launched in Europe, South Africa and Japan over the past year, the 2023 version looks to be the most aggressive yet – and it’s coming to Australia for the first time.
A series of photos published on social media platforms Instagram The highly-regarded Kurdistan_Automotive_blog – which has a reputation for posting genuine spy-photo scoops – drove a lightly camouflaged Toyota Hilux on a main road in Thailand (where Hilux examples sold in Australia are made).
It’s clear from the images of the Toyota Hilux being tested that it features the same wide track and extended wheel arch flares that debuted with Australia’s other flagship – the Toyota Hilux Rogue – in recent months.
The wider bodywork – and wider footprint – is matched by a major suspension overhaul front and rear, 70mm-wider axles and the fitment of four-wheel disc brakes.
As part of the suspension overhaul, there are new lower control arms for the front suspension, and the rear shock absorbers have been moved outboard from the rear chassis rails for better stability on bumpy roads (as is the case with both generations of the Volkswagen Amarok and the new Ford Ranger).
Photos show the 2023 Toyota HiLux GR Sport tested equipped with aggressive all-terrain tires and a new wheel design (which is under wraps for now).
Although the new front bumper and grille are heavily masked, the camouflage doesn’t do much to disguise the bold new design and prominent “bash plate”.
If the 2023 Toyota HiLux GR Sport follows the styling theme of the other variants, the grille will feature TOYOTA lettering instead of the oval logo badge.
It’s not clear why Toyota added two lines of tape above the headlights and across the bonnet; It is possible that it was designed to look less like the Hilux and to disguise the prominence of the new grille.
The car in the photo has a strip of tape on the front door and a large section of tape to the right of the tailgate – where the GR Sport badge is found on current versions of the Hilux GR Sport sold overseas.
Power output for the 2023 Toyota HiLux GR Sport has yet to be revealed, but a previous top-end model in South Africa delivered a power bump from 150kW/500Nm to 165kW/550Nm for the 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel.
There has been speculation overseas that the 2023 Toyota HiLux GR Sport could be equipped with a turbo diesel V6 engine, but this is unlikely due to the added cost of a new round of emissions tests so late in the current model’s lifecycle.
The current generation Toyota Hilux is over seven years old after its local launch in August 2015.
If history is a guide, the next-generation Toyota Hilux will arrive in late 2025 or early 2026.
For now it’s unclear if the significant underbody changes to the 2023 Toyota HiLux Rogue and 2023 Toyota HiLux GR Sport will actually form the basis of the next-generation Toyota HiLux. This means the next model could simply be a new “top hat” (industry-speak for new bodywork on an existing chassis).
Or, Toyota could double-down on improvements to its icon Hilux models three years after the next model to keep it fresh amid tough new competition from the benchmark ride and handling of the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok.