Toyota Hilux GR Sport: Looks, power and presence
The GR product hierarchy comprises four levels, represented as a pyramid: The first layer is GR Parts, which allows customers to inject their normal model variant with GR flavour, followed by the GR-S moniker which offers cosmetic and dynamic handling enhancements (Corolla Cross, Hilux, Land Cruiser 300). The third tier is occupied by fully-fledged GR performance models (GR86, GR Yaris, GR Supra), while the fourth and final layer is GRMN - which represents the highest level of performance tuning.
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 cross bar 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 the Legend variants) and most notably include wider black overfenders with contrasting inserts. 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.
Customers can also opt for GR side decals on the doors to further add to the visual drama. These decals can be ordered and installed as a dealer option, and come in three designs depending on exterior colour chosen.
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).
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 (with rubber inserts). 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'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.
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.
Engine and drivetrain
While the GR-S moniker normally represents cosmetic and handling enhancements, the Hilux variant has a trick up its sleeve in the performance department too. Power output has been increased to 165 kW (+15) and torque ramped up by 50 Nm to a peak of 550 Nm. This has been accomplished via a special electronic control unit calibration which interfaces with revised six-speed automatic transmission mapping and lock-up control - to ensure optimised power delivery. These improvements result in a zero to 100 km/h sprint time reduction of 0.65 seconds. Top speed is quoted as 175 km/h.
Only one drivetrain configuration is offered in the form of a 4x4 transaxle mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with Auto LSD function. Aluminium paddle shifters have been added to the mix, allowing the driver to select gears on their own accord, while the transmission mapping also holds onto the selected gear for longer, and assists with downshift engine braking.
Drive mode select offers power and eco modes to tailor the GR-S’s power delivery and engine response, with power mode making maximum use of the increased power and torque outputs.
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, reverse camera, dual-zone climate control, air-conditioned upper glove box, multi-information display, one-touch power windows and integrated power outlets (in 220 and 12-volt format).
A new feature is the panoramic view monitor, which provides surround camera as well as a bird’s eye view of the vehicle surroundings. This feature is particularly handy when traversing obstacles.
Safety and security
The Hilux GR-S is equipped with Toyota Safety Sense, which offers a full suite of active safety aids including adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert and pre-collision system. These are joined by the obligatory anti-lock braking system, vehicle stability control, electronic brakeforce distribution, hill assist control and brake assist systems, as well as passive safety aids such as Isofix and a full airbag array.