Toyota Cranks Up Hilux Pickup Power Before Ranger Raptor Debut: Will US Get It?

In a strategic move on Toyota’s part, ahead of the Ford Ranger Raptor debut next week, it has kicked up the power for its HiLux pickup. For the 2022 HiLux GR Sport model, both the power and torque have been increased by 10 percent. That’s more than the current Ranger Raptor in both categories. 

What countries is the Toyota HiLux sold in?

2018 Toyota HiLux pickup
2018 Toyota HiLux pickup | Getty

Toyota’s HiLux pickup was dropped in 1995 for the Tacoma in the US and Canada. But it has always been a bit of a mystery why Toyota made the move. It is sold in many other countries including South Africa, Mexico, Thailand, and Australia. 

The 2022 GR Sport will now crank out 221 hp and 404 lb-ft of torque. It still uses the same 2.8-liter Turbo Diesel engine it has seen since 2018. The previous Ranger Raptor, available in other countries but not the US, also used a diesel engine. It will be replaced with the new Ranger Raptor being debuted in the US on February 22. 

This new Ranger Raptor will use Ford’s EcoBoost V6, so it should leapfrog over the GR Sport once its numbers are revealed. So while Toyota’s move puts it in a better position, it still won’t compete, at least with horsepower numbers, with the new Ranger Raptor.

How old is the current Hilux design?

2018 Toyota HiLux
2018 Toyota HiLux pickup at Dakar | Getty

Toyota will reveal more about the HiLux GR Sport after its launch in May in South Africa. This current eighth generation of HiLux has been around for seven years and counting. Toyota’s plan now is to merge its two midsize pickups into a single platform. This would also apply to its Fortuner and 4Runner SUVs, as they’re all built upon the same platform. 

For years the HiLux has sold over 500,000 units on average. In both 2011 and 2012, sales were almost 750,000 each year. So over the decades, the HiLux has seen robust sales figures worldwide.  

While the HiLux enjoys cult status in the US, it saw the same appeal in Japan, even though it was not sold there starting in 2004. So in 2017, Toyota once again began selling the HiLux in its home market. The US hasn’t fared as well with its appeals for HiLux sales. 

Why is a HiLux desirable when we have the Tacoma?

Toyota HiLux tactical
Toyota HiLux tactical with insurgents | Getty

One reason it continues to be looked upon as being better than the Tacoma is because of the solid front axle. It is considered a more rugged truck, making it desirable with off-road enthusiasts. It also has the dubious distinction of being desirable to militant groups for the same reason. 

During news footage of insurgent warfare, you’ll see militants packed in the bed of HiLux pickups with AK-47s. The Hilux even had a war named after it.  When war broke out between Libya and Chad in the 1980s, it was called the “Toyota War.” That’s because it became the penultimate non-standard tactical vehicle used during fighting. 

While there is no chance we’ll be seeing the HiLux sold here, soon there will be no distinction between the HiLux and Tacoma midsize trucks. Then it won’t matter.

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