No doubt Toyota's Gazoo Racing division will be involved.
The Toyota Hilux may have a reputation as one of the toughest off-road trucks on the planet, but the Japanese pickup truck has faced increasingly stiff competition from Ford in recent years. Ford recently revealed the savage Ranger Raptor which will debut in Australia in 2018 followed by the US-spec model in 2019. Building on the success of the F-150 Raptor, sources have suggested that the Range Raptor will be powered by a 2.0-liter twin-turbo diesel engine delivering 200 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque.
Currently, Toyota doesn’t offer a Hilux truck that can compete with the Ranger Raptor, but that could soon change. Speaking to Australian media at the Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota Australia sales and marketing boss Sean Hanley confirmed that Toyota is considering introducing a hardcore Hilux to the model’s current range. “Clearly there’s a gap for us. We don’t have the ‘level four’ (above TRD)”, he told CarAdvice. “When you look at that ute market, the Hilux combined 4×2 and 4×4 is number one year-to-date, and I expect it’ll finish number one for the year. It’ll possibly and probably be the number-one selling car, again, in our market.”
Hanley is referring to the Australian Hilux range which has three variants: WorkMate, SR, and SR5. None of these models an be equipped with an engine larger than a 2.8-liter diesel - even the range-topping TRD package included with the SR5 doesn’t have a gasoline or supercharged option. “We’ve been able to fill that gap somewhat with our TRD vehicle, and we certainly understand that in the future, we’ll have to examine very closely what we do to fill that gap to ensure that our number-one selling car continues to hold that momentum in the future.” Hanley didn’t hint at potential powertrains for a hardcore Hilux, but the unit would probably be retuned by Toyota’s Gazoo Racing division.