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Toyota Considering a Hardcore Off-Road Hilux Rival to the Upcoming Ford Ranger Raptor

Toyota Hilux might just become even more badass

Invincible, indestructible, capable… Attributes keep on piling for the most famous pickup truck U.S. buyers can’t have. It seems, though, that Japanese will be forced to push the Toyota Hilux even further. Now that Ford has announced the Raptor version of their Ranger mid-size truck. Ford Ranger Raptor is set to make a debut in 2018, in Australia. This top-of-the-line off-road truck will be offered with the 2.0L twin-turbo diesel engine generating a healthy 200 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. Needless to say, Toyota will have their hands full trying to respond to the challenge.

Toyota currently offers the Hilux SR5 and Hilux TRD as its most capable off-road performers. However, according to Toyota Australia sales and marketing boss Sean Hanley, neither of them is prolific enough to compete with the upcoming Ranger Raptor. “Clearly there’s a gap for us. We don’t have the ‘level four’ (above SR5 and TRD). “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”, he told CarAdvice at the Tokyo Motor Show.

Recently debuted Toyota Hilux Tonka concept might be the answer we’re looking for here. At least in terms of appearance. Powertrain, on the other hand, will likely be sourced from the Gazoo Racing – Japanese automaker’s official WRC factory team lead by four time champion Tommi Mäkinen.

What does this mean to the U.S. buyers? Probably not much, but there’s always an off-chance Toyota will offer Hilux in the U.S. again. A man can dream, right? Although that’s extremely unlikely to happen, there is a chance Japanese will carry the off-road setup over to North America. Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner can all be equipped with the TRD Pro package already, but some revisions will always be appreciated. Especially if they can raise technical capabilities of an outdated vehicle.

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Nikola Potrebić
About Nikola Potrebić

Despite driving a piece of junk, Nikola still manages to survive the harrowing experience called "A road trip in a Yugo," day in, day out. On the other hand, precious few things move him as muscle cars do. Especially those from the bygone golden era, which makes him wonder why wasn't he born a few decades earlier? Well, at least he's been given the opportunity to enjoy the likes of the Pontiak Aztek, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Fiat Multipla, and other lovely millennials, right? Come to think of it, I'll stick with my Yugo. Thank you very much.

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