toyota goes from boring to bonkers! how australia's new-car king wants to crush everything and every segment
Toyota has officially gone bananas!

A series of rapid-fire announcements made this week by Toyota in Australia prove the country’s biggest new-car force has officially transformed from boring to bananas.

While we’re still reeling from the brand’s sudden transition from safe and sensible to a performance-car powerhouse, the brand has now announced it will finally turn its attention to a Ranger Raptor-rumbling HiLux and a Ram 1500-hunting Toyota Tundra full-size pickup.

The move will give Toyota one of the most exciting line-ups in Australia, covering the full spectrum from safe and sensible to completely bonkers.

So just what the hell is going on? Remember, this is a car company that – by its own admission – was making boring cars. It was famous for it, no less.

But back in 2017, global president Akio Toyoda promised there would be no more boring cars. And as it turns out, he wasn’t messing about.

It was a promise that would lead to a genuine performance revolution, from the GR Supra, GR Yaris, GR86, GR Corolla and the long-promised GR HiLux.

So, with the performance side of the ledger sorted, the brand turned its attention to the ute and pick-up market, which began with news the brand would finally have a crack at its Ford Ranger Raptor rival, with a new “apex off-road variant” that will come in the shape of a GR-S HiLux.

Tantalisingly described as a “hardcore halo variant”, the new HiLux model will touch down in Australia in the second half of 2023. It might be Australia’s first GR-S HiLux model – which is less a ground-up new model, and more a way of squeezing more performance out of the current vehicle – but several examples of this toughened-up Toyota already exist overseas.

The most likely candidate for Australia, though, is the South African version of the GR-S HiLux, which gets a power boost as well as new equipment. While HiLux’s engine hasn’t changed, South African GR-S has been tuned up to produce more power and torque, with 165kW and 550Nm on offer from its 2.8-litre turbo-dieselpower plant.

There’s also new monotube shock absorbers and new front springs, with the brand promising the the “dedicated suspension enhancements deliver an even more rewarding driving experience, with increased control, responsiveness and grip feel.”

That’s enough grunt to match the outgoing Ford Ranger Raptor, but will still be shaded by the new model, which is fitted with an all-new 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 petrol EcoBoost powertrain that delivers a massive 292kW and 583Nm.

Not to be outdone, the brand then immediately confirmed a right-hand-drive development program for the Tundra. While stopping short of confirming it will definitely hit showrooms, the announcement does give the impression it will take a minor miracle for that not to occur.

Why do we think so? Because the brand is partnering with re-manufacturing champions Walkinshaw on the project – a company already responsible for performing similar, and flawless, work with Ram and Chevrolet – with an agreement to produce 300 prototype vehicles to begin testing as early as September.

Powering the Australian-spec Tundra will be a 3.5-litre twin-turbo petrol V6 with hybrid, which should makes 286kW and 650Nm.

That will out-punch the petrol V8s offered in the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram 1500, but will put the Tundra on a collision course with the Ford F-150, which launches mid-2023 with a 3.5-litre twin-turbo EcoBoost petrol V6 producing 298kW and 678Nm.

So, it’s official. Toyota is a boring car company no more. And we couldn’t be happier about it.

Keyword: Toyota goes from boring to bonkers! How Australia's new-car king wants to crush everything and every segment

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