2024 Toyota HiLux GR Sport Review
Price & Equipment: 7.5
Performance & Economy: 8
Ride & Handling: 8.5
Interior & Practicality: 6.5
Service & Warranty: 6.5
What we like:
  • Meaningful performance boost for the GR Sport
  • Improved handling balance over other HiLux models
  • Great off-road, keeps 3.5 tonne towing rating
What we don't like:
  • Expensive and inconvenient to service
  • Feeling its age inside and out
  • Don't expect new Ranger Raptor performance
7.4DiscoverAuto Rating:

It’s undeniable that Australians have a strong connection with the Toyota HiLux. Although the Ford Ranger has stolen its sales crown in recent years, the HiLux has been on Australian roads since 1968 and since then, more than 1.2 million of them have been sold here. The current-generation HiLux has been around since 2015 and with no new model having been announced yet, the Australian arm has been busy introducing new variants to keep interest flowing, including a new top-spec off-road variant. Is the 2024 Toyota HiLux GR Sport the best yet? Let’s find out.

2024 Toyota HiLux GR

It’s no secret that Australians have been in love with utes forever, and despite incoming NVES emissions regulations, this is unlikely to change anytime soon. The HiLux is just one option in a seemingly endless list of options – rivals include the Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max, Mazda BT-50, Volkswagen Amarok, SsangYong Musso, Mitsubishi Triton and Nissan Navara – so what separates it from the crowd?

How much does the 2024 Toyota HiLux cost to buy?

Pricing for the 2024 HiLux range starts at around $34,000 drive away for the entry-level Workmate trim, while here we’re testing the top-spec GR Sport, which is priced at $74,310 plus on-road costs or around $80,500 drive away, depending on location. That’s not cheap, but hardly uncommon in the segment.

HiLux GR Sport standard equipment:

  • Several GR Sport-specific styling details, including the ‘T O Y O T A’ logo on the sports front grille, red brake callipers, sports seats, GR leather steering wheel, GR gear knob, red seatbelts, key, pedals, tub liner, badging, front bumper and speedometer graphics
  • 17-inch alloy wheels with Bridgestone Dueler 265/65R17 all-terrain tyres
  • Dusk-sensing automatic LED headlights with LED daytime running lights
  • Heated and electric-folding exterior mirrors
  • 4x automatic up/down windows
  • Rear privacy glass
  • Leather and suede upholstery 
  • Heated front sports seats with 8-way electric driver adjustment
  • Manual intermittent wipers
  • Dual-zone climate control with rear air vents
  • Keyless entry and push button start 
  • Auto-dimming rear mirror 
  • 4.2-inch digital driver’s display
  • 8.0-inch touchscreen
  • Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring
  • Satellite navigation
  • AM/FM/DAB+ digital radio 
  • Nine-speaker JBL sound system
  • Wireless phone charger 
  • 3x USB charging ports, 1x 12V socket
  • Toyota Connected Services convenience features: my garage, odometer, distance to empty and fuel level, vehicle status, vehicle locator, manuals and safety recall information (complimentary for the life of the vehicle) plus guest driver settings, drive pulse, recent trip, remote lock/unlock, remote engine start, remote hazard lights and remote air-conditioning (complimentary for three years) through the Toyota smartphone app

HiLux GR Sport standard safety equipment:

  • Seven airbags
  • Auto emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection
  • Road sign recognition 
  • Lane departure alert and assistance
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
  • 360-degree camera
  • Front and rear parking sensors 
  • Auto-dimming rear mirror
  • Alarm

The 2024 Toyota HiLux range received a five-star ANCAP rating in 2019 with scores of 96 per cent for adult protection, 87 per cent for child protection, 88 per cent for vulnerable road user protection and 78 per cent for safety assist.

HiLux GR Sport colour range:

  • Glacier White: $0
  • Eclipse Black: $675
  • Feverish Red: $675
  • Stunning Silver: $675
  • Frosted White: $675
  • Feverish Red with Black Roof: $1,000
  • Frosted White with Black Roof: $1,000 (fitted to our test car)

The HiLux GR Sport is not unique in the segment in offering pumped up styling and featuring suspension upgrades. Most will compare it with a Ford Ranger Raptor, but that’s significantly more powerful and significantly more expensive as well at around $98,000 drive away. Therefore, we consider the Nissan Navara Pro-4X Warrior (priced from $71,265 +ORC but currently on special for $69,990 drive away) and Mazda BT-50 Thunder (around $73,000 drive away) to be the HiLux GR Sport’s main rivals.

Both the Navara Pro-4X Warrior and BT-50 Thunder are better value than the HiLux GR Sport as they’re both less expensive and yet, include more standard equipment. Both rivals add features like a front light bar, roof rails, a sports bar, lumbar adjustment for the driver’s seat, auto high beam, rain-sensing automatic wipers and full leather trim. In addition to that, the BT-50 adds wireless smartphone mirroring, larger 18-inch wheels and an electric tonneau cover. The HiLux does add a premium sound system over both rivals here, adaptive cruise control over the Navara and a 360-degree camera over the BT-50, but it’s still a lot more expensive to buy.

How powerful is the 2024 Toyota HiLux GR Sport?

Under the bonnet of the 2024 Toyota HiLux GR Sport is the same ‘1GD-FTV’ 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine as the lesser HiLuxes, but it’s been massaged to produce 165kW of power (3,000rpm) and 550Nm of torque (between 1,600rpm and 2,800rpm) – 15kW and 50Nm more than regular HiLux models. The only available transmission is a six-speed torque converter automatic with paddle shifters, while the GR Sport uses a full-time four-wheel drive system with low range. The Navara and BT-50 make less grunt at 140kW/450Nm for both, while the Navara uses a seven-speed automatic transmission, the BT-50 uses an also-Aisin made six-speed automatic.

The claimed combined fuel consumption figure for the 2024 Toyota HiLux GR Sport is 8.1L/100km with claimed CO2 emissions of 213g/km – identical figures to the Navara, while the BT-50 uses marginally less fuel at 8.0L/100km and emits 207g/km. Our week behind the wheel of the HiLux with a mixture of highway and urban driving saw a figure of 9.2L/100km, which isn’t too far from the claim and closer than we’ve achieved than in a lot of other utes. The HiLux has a 80-litre fuel tank.

What is the 2024 Toyota HiLux GR Sport like to drive?

The current generation of HiLux is certainly not the most dynamic or comfortable product in the ute segment, but it’s generally competent across most areas. It seems that Toyota’s engineers are aware of that as well as the transformation to GR Sport involved a quite a comprehensive upgrade: it uses the wider track of the Rogue that sits below it, with an additional 135mm of width at the front and 155mm at the rear. There are new 17-inch wheels with all-terrain tyres and the ride height has been increased by 15mm to 265mm. Finally, there are new KYB monotube shock absorbers, increased front coil spring rigidity, four-wheel disc brakes and the rear stabiliser bar from the Rogue has been deleted for greater off-road rear axle articulation.

Does this dynamic transformation make a difference in the real world? Definitely – the GR Sport is the best-driving HiLux for this generation. The brakes are a big improvement over standard models and while the ride is firmer – especially at low speeds – the trade off is improved handling. The steering is heavy at low speeds, though it lightens up nicely after setting off. Of course, it’s no sports car – or Ranger Raptor, if you were wondering – but the HiLux GR Sport is more fun than a standard model from behind the wheel. Both the Navara Pro-4X Warrior and BT-50 Thunder are more comfortable, however.

Helping that fun factor is the uprated engine, which is noticeably punchier than the standard HiLux 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine – more so than the modest performance upgrades would suggest. But more noticeable is the revised gearbox software, which enables it to proactively downshift when braking and makes it a lot more responsive when using manual mode. This aspect alone makes the driving experience feel more natural and more modern as well, though it’s still a noisy unit.

We didn’t get a chance to take the HiLux GR Sport off road, but reports from its launch suggest a big upgrade over the standard models. If you’re wanting to tow with a HiLux GR Sport, its 3,500kg braked trailer rating is identical to lesser HiLux models – though, its payload is only 780kg, if that matters. Finally, the HiLux’s active safety equipment is reasonable, but a Ranger runs rings around it for feature availability and tuning. In particular, the crude lane keeping assistance system had us switching it off and keeping it there. It also misses out on features like auto high beam and even rain-sensing wipers but the basics like its auto emergency braking (AEB) and adaptive cruise control systems work well.

How practical is the 2024 Toyota HiLux GR Sport?

The HiLux’s interior has been largely unchanged since this generation was revealed back in 2015, and it is starting to feel a bit dated. It’s ergonomically pleasing with buttons logically laid out and easy to use, though like a lot of the last generation of Toyota product, adding new features simply meant adding a new button and not cohesively either. Quality is good in that it feels built to last and our test car had no rattles, though don’t expect luxurious materials as it’s still a commercial vehicle. An $80,000 commercial vehicle yep, but still a commercial vehicle nonetheless.

2024 Toyota HiLux GR

The quality of the leather and suede on the seats is reasonable, though the rest of the cabin is covered in hard plastics – and the fake stitching on the dashboard isn’t that well done either. The leather used on the steering wheel is much nicer than the coarse leather used on lesser HiLux models, however. But overall, the Ford Ranger/Volkswagen Amarok and Isuzu D-Max/Mazda BT-50 feature better quality interiors, and they’re also a lot more modern as well, but the basics are covered in the HiLux.

The 8.0-inch touchscreen and infotainment system uses Toyota’s last-generation infotainment software and is a little small and dated now. It features shortcut keys either side of the screen to make navigating between menus easier, but the system itself is a little laggy and it’s not as responsive as we would like it to be – it’s still easier to use than the system in the BT-50, however. The screen quality is reasonable, and it features the equipment basics like wired smartphone mirroring, digital radio and satellite navigation – though no wireless smartphone mirroring.

The rear cabin in the HiLux is a little cramped, especially if you’re taller. Headroom is fine, though leg and kneeroom can be tight, even for shorter passengers. There are rear air vents, map pockets and two bag hooks, while two USB ports have been added for 2024 cars. The seats fold up and down in case you need to store more, while there are also map pockets.

The tray of the 2024 Toyota HiLux GR Sport comes with a GR Sport-specific tub liner as well as tie down points but nothing that the Ford Ranger’s tray features like an inbuilt ruler. The tray measures 1,560mm in length and 1,520mm wide (1,000mm between the arches), so it won’t fit an Australian pallet, but is still large enough for most uses.

What warranty covers the 2024 Toyota HiLux GR Sport?

As with other new Toyota products, the 2024 Toyota HiLux GR Sport is covered by a five-year/unlimited km warranty with no roadside assistance, but a mechanical warranty extension if serviced through a Toyota dealership. The HiLux’s service intervals are six-monthly/every 10,000km (whichever comes first) and the cost to service it over five years/100,000km is $3,890 ($778 per year).

2024 Toyota HiLux GR

Both Nissan and Mazda also feature five-year/unlimited km warranties with five years of roadside assistance, and both feature far more convenient servicing schedules than Toyota: once-yearly/every 20,000km for the Navara and once-yearly/every 15,000km for the BT-50. Five years of servicing the Navara costs $3,305 ($661 per service) and the same for the BT-50 costs $2,523 ($504 annually).

Should I buy a 2024 Toyota HiLux GR Sport?

Overall, there’s no doubting the 2024 Toyota HiLux GR Sport’s abilities: it’s excellent off-road and mostly improved on it, its surprisingly grunty engine goes well, it includes a lot of standard equipment and, like most other HiLuxes, it’s more than comfortable enough to drive all day without issue. It’s no surprise to see how popular that HiLux still is.

2024 Toyota HiLux GR

Counting against it is a dated cabin that feels cramped in the rear, a firm low-speed ride quality, its expensive and inconvenient service intervals, a laggy touchscreen and that even though it’s a lot cheaper than a Ranger Raptor, it’s still expensive to buy. Plus, unless you’re doing a lot of off-road driving, its key attribute will be lost on you. Overall, the GR Sport is an improvement on the current shape HiLux – but competition is hot and there are plenty of other ute options around for you to choose, so make sure you drive them all before deciding on which one to buy.

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