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Toyota tests a Hilux mild-hybrid prototype in WRC

The popular pickup finally gets electrified

Shortly after Toyota Australia confirmed the existence of a mild hybrid Hilux, TGR brings it rallying. PHOTO FROM TOYOTA GAZOO RACING

With the rest of Toyota’s lineup going electrified, many were wondering what would happen to the ever-popular IMV-based Hilux (and its three-row SUV sibling, the Fortuner). Many were speculating that it would follow the Tacoma, adopting the body-on-frame TNGA-F platform with hybrid drivetrains.

But just recently, Toyota Australia has confirmed that a mild-hybrid variant of the popular pickup will be arriving in the first half of 2024.

Right now, the prototype rally car is built on what looks to be a Hilux GR-S body. PHOTOS FROM TOYOTA GAZOO RACING

Some confirmed specifications include a 2.8-liter turbodiesel engine—the 1GD-FTV—with a small motor-generator unit, a 48V battery, a six-speed automatic transmission, and other things that will be found in the Hilux MHEV.

Toyota says it will offer a 10% increase in fuel economy with an engine start-stop system, and that it will have no impact on the truck’s capability, like being able to tow 3,500kg, which is great for those worried that it will make the Hilux “softer.”

Juha Kankkunen was the man who pushed the truck to its limits. PHOTOS FROM TOYOTA GAZOO RACING

More details will come closer to the vehicle’s launch in 2024, but Toyota Gazoo Racing put it through its paces at the seventh round of the World Rally Championship in Kenya, Africa. It resembled the current Hilux GR Sport inside and out, just covered with a hybrid livery.

Behind the wheel was four-time Finnish WRC champion Juha Kankkunen, so the truck was pushed to the limits by capable hands. Kankkunen had nothing but positive things to say about the truck.

Do you want your next pickup truck to be electrified? PHOTO FROM TOYOTA GAZOO RACING

If anything, surviving the harsh rally stages in Africa without any problems should prove that the vehicle can handle anything, even the bad roads of Metro Manila.

It will be inevitable that the mild-hybrid tech will make it to the Fortuner since it shares underpinnings with the truck. Also, it is now a matter of just when Toyota Motor Philippines will bring it in, seeing how popular the truck is in our country.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.