The Toyota HiLux ute has received the tough truck treatment in New Zealand with a special model called the Mako – designed to challenge the Ford Ranger Raptor, and named after “the most aggressive shark in the ocean”.
However, the high-riding Toyota HiLux has been developed for the New Zealand market only and is not coming to Australia.
Instead, Toyota Australia will continue to offer two flagship models locally, the Toyota HiLux Rugged-X and Rogue. Both are due in showrooms in late November following a $13,000 price rise.
It appears the Toyota HiLux Mako gets some equipment not available on the Australian-developed Rugged-X.
The big changes are a suspension lift kit, 18-inch wheels with heavy duty off-road tyres, a new leather steering wheel, and custom leather seats.
The Toyota HiLux Mako shares some common components with the Toyota HiLux Rugged-X, such as the hoopless bull bar with an integrated LED light strip, underbody protection, fender flares, and front and rear tow hooks.
Toyota New Zealand told local media: “The suspension upgrade was the thing that we really needed to work on, so we’ve gone for a full ARB Old Man Emu suspension and shock absorber upgrade.”
The company says the suspension upgrade delivers a 40mm lift up front and a 50mm lift at the rear. The front brakes also said to have slightly larger discs and different pads, “with braided front and rear brake lines for improved (pedal) feel”.
The 18-inch Black Rhino alloys were sourced from the US, and wrapped in Maxxis Razr 265/60 all-terrain tyres.
“It’s named after the strongest, most aggressive shark in the ocean,” Toyota NZ chief executive Neeraj Lala told Driven.co.nz. “That’s what we believe we have here.”
While it is a “special launch edition” for now, Toyota New Zealand says it will quickly become part of the regular HiLux line-up.
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