The 2021 Toyota HiLux could gain a sportier GR Sport variant later this year, according to overseas reports.
Japanese publication Mag-X (via Creative311) claims a flagship GR Sport version of the best-selling HiLux will be introduced in Japan in October 2021, intended to "greatly improve" its off-road capabilities thanks to tuning from Toyota's Gazoo Racing performance division.
A GR Sport version of the dual-cab ute was previously offered in South American markets from 2018, though the facelift introduced in 2020 saw it dropped from sale.
Differentiating the GR Sport from regular HiLux models is an array of styling tweaks, including a GR-branded front grille, body-coloured wheel-arch flares (with Toyota logos), and unique 18-inch alloy wheels with 265/60-profile all-terrain tyres (with a 30.6-inch diameter).
Retuned "sports suspension" will also feature, while inside the cabin the publication says to expect the standard feature list to include a power-adjustable driver's seat, a 360-degree camera, and GR-specific tweaks including unique shifter and handbrake boots, metallic pedals and air vent trim.
Above: 2019's pre-facelift Toyota HiLux GR Sport.
No mention is made of changes to the HiLux's powertrain, suggesting no extra power for the 110kW/400Nm 2.4-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder offered as the sole option in Japan.
Should the GR Sport make its way to Australia, expect the 2.8-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder engine offered in high-spec grades locally to be retained, with identical 150kW and 500Nm outputs.
A full suite of active safety technologies will be standard, including autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, traffic-sign recognition, and driver attention monitoring.
The 2021 Toyota HiLux GR Sport will launch in Japan in October 2021, according to Mag-X.
On the prospects of an Australian launch, a Toyota spokesperson told CarAdvice: "Toyota Australia is aware of the general strong appetite for performance products in Australia and we would be keen to introduce a performance variant of HiLux to Australia, if one were to become available globally."
"At this stage however we have no announcements on whether a HiLux in either GR guise or [a] GR Sport variant will be introduced to Australia, but would not rule it out for the future."
Should it reach Australian shores, it won't be the only off-road-capable GR Sport model on local showroom floors, as the next-generation LandCruiser 300 Series due to be unveiled in the coming months is slated to offer a range-topping GR-S variant.