TOYOTA Australia has resurrected the TRD (Toyota Racing Development) badge and applied it to the Hilux, with a dolled-up model set to take on the Ford Ranger Wildtrak.
Priced from $58,990 for the double-cab 4x4 with a manual transmission in white, or $59,540 in black (the only two TRD colours offered, add $2000 for auto), the TRD ’Lux has the popular Wildtrak squarely in its sights.
Buyers hoping for performance upgrades with the TRD badge will be disappointed, as the suspension package and mechanical package (450Nm (auto) 2.8L diesel engine) remains the same as a regular SR5 Hilux.
In Australia we get a bright red TRD-branded skid plate under an aggressive TRD grille, TRD lower bumper cover and TRD wheel-arch flares. The black 18-inch alloy wheels run regular road-biased OE fitment tyres. Over the tub liner in the tray is a soft tonneau cover and black sports bar, while a towing kit, tail-light covers and TRD mudflaps complete the package.
TRD extras extend to branded carpet floor mats inside and, for automatic variants, a TRD gear knob.
Toyota last used the TRD badge in Australia back in 2008 when it created the supercharged V6-powered TRD Hilux and Aurion models, but the program was short-lived and not well received by the buying public. We hope this new-model TRD Hilux proves more popular and leads to some improved performance models in future developments.
This time around Toyota has chosen the SR5 Hilux to build on, as the top-spec variant accounts for more than half of Hilux 4x4 sales. The public has also shown a penchant for dressed-up, top-spec variants like the Ford Wildtrak and Holden’s Z71 Colorado.
“We have responded to demand by compiling premium components, including the respected TRD brand, that will further distinguish Hilux from the competitors and from every other Hilux in our range,” said Tony Cramb, Toyota Australia’s executive director of sales and marketing. “Local buyers voted with their wallets to make Hilux the best-selling vehicle in Australia last year – and the majority clearly indicated their preference for upmarket features combined with Hilux’s renowned go-anywhere capability.”