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First look: Toyota reveals hottest ever HiLux

Force-fed: HiLux TRD will pack supercharged 4.0-litre V6 power.

Toyota reveals its supercharged HiLux TRD super-ute ahead of a Melbourne show debut

23 Feb 2007

TOYOTA has prerevealed its supercharged 4.0-litre HiLux TRD ahead of a world debut at the Melbourne International Motor Show next Friday (March 2), when the Japanese maker’s go-fast Toyota Racing Development brand will also be formally launched.

The new TRD performance arm, Toyota’s answer to the likes of HSV and FPV in Australia, will take centre stage in Melbourne, where a "near-to-production" version of the first fruits of its labour, the Aurion TRD sedan, will also be shown.

While the HiLux TRD will appear in concept form ahead of its release as Australia’s second TRD model in late 2007, production of the TRD Aurion, which first emerged as the mocked-up Aurion Sports Concept at last October’s Sydney motor show, has been delayed until the third quarter of this year.

Originally due to be released next month, the Aurion TRD, has required additional work to reliably extract power and torque increases over the standard Aurion’s 200kW 3.5-litre V6.

8 center imageLeft: The HiLux TRD concept and the "near-production" Aurion TRD that will grace Toyota's Melbourne show stand. "We’re spending extra time on engine development because we wanted to get the best out of it," Toyota spokesman Mike Breen told GoAuto.

"As it turns out, the standard engine’s 200kW output is just about perfect, so it’s taking more work than expected to achieve the extra performance in terms of durability and reliability." Toyota’s delay in delivering its first TRD offering comes as a shock, but the TRD-tuned HiLux also brings surprises of its own.

Based on a dual-cab 4x4 model, complete with black rear rollover bar, side steps, chromed mirrors and door handles and an aggressive new front bumper housing foglights and an oversized air-dam, the HiLux TRD will appear with blacked-out windows like the Aurion concept did in Sydney last year, indicating that at least its interior is far from finished.

More interestingly, Toyota claims the most powerful ever HiLux will be powered by a supercharged version of the utility’s 4.0-litre V6 petrol engine – rather than the same supercharged 3.5-litre V6 that will power the Aurion TRD.

While the Aurion’s standard 24-valve DOHC VVT V6 produces 200kW and 336Nm of torque (203kW/342Nm in the Lexus RX350 and 202kW/340Nm in the Tarago V6), the TRD version is expected to offer upwards of 240kW and 400Nm. Toyota has announced a "development target of at least 235kW".

Mitsubishi’s supercharged (Team Mitsubishi Ralliart) TMR 380 concept, revealed in concept guise in Sydney last year and also due for release later this year, is claimed to extract 230kW and 442Nm from the 380’s standard 175kW/343Nm 3.8-litre V6 – enough to return 0-100km/h and 0-400-metre acceleration in six and 14 seconds respectively.

The standard HiLux V6 five-speed auto, meantime, delivers 175kW and 376Nm (343Nm in manual guise), so the crucial question will be: how much more power and torque can TRD tuners extract from the 4.0-litre HiLux V6 without sacrificing longevity? While the Aurion TRD will be a six-speed auto-only proposition, it’s unclear whether the HiLux TRD will come in five-speed manual or auto form.

Formed as a separate brand under Toyota for the first time, Toyota Racing Development is Toyota’s long-running umbrella title for its racing activities around the world and will be officially unveiled by Toyota Australia’s senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner in Melbourne.

Led by Paul Beranger, the newly formed Toyota Style Australia outfit is responsible for the interior and exterior design of TRD models including the HiLux concept’s "luminescent red paintwork embedded with gold flecks"), while Toyota’s TRD Division handles mechanical specification, including "extensive performance improvements in engine, brakes and suspension" for both TRD models.

"Key local suppliers have worked to achieve breakthrough TRD developments which have been endorsed and approved by Toyota's rigorous global quality system," says Toyota. "Toyota expects the TRD brand to provide additional customer engagement with its vehicles." Prodrive is the supplier of production services for TRD and will be responsible for final assembly for the Aurion and HiLux TRD models.

Toyota Australia will decide by August which model will form the basis of its third, and possibly final, TRD model – but the next-generation Corolla, which will make its Australian public debut in Melbourne in both sedan and hatch guises ahead of its official release in April, is odds-on favourite.

While the Corolla TRD hatch may be powered by the Camry’s 117kW/218Nm 2.4-litre four-cylinder, the longer and wider new model will come standard with a more powerful 1.8-litre dual-VVT-i four-cylinder petrol engine.

Also making its national debut in Melbourne is the next-generation Kluger SUV, which made its global premiere at the Chicago motor show in early February as the Highlander and goes on sale here in both front-drive and all-wheel drive forms from July.

Kluger II will become the third Toyota model to feature Aurion’s 3.5-litre V6, which Toyota says will develop "around 200kW - the most power of any non-turbo soft medium SUV".

Longer, wider, taller and offering more space – especially for second and third-row passengers, the all-new Kluger will continue to be available with five or seven seats.

"The performance-enhanced TRD vehicles, the new Corollas with their European-influenced design and the next-generation Kluger with the added flexibility of 2WD will provide a great boost to our line-up," said Mr Buttner.

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