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Melbourne show: Toyota comes clean with TRD HiLux

Trick: TRD-tuned Toyota utility hits the street in April.

Supercharged factory HiLux finally emerges in production guise as Toyota expands TRD

28 Feb 2008

THERE were no glittering world premieres on Toyota’s Melbourne motor show stand today.

Instead Australia’s dominant automotive brand gave the TRD HiLux its production debut (the road-ready version at Brisbane earlier this month was just a “preview”, apparently), heralded its commitment to local motorsport with the appearance of the Toyota drag car and imported one of the company’s more relevant and interesting concept cars especially for the show.

Full specifications of the supercharged 4.0-litre V6-powered TRD HiLux dual-cab 4x4 continue to be unavailable until closer to the second Toyota Racing Development-badged model’s launch in April, but Toyota said that with 225kW on tap the dual-cab 4x4 ute will deliver 25 per cent more peak power “yet uses less fuel than the standard vehicle”.

Toyota says the TRD Aurion’s new stablemate will offer more grip, sharper steering, more confident handling, better stopping power, ride quality and body control “more in keeping with an SUV than a truck” and even improved off-road performance.

8 center imageThe world’s top-selling car-maker also used the opportunity to announce the expansion of its TRD retail sales and service network to include all Toyota dealers from March 1 in response to dealer demand and to better service its customers, and to highlight the average $100 million annual investment by Toyota’s Australian dealers over the past three years.

Toyota Australia’s senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner underlined Toyota Australia’s participation in rallying via reigning national champion Bates Motorsport, Targa Tasmania via the TRD Aurion, drifting via champion Beau Yates, World Series Sprintcars via Brooke Tatnell, stunt driving via the V6 HiLux Heroes outfit and drag racing via former Australian champion Tony Wedlock, whose Toyota drag car headed up the exhibit’s “Red Zone”.

In Toyota’s “Blue Zone” was the front-engined rear-wheel drive FT-HS (for Future Toyota Hybrid Sports) two-plus-two-seater sports car, which debuted at the Tokyo motor show last October and is described as “a Prius on steroids or perhaps a vision for a Toyota Supra of the future”.

Its hybrid powertrain features a 3.5-litre V6 engine that, combined with an electric motor, has a potential output of 300kW to power it from rest to 100km/h in less than five seconds.

The FT-HS has a hint of the now-defunct Celica in its lines and looks better in the metal than in photos, where the pearlescent white paint tends to flatten out its many subtle but interesting curves.

Toyota Australia design chief Nick Hogios, who has just returned from a second extended spell in Japan, said the FT-HS expresses the core values of Toyota’s ‘Vibrant Clarity’ design language and is “an inspiration for Toyota designers around the world”.

The car rides on 21-inch carbon-fibre wheels, has a pop-up rear wing, concealed A-pillars and scoops built into the C-pillars that send cooling air to the battery pack.

Read more:

Brisbane show: TRD HiLux emerges

First look: Toyota performance hybrid pushes boundaries


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