Toyota is preparing an updated version of its Hilux pick-up truck for a reveal later this year, and has released new details following a series of off-road tests with two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso at the wheel.
Beneath the prototype's heavy camouflage, we can see that the Nissan Navara rival's styling will be subtly refreshed, rather than completely overhauled. Visible details include a reshaped front grille that's more in keeping with the latest Yaris, Highlander and RAV4, slimmer headlights than the current car and a reconfigured cooling vent layout.
The headline change is the addition of a new 2.8-litre diesel engine that is likely to produce more power and be more economical than the existing four-cylinder unit already offered in the Land Cruiser in the UK and in the Hilux elsewhere. The pick-up is currently only available here with 2.4-litre diesel producing 294lb ft and 148bhp.
The new powertrain will be accompanied by revised suspension that is said to maintain the Hilux's "reputation for world-class quality, durability and reliability".
Alonso drove the prototype alongside Toyota's Hilux-based rally raid truck as part of the Gazoo Racing motorsport outfit's preparations for the 2020 Dakar Rally.
"The Hilux is an icon and I’ve always been a fan," he said. "It was good to test the new Hilux in a challenging environment and to push it to the limits. The new engine behaves well and the new suspension feels great. Even when you push it, the comfort is still there.”
Gazoo Racing is playing an increasingly important part in the development of new Toyota models. The new Yaris, revealed last year, has spawned a hardcore 257bhp GR hot hatch variant - the second model in the sporting arm's current portfolio, joining the Supra.