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June 29, 2023

Toyota Puts Hilux Hybrid Powertrain Through A Rally Test

After confirming it for a 2024 release date, Toyota is starting to put the Hilux’s hybrid system to the test by having it run through a rally demonstration course at the seventh round of the World Rally Championship in Kenya.

The 48-volt mild hybrid setup, which will be paired with the current 2.8-liter 1GD-FTV turbo diesel engine, received a proper lashing from four-time WRC champion and former Toyota driver Juha Kankkunen from Finland.

Fitted into the current Hilux GR Sport, the Hilux Hybrid prototype doesn’t look any different outside or in from its non-electrified sibling, except for the livery that shouts, “Hybrid” on the side.

Suffice to say, the run was a success with Kankkunen giving it a proverbial thumbs up. He says, “I’m 100 percent sure that this type of car will fit in Africa very well because there are still long-distance drives and it’s very difficult to charge electric cars. You can save fuel, which means less CO2. Africa is a good market for this kind of car, and you can make CO2 less with hybrid cars. That is the future.”

Confirmed by Toyota, the Hilux Hybrid will use a 48-volt mild hybrid setup with a small electric motor generator and a lightweight battery pack. It will be mated to a 6-speed automatic. Overall, it should equate to a 10 percent improvement in fuel economy.

The Hilux’s SUV sibling, the Fortuner, is also slated to get this mild hybrid diesel.

It has so far been confirmed for markets such as Australia, and with Toyota testing it in Africa, it will most likely become a global powertrain spreading to markets where battery electric vehicles or BEVs remain an unviable option due to the lack of charging infrastructure.


  1. Too bad if fitted only to GR Sport and 2.8 engine. This should at least be an option on the G trim and up. If not at launch, then perhaps a few months down the line. Toyota has a lot of leeway in fitting equipment levels, seeing that the HILUX is a global bestseller. Then I could also be wrong if they fit this battery/motor to across the board.

  2. I believe BEV should just be an option. Not everyone, especially those who drive long distances, needs a BEV. ICE would do better for long drives.


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