Toyota New Zealand has created a vicious off-road focused special edition of its popular Hilux dual-cab ute, that has its big black eyes on a share of the Ford Ranger Raptor's attention and is named after one of nature's most merciless killers.
Based on the Hilux SR5 that is sold in Australia, The Toyota Hilux Mako is equipped with some serious kit to boost off-road agility and sharpen its on-road presence.
Named after the Mako shark – which can reach up to four metres in length and is the fastest of its species – the highlight of its enhancements include a new lifted suspension set up, black 18-inch Rhino alloy wheels, and meaty 265/60 Maxxis Razr all-terrain tyres.
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The suspension tweaks are courtesy of ARB, with an ‘Old Man Emu’ kit lifting the front of the Mako by 40mm compared with the Rugged X, while the rear gets a lift of 50mm.
It doesn’t stop there, BP-50 by-pass dampers allow for the compression and rebound control to be adjusted. Unsure how a by-pass damper works? Just know that it’s the same tech used on Baja race trucks and is built for tackling some of the toughest terrain around.
Helping stop the Mako are uprated brakes lifted from the Fortuner, and braided lines.
Adding to the Mako’s go-anywhere suspension are some aesthetic enhancements, including a hoopless front bar borrowed from the Rugged X, an LED light bar, bash plates, new fender flares, embossed side steps, and a custom tray with a soft lift and close cover.
Inside the interior gets a light fettling with bucket seats featuring the Mako badge embossed into the leather trim and a sports steering wheel.
Power for the Mako remains unchanged from the regular Hilux range, with the 1GD 2.8-litre turbo-diesel retaining its 150kW/500Nm outputs.
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There’s still plenty of reason to pop the bonnet though, with Toyota New Zealand showing some classic Kiwi humour and placing a plaque in the engine bay that reads “Handcrafted by the good buggers at Toyota”.
Maximum braked towing capacity remains 3500kg, with a payload capacity of 940kg.
The transformation turns the Hilux Mako into the closest thing Toyota has to Ford Ranger Raptor Rival (at least until the hardcore GR version is released).
However, don’t hold your breath for the Mako to swim its way across the Tasman and go on sale in Australia – our Hilux range currently tops out with the locally-developed Rogue and Rugged X special editions.
Toyota New Zealand will sell the Mako for NZD$79,990 (roughly A$74,000) and expects to sell 250 units a year (each built at Toyota Thames Vehicle Operations)
Locally, the 2021 Hilux Rogue will cost $68,990 before on-roads, while the Rugged X is priced at $69,990.