Toyota HiLux Mako revealed in New Zealand

Toyota HiLux Mako

The Toyota HiLux Mako sees Toyota NZ get in on the fettling gig with its top-spec HiLux boasting suspension changes, a lift and chunky Maxxis Razr A/Ts.

Following the release of pricing and details on the HiLux Rogue and Rugged X in Australia, Toyota New Zealand revealed its own home-grown HiLux hero, the Mako.

Priced from NZD$79,990 (NZD$21,000 more than the HiLux SR5), the Mako boasts some of the same bits from the Rugged X but turns the dial to 11. It runs the same hoopless bull bar with integrated LED light bar, rock rails, bonnet and front and rear recovery points but it doesn’t get a snorkel. Instead of Rugged X, it says Mako on the thing.

The real headline grabber is that Toyota NZ said that after testing a “competitor” (read: Ranger Raptor)  it knew it had to make some changes to the suspension. So it went with a full Old Man Emu BP-51 suspension and shock absorber kit (and anyone who knows the BP-51 knows that it’s adjustable for rebound and damping control = awesome) which sees a 40mm lift at the front and a 50mm lift at the back. And the brakes have been upgraded too, with the front brakes borrowed from the Fortuner with the fitment of braided lines. It’s running 18s wrapped in Maxxis Razr all-terrain rubber.

On the inside it gets a full leather interior with quilted sports-style front seats that look like the ones of the old HiLux Gladiator. The Mako keeps the HiLux’s 940kg payload and 3500kg braked towing capacity. Some sites have hinted the Mako might come to Australia but it won’t.

“We’ve taken a great truck and added some kiwi-muscle and flair. I’ve had lots of direct feedback from customers, and they wanted more power, a better ride and premium interior comfort – the Hilux MAKO delivers on all those requests,” said Toyota New Zealand’s Chief Executive, Neeraj Lala.

“The big advantage with the Hilux MAKO is that you get all of those benefits and you can tow 3,500kg. If I had to jump out of my GR Supra, this truck needed to be perfect, and I’m excited about jumping into a black one.”

“From my experience in the US with the Scion brand, customisation was the backbone of forming an unbreakable bond with customers. In fact, customers would go to extreme lengths, some legal and some even illegal as they really pushed the boundaries of customisation,” said Neeraj.

“We have pushed the boundaries under the careful watch of local Toyota engineers to produce a unique bespoke truck that I think customers are just going to love.”

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Isaac Bober has been writing about cars and 4x4s for more than 20 years, has worked on some of the country's biggest motoring magazines (remember what they were?), and launched Practical Motoring. Now he's back, back again... to share dad jokes and much more.