The Ford Ranger Raptor may be the undisputed king of the performance pick-up truck segment, but that doesn’t mean brands like Toyota will just let the Blue Oval have all of the fun. Take for example this wicked Hilux Mako, a special edition pick-up that looks like it’s ready to take a bite out of the Ford Ranger Raptor.
Made by Toyota New Zealand using genuine accessories and parts, the company claims this is no ordinary ‘off-the-shelf ute’. For starters, it benefits from a suspension lift upgrade which raises the pick-up by 1.57-inches at the front, and 1.97-inches at the rear. Then there are the unique 18-inch matte black alloy wheels with off-road tires, fender flares, a front steel bumper bullbar replacement with a front skid plate, as well as a heavy-duty rear bumper.
But perhaps serving as the most important upgrade on the Hilux are the ARB Old Man Emu BP51 dampers. Toyota claims it delivers better riding comfort and handling thanks to its adjustable compression and rebound damping control. It also gets stainless steel braided brake lines for improved braking performance in both on- and off-road driving conditions.
As an added touch, Toyota replaced the stock seats with custom, sports-style leather seats that feature bespoke contrast stitching, as well as the distinct Mako design as first seen on the exterior.
Under the hood, the Hilux Mako is powered by the familiar 2.8-liter turbo-diesel engine. Like the standard facelift version, the powerplant makes 204 PS and 500 Nm of torque and is connected to a selectable 4WD system.
“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 Neeraj Lala, Toyota New Zealand Chief Executive.
Only 250 examples of the Hilux Mako will be made by Toyota New Zealand, and all are earmarked for the country. While this particular Hilux will only be available to a select few, maybe Toyota (or Gazoo Racing) can borrow some inspiration from the Mako in order to build the Ranger Raptor-fighting Hilux they have always wanted to manufacture.