Toyota South Africa today announced the imminent local introduction of a new range-topping Hilux Dakar-16 model built to celebrate the successes achieved during the 2016 running of the legendary Dakar Rally.

While an overall win still eludes the Gazoo Racing-run team, drivers Giniel de Villiers and Leeroy Poulter (together with SA navigator Robert Howie) managed very respectable third and fifth place finishes respectively in the 2016 event.

Based on the recently-launched seventh-generation Hilux, the locally-produced Dakar-16 model looks set to take the fight to Ford's striking Ranger Wildtrak edition by not only adding suitably aggressive-looking body cladding (including Arctic Trucks-mimicking flared wheel arches) but also increased performance to match its looks.

Unlike the one-off, 335 kW Lexus V8-powered "T-Rex" Hilux produced ahead of the start of the 2016 Dakar event the new Dakar-16 model features a slightly more practical tuned version of the new 2,8-litre GD-6 turbodiesel engine that already forms an integral part of the fresh Hilux range. Developing 25 kW more power compared with the standard unit (to 155 kW) the Dakar-16 also offers 500 N.m of torque from a low 1 600 r/min. Like the Wildtrack the Dakar-16 will be offered exclusively with a 6-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive drivetrain.

Pricing for the new Toyota Hilux Dakar-16 is expected to be in the region of R610 000.