First drive in the Toyota Hilux Legend 50 and GR Sport

Can you flippen believe that the Toyota Hilux has been in South Africa since 1969? That’s 51 years! And more than one million have found owners. That number is not surprising though, right? Have you ever driven past a construction site or a parking mall or even just driven around the block and not seen a Hilux? I doubt it.

As the story goes, legends aren’t born, they are built over time. And nothing could ring more true than when it comes to the Toyota Hilux. It is a huge patch in the quilt of South Africa. Does that sentence make sense? Ag, you know what I mean. This Hilux heritage runs deep in this country and almost certainly holds an emotional place in most South African’s hearts…even if you are a Ranger fan 😉


I am getting a bit sidetracked. This post is about the new limited edition Hilux Legend 50 and the even limited edition Hilux GR Sport. Both of which I drove through Botswana and Zimbabwe this past week. In fact, we crossed borders so many times I had no clue where I was half of the time. It went: South Africa – Botswana – Zimbabwe – Zambia – Zimbabwe – Zambia – Zimbabwe – South Africa. All in three days! Jetsetter, hey?! Again, sidetracked.


As a tribute to the success and rich heritage of Hilux, Toyota South Africa first created a bespoke limited-edition model – aptly named Legend 35 – in 2004. This was followed by the Legend 40, built on the global IMV platform, in 2009. In 2014, I attended the launch of the Legend 45 in Graaff Reinet and so I was super excited and honoured to be at the launch of the new and last Legend that will be made; the Legend 50.


I hope you like what I did there with that heading. I actually mean, what is the different between the standard Hilux and the Legend 50? I will tell you. Besides the obvious Legend 50 badging, you also get new 18-inch alloy wheels, chrome door beading, side moulding, Smart Entry, a different colour grille and fog cover, a roof rail, smoked tail lamps, a black bumper and a tow bar. Just have a look at the pic maybe.

Toyota Hilux Legend


There is a bit of chrome ornamentation, leather seats with blue perforation, branded Legend 50 floor mats and Push Start and Smart Key. Again, I shall show you a pic of what I am talking about.

Toyota Hilux legend


I am not going to go in to too much detail about the drive because nothing is different under the skin of the Legend 50, so you can read a review on the Hilux Dakar instead. That should give you an idea. But I will say this, it is such a hoot taking this guy off road. I didn’t feel uneasy at any point and I pushed it along some very dodgy terrain. I could put it down to my fantastic off-roading skills, but I don’t want to steal the Legend 50’s thunder.

Just so you do have all the info on hand, under the bonnet it the 2,8-litre turbodiesel engine, which generates 130 kW and 420 N.m (six-speed manual) and 450 N.m (six-speed automatics). You cannot get the Legend 50 with the 2,4-litre oil-burner or the base 2,7-litre petrol engine.


Pricing for the Double Cab starts at R579 100, but for the full price list click here.


This even more limited edition Hilux sees only 600 units arriving in South Africa, so if you want one, best you act fast. This bakkie also sees cosmetic enhancements, but it adds a tuned suspension in to the mix as well.


I love the look of this GR Sport. Not all of the decals, mind you, but the colour scheme is awesome. It has such a presence on the road. With a black roof, a black bonnet, a new-design black grille with GR badging and a red/white fog lamp bezel, you can imagine how good it looks. Ok, you don’t have to imagine, here is a pic:

Toyota Hilux

You will notice it also has black door handles, over-fenders and GR branded decals and side step. It also sports 17-inch alloys. Only three colours are available, Crimson Red, Glacier White and my favourite, Attitude Black. Inside boasts an instrument panel with red accents, red stitching, leather seats with red perforations and push start and smart key. Again, a pic for your perusal.

Toyota Hilux


Also housing the 2.8-litre engine, but instead mated only to the six-speed automatic transmission, the engine is familiar. When it comes to the suspension, the shock absorbers have been changed to a monotube design with revised damping, working in conjunction with increased front spring rates to offer a sportier ride. The rear leaf spring rates have been left unaltered to maintain the existing payload.

The ride is of course different due to this tuned suspension. Although, it has to be said, I did not feel too much of a difference and I doubt that most consumers will either. Unless you are really looking for it, you will be just as comfortable on the road in the GR Sport as you would be in any of the other Hilux derivatives.


R 707 400  

I’m Julz, South African motoring journalist with a passion for cars and a questionable sense of humour. I am not your average motoring journalist, and this is not your average motoring website.

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