Toyota is set to unveil an updated version of its Hilux mid-size pickup truck on June 4 and famed racer Fernando Alonso has already taken his turn behind the wheel.

The double Formula One world champion has raced for Toyota on occasion, most recently in the 2020 Dakar Rally where he ran using a rally raid-spec Hilux, and it was in similar conditions to those of Dakar where he got his first taste of the updated 2021 Hilux.

There will be revised styling and inside and out, as well as new technology in the cabin (namely Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration). But the biggest update on the 2021 Hilux will be a more powerful 2.8-liter turbodiesel inline-4. The current engine is good for 177 horsepower and 330 pound-feet of torque.

Coupled with revised suspension geometry, the 2021 Hilux will deliver powerful thrust and a comfortable ride, according to Alonso.

“The new 2.8-liter engine behaves really well and the new suspension feels great,” he said after his drive. “Even if you push the Hilux to the limit, the comfort is still there.”

The current Hilux, the nameplate's eighth iteration, was launched in 2015 together with an SUV variant called the Fortuner. The SUV is also set to be updated though timing on the release is yet to be announced.

Unfortunately, Toyota doesn't offer the Hilux in the United States but the Tacoma is a fine substitute, especially in TRD Pro guise. It received its own round of updates for 2020.