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Toyota HiLux gets tough Tonka treatment

HiLux SR5 gets transformed into full-size Tonka truck by Aussie Toyota team


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29 Mar 2017

TOYOTA’S Australian product planning and development team have fulfilled many boyhood dreams by building a one-off full-size, off-road-ready HiLux Tonka Concept, replete with huge wheels, increased ground clearance, off-road accessories and tough styling.

Under the skin of the Tonka concept is a dual-cab 4x4 HiLux SR5 turbo-diesel that has grown in all dimensions, with an extensive list of modifications to help it handle the rough stuff with ease.

The Tonka concept rides on massive 35-inch Toyo Open Country mud-terrain tyres with heavy-duty suspension, increasing ground clearance from 279mm to 429mm, while any contact the Tonka Concept may make with the ground can be negated by tubular side rails and a 6mm-thick black-and-yellow alloy bash plate with Toyota branding, recovery points and ventilation.

A black steel front bar has been mounted with an integrated LED light bar and ventilation points, while the Tonka Concept gets a wider stance with massive wheel-arch flares to match the 35-inch wheels.

Vehicle width has been increased 325mm to 2180mm, giving the car a similar look to the extreme cold-weather modified examples of the HiLux made by Iceland-based conversion company Arctic Trucks.

The HiLux’s tough look continues with a sizeable bonnet bulge with a carbon-fibre skin, a top-mounted air intake and louvred vents, while water crossings are now a formality with the addition of a snorkel.

LED lighting continues on the roof with a light bar integrated onto a roof pod, which also contains air cooling ducts for vehicle occupants.

At the rear, underbody protection continues with a steel bumper with recovery points, and a new tailgate that incorporates a carbon-fibre skin, a lip spoiler, two air vents and a strap that released the tailgate instead of a handle.

Inside the tray, a removable tubular frame keeps all the gear steadily in place, including a full-size spare tyre, diesel jerry cans, and storage boxes that house all the recovery gear needed for series off-roading.

Also included in the rear is a black sports bar, fire extinguisher, shovel, axe and high-lift jack, while the rear drum brakes have been swapped out for disc brakes to match the set-up at the front.

The entire car is adorned in black and ‘Sun Fusion’ yellow livery complete with Tonka and Toyota decals.

Toyota Australia product design chief Nicholas Hogios said that the HiLux Tonka Concept was an opportunity for the design team to have a bit of fun in coming up with a concept that would appeal to young and old alike.

“Inspired by the Tonka trucks that kids play with in their backyards, the HiLux Tonka Concept goes way beyond the already hugely capable abilities of HiLux to traverse rocks and other rugged terrain,” he said.

“The HiLux Tonka Concept is dramatic evidence that our local team loves to have fun, we’re keen to explore new ideas and we’re always looking to push the boundaries of what’s possible.”

No changes have been made to the powerplant in the concept despite vehicle weight ballooning from 2075kg to 2400kg, retaining the 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine that makes 130kW of power and 420Nm/450Nm of torque for the manual and automatic, respectively.

Toyota’s American arm has previously made its own Tonka-inspired truck, transforming a 4Runner SUV complete with decals, suspension lift and large tyres that was shown at the 2015 SEMA show in Las Vegas.

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