The Hilux Tonka Concept, created by Toyota Australia to help mark the high-riding off-roader’s breakthrough in becoming the country’s best-selling vehicle in 2016. Tonka is a household name abroad, and although not as popular in South Africa, still a recognisable brand, celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, while Toyota celebrates 80 years.
The unveiling coincides with the release of Toyota GB’s series of short films which show Hilux going to head-to-head with its tiny Tamiya radio-controlled model counterpart in a series of off-road and performance challenges.
The new concept was designed, assembled and tested by designers and engineers from Toyota Australia’s 150-strong product planning and development division. Product design chief Nicolas Hogios said the extreme style and capability of the Hilux Tonka Concept would capture the imagination of kids and adults alike. “We have taken Tonka out of the sand pit and reinvented Hilux from top to bottom and from nose to tail,” he said.
“Inspired by the Tonka trucks that kids play with in their backyards, it goes way beyond the already huge abilities of Hilux to traverse rocks and other rugged terrain,” he said.
“It is also 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,” he said.
The SR5 double cab comes equipped with a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine, an increased ride height of 150mm. Combined with a high-riding axle, heavy-duty suspension and 35-inch diameter tyres, the Hilux Tonka Concept is geared to power over rugged terrain that would be off-limits to conventional off-roaders. Incredible considering how capable the existing range of Hilux is.
While the Hilux Tonka Concept won’t go into production, it’s a look into what can be achieved when engineers band together for a common, crazy goal.