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Hilux Tonka Concept puts the toy back into Toyota

By Daniel Gardner, 29 Mar 2017 News


Toyota Australia team invokes its inner kid with Hilux Tonka Concept

TOYOTA Australia has pulled the covers from a radical Hilux concept that will appeal to big kids and regular-sized ones alike with a top-to-bottom Tonka treatment that takes the popular one-tonner out of the sandpit and into the desert.

Bristling with hardcore off-road enhancements, the Hilux Tonka Concept is exclusively the work of the Australian product planning and development team with conception, design and construction all completed on red dirt.

For the larger-than-life toy, the Aussie team started with a top-of-the-range 4x4 double-cab SR5 variant and set to work with a series of enhancements that boost the Hilux’s off-road potential while adding an unmissable tough truck look.

The Tonka-fied Toyota has been treated to a ride-height boost of 150mm combined with heavier-duty suspension that incorporates the cream of all-terrain technology in the form of remote-reservoir dampers courtesy of King Springs and Marks portal axles.

Its Method wheels measure 17 inches and are wrapped in whopping 35-inch Toyo Open Country rubber complete with Tonka branding – strictly an off road proposition only.

At the front-end, the beefed-up Hilux features a black steel 'roo-bar complete with LED lighting, a variety of tow and snatch-strap points and Judge Dredd styling.

A 6mm thick bash plate keeps the standard 2.8-litre four-pot diesel out of harm’s way, which is unchanged from the standard Hilux SR5, while a carbonfibre bonnet with power bulge and extra ventilation keeps the savage Aussie sun off its back.

At the tail end, the Tonka Concept has more carbonfibre for the tailgate, an integrated spoiler and more vents, while the more conventional release handle is replaced in favour of a strap.

On top, a specially designed roof pod houses high-intensity LED lighting and ducts that pipe extra cooling air for the occupants.

Instead of a Kelpie and a concrete mixer, the unique Hilux’s tray is almost completely filled by a spare wheel, but the engineers found just enough leftover space for a brace of diesel cans and a pair of storage boxes. It is also supplied with an axe in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

More tubular steel is used for bespoke side rails, a roll-over bar and removable tub frame, completing the transformation.

The latest concept to roll out of the local product team reaffirms the Australian outfit’s authority in the Toyota global family, and follows the Toyota 86 Shooting Brake concept that made the front pages of publications worldwide when it was unveiled last year.

Toyota Australia product design chief Nicolas Hogios said that the concept would appeal to fans of Australia’s most popular one-tonne ute as well as appealing to a new generation of Toyota enthusiasts.

“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, the Hilux Tonka Concept goes way beyond the already hugely capable abilities of Hilux to traverse rocks and other rugged terrain."