Toyota’s HiLux Tonka truck is now a reality
Toyota’s HiLux Tonka truck is real and coming to a 4WD show near you soon…
Back in February, we gave you a heads up about Toyota’s plans to fulfil every grown man’s dreams and build a real-life Tonka truck.
Now, less than two months later, Toyota has made good on their promise and brought the HiLux Tonka Concept to life.
Based on the HiLux pickup, the Tonka truck is a big, yellow off-roader designed to showcase the popularity of the iconic ute and celebrate Tonka’s 70th anniversary.
But the Tonka Concept is more than just a bit of fun. One of its main purposes is to highlight Toyota’s commitment to its 150-strong product planning and development division in Melbourne – which is still active despite the impending closure of the firm’s manufacturing facilities in Australia.
Speaking about the HiLux Tonka truck, Toyota Australia designer Nick Hogios – who was in charge of the project – said: “We have taken Tonka out of the sand pit and reinvented HiLux from top to bottom and from nose to tail.
“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.”
The best part of all is that the Tonka truck is more than just a bog-standard HiLux with a fancy yellow paint job. It’s got some serious additions which enhance its off-road capabilities.
Underneath the familiar Tonka paint job is a standard HiLux SR5 which has been jacked up on heavy duty off-road suspension. Extra underbody protection (6mm thick) has been fitted to protect the 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine, while extra side rails provide extra protection for the body. There’s also a snorkel at the front for any deep water crossings.
Even though it’s a real-life vehicle that runs, Toyota have said that they’ve got no plans to put the HiLux Tonka into production. Instead, it will tour 4WD shows, field days and expos across Australia.
The timing of the Tonka’s release is pretty significant too. That’s because utes, in general, have seen a surge in sales in Australia. The Toyota HiLux was Australia’s bestselling vehicle of any type — the first time in our history a ute has topped the sales charts.