Marking milestones for both Toyota and Tonka, Toyota Australia’s product planning and development division have created the ‘HiLux Tonka Concept’.
Described as a “full size dream toy for adults”, the HiLux Tonka Concept comes as Toyota celebrates its 80th year, while Tonka turns 70 in 2017. The concept comes on the back of the HiLux becoming Australia’s top-selling new car in 2016 – the first time a commercial/utility vehicle was our best seller.
It may not be immediately apparent, but under the skin of the concept is a top-of-the-range HiLux SR5 dual cab.
Numerous changes inside and out separate the concept from its production base, but mechanically it remains largely unaltered, running the standard 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engine.
“We have taken Tonka out of the sand pit and reinvented HiLux from top to bottom and from nose to tail,” said Toyota Australia product design chief, Nicolas Hogios.
“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.”
Compared to a stock SR5, the Tonka Concept has a ride height six inches (150mm) higher, thanks to the addition of a high-riding axle, heavy duty suspension and 35-inch tyres.
Front end changes include a modified bonnet, with air scoops and a “power bulge”, and skinned in carbon fibre, while the front bullbar is a custom item, too. Toyota says the concept bar is compatible with the existing HiLux safety systems.
Mounted to this are high-performance off-road LED lights, with LED lighting in the roof pod, too.
A 6mm thick underbody bash plate is another new addition, as are tubular side rails, designed to offer body and chassis protection when tackling extreme off-road terrain.
Matching the carbon fibre-wrapped bonnet is an all-new tailgate, also wrapped in carbon fibre, that includes an integrated spoiler and air vents, while the tailgate handle has been replaced with a strap.
Inside the load bed is a removable tubular frame that’s designed to keep the usual items carried off-road, like jerrycans, recovery gear and a high-lift jack, in place. Provision for a fire extinguisher, axe and shovel is also included.
A bold colour scheme, incorporating lots of Tonka’s traditional yellow, is the finishing touch.
Tonka on Tour
Toyota says that the HiLux Tonka Concept will tour various 4x4 shows, field days, ag shows, expos and other events (don’t be surprised if it’s at the Deni Ute Muster) throughout 2017, where no doubt Toyota will be gauging public reaction to the concept’s various features to assess which could be added to the production HiLux in the future.