Toyota HiLux Tonka Concept Unboxed – Australian Dream Truck is a Serious Off-Roader

By Steve & Tamami Laser

Toyota Australia tugs at our heartstrings with a new concept truck designed for kids of all ages (especially big kids). The HiLux Tonka Concept that blends the reputations for toughness of both brands is a high-riding off-roader that loves to play in the dirt.

Based on an Australian market Toyota HiLux 4×4 Double-Cab SR5 with a 2.8-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine, the concept was conceived, assembled and tested by designers and engineers from Toyota Australia’s 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, the HiLux Tonka Concept goes way beyond the already hugely capable abilities of HiLux to traverse rocks and other rugged terrain.”

The extreme makeover begins with an increase in ride height of 150mm (6 inches). Combined with a high-riding axle, heavy-duty suspension and 35-inch diameter tires, Toyota says the HiLux Tonka Concept is equipped to power over rugged terrain.

A new front bar is “compatible with the vehicle’s safety systems” while the hood has a carbon-fiber skin and features an aggressive “power bulge” and air scoops.

High-performance off-road LED lighting in the bar and roof pod combine to enhance nighttime vision on off-road trails. A rugged bash plate made from 6mm-thick alloy protects the sump and other components while tubular side rails help guard the body and chassis.

The development team changed nearly everything behind the cabin. The transformation includes a new tailgate, also wrapped in carbon fiber, that incorporates an integrated spoiler and two air vents. A lightweight strap releases the tailgate.

Inside the bed, a removeable tubular frame keeps gear in place, including diesel fuel cans, while storage boxes house recovery gear for extreme off-roading. A fire extinguisher, axe, shovel and high-lift jack are also fitted.

Tonka is a household name, celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Toyota Australia says that since HiLux was first launched in 1968 it has earned and reinforced its reputation for being “unbreakable” and for being quite popular.

Through the end of February this year, Toyota says Australians have bought more than 920,000 examples including 530,000 4x4s and 390,000 4x2s while globally, HiLux sales have topped 16 million.

Toyota Australia’s product design and engineering capabilities have global reach, supporting the development of vehicles manufactured for Australia, the Asia-Pacific region and other markets.

While the HiLux Tonka Concept is not destined for dealer showrooms, adults and kids alike will have the opportunity to share the dream as it tours 4WD shows, field days and expos around Australia.

Here’s a key spec comparison between the concept and a production vehicle followed by a summary of mods:

Toyota Australia HiLux Tonka Specifications

HiLux Tonka Concept HiLux SR5
Length 5400mm 5330mm
Width 2180mm 1855mm
Height 2050mm 1815mm
Final drive ratio 4.05:1 3.909:1
Curb weight 2400kg 2075kg
Approach angle 35 degrees 31 degrees
Departure angle 30 degrees 26 degrees
Ground clearance 429mm 279mm
Front track 1785mm 1535mm
Rear track 1800mm 1550mm
Wheels 17 x 8.5-inch Method NV alloy 18-inch alloy
Tires 35 x 12.5-inch Toyo Open Country M/T-R 265/60 highway
Front brakes Disc Disc
Rear brakes Disc Drum
Parking brake Electronic Lever

4WD Portal Axle
Hub-mounted reduction gearbox supplied by Marks 4WD Adaptors

Heavy duty springs and adjustable remote reservoir shocks from King Springs

Front Bar:
Steel, airbag compliant, maintains cooling requirements
Faceted surfacing
Integrated LED lighting protected by the steel skin

Bash Plate:
6mm alloy with front overriders protect sump and front sub-frame
Laser cut and TIG welded
Integrated ventilation slots for cooling engine and front differential

Carbon-fiber skin is lighter than original steel hood
Front and rear openings for air flow
Raised center “power bulge”

Roof Pod:
High-performance off-road LED light bar
Fresh-air cooling ducts for vehicle occupants

Rock Rails:
Tubular surfaces protect body and chassis

Carbon fiber skin
Two airflow ports
Integrated spoiler
Release strap

Removeable tubular frame
Diesel fuel cans
Storage boxes for off-road recovery gear
Fire extinguisher, axe, shovel and high-lift jack

Custom yellow called “Sun Fusion”

News source and photos courtesy Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Limited. Tonka name and logo © Hasbro. Concept vehicle based on an Australian market Toyota HiLux.

Story © 2017