Toyota turns Hilux into real-life Tonka toy

The Toyota HiLux Tonka concept foreshadows a new wave of "monster utes". Created by Toyota Australia, it rides 150mm higher than the regular Hilux on heavy duty suspension and colossal 35-inch tyres.

Unfortunately, this beefed up HiLux won't go into production and won't be available for purchase due to Australian Design Rules constraints, but if it did we here Behind the Wheel think it would be a definite victor.

A new front bar is compatible with the vehicle's safety systems while the bonnet has a carbon-fibre skin and features an aggressive "power bulge" and air scoops.

Engine-wise, it retains the same 130kW, 420Nm (manual) or 450Nm (automatic) 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine.

It also has extra underbody protection should you want to take it off the beaten track. Of course, as is all the current rage, the truck was outfitted with LED lightbars on the roof and front bumper.

Behind the cabin, nearly everything has been changed. The tailgate, wrapped in carbon fiber, incorporates an integrated spoiler, two air vents, and a lightweight strap in place of the traditional tailgate release handle.

Tonka is a household name, celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

Although the HiLux is not available in the USA market, sales have topped 16 million globally and over 920,000 in Australia alone. Equally renowned, Toyota is in its 80th year of incorporation.

To the end of February this year, Australians have bought more than 920,000 examples including 530,000 4x4s and 390,000 4x2s.

Toyota stresses the Tonka-inspired HiLux is a concept, and there are no plans to turn it into a production model.

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.

  • Arturo Norris