28 February 2017 · News and Recommendations


Toyota Lexus

Toyota is set to build a dream toy for grown-ups: a life-size Tonka truck based on Australia's best-selling ute, the "unbreakable" Toyota HiLux.

The Tonka-inspired Toyota HiLux monster truck - the brainchild of Toyota Australia's in-house designers - will soon become reality as a one-off, fully driveable concept car.

This trusted workhorse will be elevated to great heights by all-new underpinnings including custom suspension and massive wheels and tyres, transforming an already hugely capable off-roader into a prodigious rock climber.

Conceived as the ultimate off-road adventurer, the HiLux Tonka project illustrates the ongoing capabilities - and passion - of Toyota Australia's product design team.

The eye-popping concept is based on the most popular HiLux variant - the 4x4 HiLux SR5 double cab and its powerful, top-spec 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine. 

But that's about where the similarities end. Almost every exterior HiLux surface will be beefed up as part of the Tonka metamorphosis.

The brawny HiLux body will be augmented with aggressive new bumpers, grille, tailgate, wheel-arches and door mouldings among other new components that reinforce its image as a tough-as-nails vehicle designed for off-road fun.

Of course, the attention-grabbing concept will be instantly recognisable to kids of all ages, thanks to in-your-face black-and-yellow Tonka livery.

Toyota Australia's product design chief Nicolas Hogios said combining the tough and enduring DNA of the HiLux and Tonka brands was a natural fit.

"We expect the extreme style and capability of our re-imagined HiLux will capture the imagination of kids and adults alike," Mr Hogios said.

"HiLux is such a great canvas, and we really pushed the envelope by marrying our number-one seller with the Tonka brand," he said.

"The end result is so exciting because the HiLux Tonka really delivers the dream of every Australian kid who ever wanted such a truck," he said.

The release of the concept sketch closely follows confirmation that in 2016 HiLux, sold here for 45 years, became the first ute to top the national sales ladder for a calendar year. It has been Australia's best-selling 4x4 for the past 12 years in a row.

Toyota Australia's designers are part of a product planning and development division that is responsible for ensuring the company's vehicles are desirable for local customers and suitable for the tough Australian environment.

Last year Toyota and Tonka joined forces in Australia with a special-purpose HiLux SR5 double cab, which assumed duty as a pace car for the 2016-17 Sydney Speedway season.

The expanded tie-up is significant as both brands celebrate milestones this year - 80 years since the foundation of Toyota Motor Corporation and the 70th anniversary of Tonka.

Toyota expects to reveal the fully driveable concept within months.