Toyo-Tonka blasts out of the sandpit

This has to be every grown-up kid’s must-have toy!

OUR neighbour has brought the ‘toy’ out of Toyota – with a cool Hilux crafted in co-operation with Tonka.

The driveable full-sized toy truck has just been unveiled in Australia to celebrate 2017 being Toyota’s 80th and Tonka’s 70th anniversary. It also recognises Hilux being the holder of a ‘best-selling’ status that has slipped on this side of the Tasman, thanks to Ford Ranger.

Clad in yellow and black tiger stripes the Toyota Hilux Tonka is not coming to a sandpit near you, more's the pity. Toyota Australia reinforces it is purely a concept that will be used for display duty only.

Based on the top spec Hilux SR5 dual cab the Tonka is powered by a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel, an engine that might seem a blast from the past. A 2.8 diesel was once the staple Hilux engine, but the past two generations have run 3.0-litre four-cylinder mills.

Ground clearance has increased by 150mm to 429mm total, with help of a higher riding axle, heavy duty springs and adjustable remote reservoir shock absorbers from king springs. The approach and departure angles improve to 35 and 30 degrees respectively.

How about that footwear! The SR5’s stock 17-inch alloy wheels have been changed for 17x8.5-inch Method NV types and the original 265/60 rubber replaced with 35x12.5-inch Toyo Open Country M/T-R.

A laser cut, TIG welded 6mm alloy bashplate with front overriders protects the HiLux’s drivetrain and side rails keep the body and chassis from taking the knocks.

Exterior visual enhancements include a new front bar (compatible with current safety systems) with LED lights and more LED lights in the added roof pod.

There’s a new tailgate wrapped in carbon fibre with spoiler and air vents, and with strap release instead of a handle. The tub is a removable tubular frame which holds diesel fuel cans, recovery gear and a fire extinguisher.

The whole kit adds 325kg to the Hilux Tonka, which now weighs 2400kg total.

The project, which was run by staff at the Toyota Design Studio in Sydney, was announced in February but only unveiled today.

“We have taken Tonka out of the sand pit and reinvented Hilux from top to bottom and from nose to tail,” said Nicolas Hogio, Toyota Australia product design chief.

“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 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.”