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Toyota HiLux Tonka Concept Ready to Play in Life-Size Sandbox

Toy-inspired truck is built for adults

The "unbreakable" Toyota HiLux gets a Tonka makeover, transforming the truck into an extreme rock-crawling, off-road vehicle. The Tonka Concept celebrates the HiLux's achievement of becoming Australia's best-selling vehicle last year.

Designed, assembled, and tested by designers and engineers from Toyota Australia's product planning and development division, the HiLux Tonka Concept was created to capture the excitement of kids and adults alike.


"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," product design chief Nicolas Hogios said in a release.

Beneath the black and yellow paintwork and off-road goodies lies a SR5 HiLux powered by a 2.8-liter turbodiesel I-4 engine. Engineers raised the ride height 6 inches and equipped the truck with high-riding axles, a heavy-duty suspension, and 35-inch tires. The hood features carbon-fiber skin, a "power bulge," and air scoops. A light bar and roof pod provide bright LED lighting for off-road trekking. A 6 mm-thick metal skid plate protects the engine and other components while tubular side rails protect the body and chassis.

The bed sports storage boxes and a removable tubular frame that keeps gear in place including the diesel fuels cans, fire extinguisher, axe, shovel, and high-lift jack that come with the truck. 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.

This isn't the first life-size Tonka truck we've seen, not is it even the first Toyota Tonka. The Toyota 4Runner received a Tonka-branded extreme off-road overhaul in 2015, while a Ford F-750 was transformed into a Tonka dump truck that same year for the NTEA truck show.

Although the HiLux is not available in the U.S. market, sales have topped 16 million globally and over 920,000 in Australia alone. The Toyota HiLux Tonka Concept will unfortunately never make it to dealership showrooms but can be seen touring Australian auto shows and expos.