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Our thoughts on the Tonka HiLux

The ute Toyota should build, or a bit “get your hand off it Darryl”?


You may have already seen the wild concept HiLux that Toyota has built in conjunction with Tonka; it’s been kicking around social media for a week or so now. We got up close and personal with the big Sun Fusion (fancy way of saying “yellow”) beast just before this mag went up online and thought we’d share our thoughts.


Before we do though, a quick recap:

It’s 150mm taller than stock; 250mm wider; has carbon fibre bonnet, guards and tailgate; lots of custom steel bar work; 35in Toyo Open Country muddies; heavy duty springs and remote-res shocks; Method race wheels and portal hubs front and rear – manufactured by Marks 4WD Adaptors. All very cool stuff.


We rode along on a lap of a closed course and with the stock rear locker, traction control and more ground clearance than a tennis umpire’s chair it really is incredibly capable, and is undoubtedly the HiLux Toyota should build… which unfortunately will never happen thanks to our ridiculously stringent road rules and, frankly, idiotic ADRs. Sigh.


Regardless, we came away from checking it out filled with a profound respect for the design and engineering team behind the concept (and for Toyota for giving the green light) and an overwhelming desire to own one; however there was also a couple of areas that could use some tweaking in our hoonish opinions.


What we’d do differently:

  • Given road legality isn’t a factor we’d ditch the stock suspension and go a triangulated 4-link in the back, long-travel IFS up front and coilovers all around.
  • The 2.8L td is a fine motor, but about as exciting as a long haul flight sandwiched between two obese people. We’d pluck the 5.7L V8 from the LX570 and then raid the TRD parts bin for a supercharger, which we’d then jam under the high-rose bonnet. Hey, it already looks like a race truck, may as well make it go like one too.


What we liked:

  • Everything they did. Really, they did a top job. The bar work, the functionality, the fact that they used portals (which we love) make it something that any red-blooded ute fan would kill to have parked in the driveway. Plus they said they’d let us drive it on private property (keep an eye out for that in future issue!)

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