The Toyota HiLux Tonka concept has been revealed this week, paying tribute to the popular ute's top sales ranking in Australia last year, along with the 70th and 80th birthdays of the Tonka and Toyota brands respectively.
Based on the flagship SR5 double cab variant, the HiLux Tonka concept features a number of off-road upgrades along with an eye-catching black-and-yellow livery.
The ride height has been raised by 150mm thanks to a high-riding axle, heavy-duty suspension and 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in huge 35-inch tyres, while a new front bumper, carbon-fibre bonnet skin and 'power bulge' up front lend a tough and imposing look.
Off-road LED lighting on the front bar and roof provide enhanced vision in poor lighting conditions. The 6mm-thick alloy bash plate, meanwhile, protects the sump and other vital underbody components. Additionally, tubular side rails help to guard the body and chassis.
At the back, the tailgate is also wrapped in a carbon-fibre skin, incorporating an integrated spoiler and dual air vents. The tray is accessed via a lightweight strap rather than the conventional handle.
Inside the tub, the HiLux Tonka concept features a removable tubular frame which helps secure diesel fuel cans, storage boxes, fire extinguisher, axe, shovel, high-lift jack and a spare wheel.
Under the bonnet is the same 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine from the HiLux SR5, which develops 130kW of power and 450Nm of torque.
Nicolas Hogios, Toyota's product design chief, said the HiLux Tonka concept would capture the imagination of kids and adults alike.
"We have taken Tonka out of the sand pit and reinvented HiLux from top to bottom and from nose to tail," he said.
"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."
Last year, the HiLux became the first vehicle other than a passenger car to become the best seller in Australia – with 42,104 examples of the Toyota ute finding homes in 2016. Globally, sales of the HiLux have topped around 16 million since it was first launched in 1968.
2017 marks Tonka's 70th anniversary, while also being Toyota's 80th year of incorporation.
Unfortunately for fans of the HiLux Tonka concept, it's not destined for showrooms anytime soon. However, it will be touring 4WD shows, field days and expos around the country, giving young fans and the young-at-heart a chance to get up close and personal with the rugged ute.
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