Toyota Hilux: monster utes the new boys’ toy

Toyota Hilux: monster utes the new boys’ toy

HERE’S proof blokes can’t spend enough on their utes: Toyota has transformed its HiLux into a real-life Tonka Truck.

The latest figures show buyers are spending more on utes than ever before, with the most expensive versions – topping $60,000 – accounting for more than half of Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger sales.

Last year, the Toyota HiLux was Australia’s best-selling vehicle of any type – the first time in our history a ute had topped the sales charts.

Utes now represent four of the top 10 sellers nationally.

Better get a bigger sandpit: the Toyota HiLux Tonka concept ute. Which is why Toyota, Ford and Holden are secretly working on even more expensive “monster utes” that will be on sale within the next two years.

It’s also why Volkswagen just introduced a super-luxury version of its Amarok pick-up, and Mercedes-Benz is planning to get in on the action with its new X-Class ute due next year.

A little more than a decade ago, the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon utes topped the workhorse market.

But since 2006, heavy-duty utes such as the Toyota HiLux have been the tradies’ favourite.

The HiLux Tonka edition is a one-off special created by the 150 designers and engineers who work at Toyota headquarters in Melbourne.

Toyota says families will get to see the Tonka HiLux “in the metal” as it tours 4WD shows, field days and expos around the country.

“We have taken Tonka out of the sandpit and reinvented HiLux from top to bottom and from nose to tail,” Toyota Australia designer Nick Hogios 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.”

Unlike other show cars, the Tonka HiLux actually drives.

Underneath the wild yellow and black bodywork is a HiLux SR5 that’s been jacked up on heavy-duty off-road suspension.

Joshua Dowling