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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Hilux Champ is the name as Toyota’s new small bakkie leaks

Reported last month as debuting before year-end, the latest claim suggests Toyota will officially remove the wraps in Thailand on 27 November.

The alleged reveal before year-end of the production version of Toyota’s much reported on junior Hilux appears to have been accurate based on leaked social media images from Thailand.

Clearest look

Last month, a report from the Philippines claimed the sub-Hilux, rumoured to the called Tamaraw for the domestic market, will enter production before the conclusion of 2023 after bowing as the Rangga Concept at the Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show in August.

ALSO READ: ‘Junior’ Toyota Hilux tipped for production by year-end but …

Effectively, an evolution of the IMV 0 Concept that debuted in the Thai capital Bangkok last year as a celebration of Toyota’s 60th anniversary in said market, the entry-level bakkie, which will have input from Toyota-owned Daihatsu, now appears set to adopt a new name as indicated by the uncovered images.

Call me Hilux Champ, not junior

Leaked by the Kurdistan_Automotive_Blog Instagram page, the apparent production Rangga/IMV 0 appears little changed from the concepts, bar the inclusion of “hanging” taillights, a satin silver front skidplate and aftermarket alloy wheels wrapped around chunkier than normal wheels.

Production Toyota Rangga spied as renamed Hilux Champ
Rangga/IMV 0 Concept looks set to become Toyota’s smallest bakkie below the Hilux. Image: Toyota

While shown with various bodystyles ranging from an ambulance, camper van, ice-cream van to a light-duty fire truck and most recently, as an off-road accessorised “dual cab” and delivery vehicle at the Tokyo Mobility Show, the depicted model sports a dropside loadbox similar to that of the Rangga.

Arguably of greater interest is the newcomer’s name. Although rumoured until now to be reviving the Stout name based on the discovery of a trademark submission in October last year, the attached numberplates identifies the tiny tyke as the Hilux Champ.

Toyota tipped to start Rangga production at year-end
Until now, the Hilux Champ had been known as the Rangga, though the Tamaraw name could still to be used in the Philippines. Image: carscoops.com via Top Gear Philippines.

A name last used on the facelift previous generation Hilux in Thailand, known in full as the Hilux Vigo Champ from 2012 to 2015 – the current model being sold there as the Hilux Revo – the new Champ will reportedly show itself on 27 November as the first sub-Hilux since the Stout bowed-out in 1989.

Pair of bakkies?

Reportedly one of two small bakkies Toyota is working on, the other being an alleged unibody based on the Corolla Cross’s TNGA-C platform rumoured for unveiling in 2025 or 2026, the Kurdistan leak provides no further details as to the choice of engines the Hilux Champ will derive motivation form.

Production Toyota Rangga spied as renamed Hilux Champ
One of the many variations of the Rangga showcased at the Tokyo Mobility Show last month. Image: Toyota

As its stands, expectations point to both petrol and turbodiesel engines depending on the market, along with a hybrid with an all-electric variant unlikely to materialise initially.

Both manual and automatic transmission options are also set to be offered as well, in addition to rear-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive drive based on the engine options and market.

South Africa known to want it

Besides Asia, the Hilux Champ, a moniker likely to be used solely in Thailand unless otherwise indicated, is well-known to be under consideration for South Africa, albeit not as a half-ton and therefore not a direct replacement for the outgoing Nissan NP200.

Production Toyota Rangga spied as renamed Hilux Champ
Rangga/IMV 0 envisioned as a “dual cab” off-roader. Image: Toyota

“It won’t be a half-ton bakkie. We believe it will take the market by storm and are still doing a lot of development around it,” Toyota South Africa Motor’s Senior Vice-President for Sales and Marketing, Leon Theron, was quoted by IOL Motoring as saying at a media discussion in May when asked about the feasibility of a locally made sub-Hilux model.

Clock has started ticking

Despite Toyota having remained mum on the leaks, prospects are that official details, in the form of teasers, could well be released within the coming days and weeks should the 27 November date-of-reveal prove accurate.

If therefore true, and approved for South Africa, expect the Hilux Champ to make landfall either in 2024 or 2025, before or after the debut of next generation Hilux tipped for the same years.

NOW READ: Half-ton ‘junior’ Toyota Hilux tipped again for production

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