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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist


Hello Junior: ‘Half-ton’ Toyota Hilux Champ officially revealed

Thai-spec model offers a choice of three engines, two bodystyles and standard rear-wheel-drive with either a manual or automatic gearbox.


Close on a year after making its world debut as a concept meant to celebrate 60 years of market presence in Thailand, Toyota has officially removed the wraps from the new Hilux Champ.

From IMV to Champ

Leaked earlier this month on social media, the production version of the IMV 0 Concept revives a moniker last used on the facelift previous generation Hilux – called the Hilux Vigo Champ in Thailand – and represents a back-to-basics bakkie designed around the principle of genchi-genbutsu directly translates as “go and see for yourself”.

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One of 12 pillars that forms part of Toyota’s production system, the body-on-frame Hilux Champ, which debuted in now revealed production spec as the Rangga at the Gaikindo Indonesia International Auto Show in August, rides on the same IMV platform as the Hilux and Fortuner instead of the newer TNGA-F the next generation of both models will use once revealed within the next 12 months.

Dimensions

Premiering as a single cab only similar to the concept, the Thai-spec Champ will be offered as either a chassis cab aimed at facilitating the fitting of any approved bodystyle, or as a drop-side in a line-up spanning eight models.

Toyota Hilux Champ officially revealed
Dropside body comes standard if the chassis cab option isn’t selected. Image: Toyota Thailand

Rumoured at one point to revive the Stout name following the discovery of a trademark application in October last year, the Hilux Champ measures 4 970 mm long, 1 785 mm wide and 1 735 mm tall while riding on a wheelbase stretching 2 750 mm.

Opting for the long wheelbase though sees the overall width and height remain the same, while length increases by 330 mm to 5 300 mm and wheelbase by 335 mm for a total of 3 085 mm.

Toyota Hilux Champ officially revealed
Similar to the long wheelbase, the chassis cab can be had in conjunction with the turbodiesel engine. Image: Toyota

While respective loadbed sizes are 2 312 mm and 2 647 mm, no details surrounding payload was revealed.

Basic

Toyota has finally debuted the new Hilux Champ
Interior borrows from the Hilux and while available with accessorised accents, is basic and without a number of features. Image: Toyota

It’s interior shown for the first time at the Tokyo Auto Show last month where it debuted as the Rangga, the Hilux Champ’s cabin resembles that of its bigger sibling in places, but with a simplified layout devoid of among others, an audio system and on some models, even air-conditioning.

Toyota has finally debuted the new Hilux Champ
Hilux centre console sports two cupholders and either a manual or automatic gearbox. Image: Toyota

While able to customised from a series of official Toyota accessories comprising coloured inserts, standard specification includes electric windows, a height adjustable steering wheel, electric mirrors, dual front airbags, ABS and EBD, a three-speed fan, LED headlights on pricier trim levels and a radio-prep with two-speakers.

Petrol or diesel

Riding on 14-inch steel wheels that can be swapped out for 14-inch alloys as part of the accessory options, the Hilux Champ’s forward motivation comes from two petrol engines and one turbodiesel, all without any electrification and driving the rear wheels only.

Unsurprisingly shared with the Hilux, the range kicks-off with a 2.0-litre petrol that produces 102kW/183Nm. The sole transmission option is a five-speed manual.

Up next, the stalwart 2.7-litre develops 122kW/245Nm send to the rear axle via a six-speed automatic ‘box, while the familiar 2.4 GD-6 turbodiesel comes in two states of tunes; 110kW/343Nm when fitted with the five-speed manual, and 110kW/400Nm when specified with the six-speed automatic.

Thai pricing

In total, four colours are available depending on the model Super White, Silver Metallic, Off White and Dark Grey Metallic.

Toyota has finally debuted the new Hilux Champ
Fully accessorised Hilux Champ. Image: Toyota Thailand

Entering production at Toyota’s Samrong Plant before year-end, pricing for the Hilux Champ kicks-off at 459 000 baht (R244 490) for the short wheelbase 2.0 and ends at 577 000 baht (R307 343) for the 2.4 GD-6 automatic short wheelbase equipped with what Toyota calls the attractive package.

Worth nothing that is the long wheelbase comes exclusively with the oil-burning powerplant mated to either the manual or automatic transmission.

What now for South Africa?

Known to be under consideration for South Africa following comments made earlier this year by Toyota South Africa Motors’ Senior Vice-President for Sales and Marketing, Leon Theron, the Hilux Champ, for now, remains a no-no until otherwise stated.

Additional information from headlightmag.com.

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