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The Hilux AT irony

The latest version of the Toyota Hilux Arctic Trucks AT35, as authorised and supported by Toyota UK, takes the tough all-terrain qualities of the Hilux to another level. Developed by extreme engineering specialists Arctic Trucks the AT35, based on the recently launched UK spec 150kW 2.8-litre Invincible X Double Cab, features extensive chassis, suspension, handling and styling upgrades that deliver even greater off-road capabilities and amplify its powerful looks.

Established for 30 years, Arctic Trucks has world-leading experience in its field, true to its slogan “Explore Without Limits.” Its many formidable achievements include the first vehicle to be driven to the Magnetic North Pole (the Hilux featured in BBC Top Gear’s famous expedition) and the first passenger vehicle to cross Antarctica.

And herein lies the irony, as ten years ago Toyota South Africa was instrumental in building and preparing the Hilux AT’s for the Antarctica expeditions. Two AT35’s, as well as a number of more extreme AT38’s and AT44’s were built here, and the AT44’s (in four-wheel and six-wheel form) are still in service in Antarctica…  

Following this, a full plan was developed to introduce the Hilux AT35 versions locally but in the end it all came to naught as Toyota SA decided not to support the introduction of AT models, since the manufacturer was not prepared to carry the warranty risk… 

The latest Hilux AT35 benefits from many new and updated features, including the new 150 kW 2.8-litre diesel engine and six-speed auto transmission, carried over from the standard Invincible X, making this most capable Arctic Trucks Hilux yet to be offered through the Toyota UK retail network.

Other significant changes include increased ground clearance (by 65mm) and better approach and departure angles (+9 and +3 degrees), the re-engineering of the vehicle’s frame, inner arches and bodywork and the fitting of 17-inch Arctic Trucks alloys with 35-inch BF Goodrich KO2 All-Terrain tyres. 

The Arctic Trucks Bilstein performance suspension system, featuring front springs and dampers, anti-roll bar adjustment and rear dampers with extended shackles, has been updated, producing an extra 40mm of front and 20mm of rear suspension lift. Torque and drivability are optimised with re-gearing of the front and rear differentials.

The benefits of the conversion include an elevated driving position, superior mobility from the wider front and rear tracks, wider tyres and a larger, “lighter” footprint for more secure driving over soft and delicate terrain. The larger tyres provide an increased suspension effect, giving a smoother and faster ride over rough surfaces. 

They also have a greater range and flexibility for using lower pressures to gain better traction in challenging conditions, and extra practicality is provided by a rear height bar with an integrated two-inch receiver hitch for quick and easy deployment of towbars, winches, steps, gear carriers or other accessories. 

Arctic Trucks styling features include the company’s signature flare package for the front and rear wheel arches, extended-profile side steps, AT35 badging and a 30th anniversary decal. A range of fully fitted options is also available, including full underbody armour, Vision X grille-mounted light bar and Truxedo low-profile load cover. The tyres can be upgraded to BF Goodrich KM3 Mud-Terrain tyres and an on-board inflation/deflation kit can be installed.

All conversion features are carried out by Arctic Trucks technicians to original manufacturer standards, maintaining Toyota’s five-year/100,000-mile new vehicle warranty. The model is fully type approved and retains commercial vehicle status, with no compromise in payload or towing capacity.

So, given that fully owned Toyota subsidiaries in Europe has authorised the AT35 conversion, is it not time for the local introduction of these models, with manufacturer support? How about it, Toyota South Africa?

SEE: https://www.news24.com/Wheels/Hilux-heads-for-bottom-of-world-20101206