Look, here in the United States, we sure love us some Taco. By that we mean the midsize Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, which many folks affectionately refer to by the same name as a tasty portable Southwestern entree. The Tacoma is the best-selling midsize truck in America, by far, and has a reputation for rugged dependability. But it can’t hold a candle to its global relative, the Hilux. Need an example? Our Tacoma distinctly lacks an Arctic-exploration-themed variant.
Okay, so that isn’t exactly a rock-solid argument in favor of the Hilux. But trust us, Arctic exploration isn’t known for its ease and comfort. Meanwhile, the Hilux is globally known for being almost indestructible. This reputation comes in part from Arctic Trucks’ 30 years of experience building Arctic exploration rigs out of Hiluxes, including the famed Hilux featured on the British Top Gear show that made it to the magnetic North Pole. Has a Tacoma been there? No.
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To create the Hilux AT35, a pretty much Choco Taco ice-cream Taco(ma), Arctic Trucks starts with the production Toyota Hilux model named “Invincible X Double Cab” and upgrades it for snow duty. Seriously, the regular truck is named “Invincible X.” You don’t give a truck a name like that and let it go out into the world and fold like a paper crane at its first encounter with an active volcano or the arctic or what have you.
A suspension lift, which includes new springs and Bilstein dampers, raises the Hilux’s ride height by 2.5 inches, bumping the approach and departure angles by 9.0 and 3.0 degrees. The AT35 part of the name carries overlapping references to, we presume, Arctic Trucks (AT), as well as the Hilux’s all-terrain tires, of which the AT35 receives an impressive set: 35-inch BFGoodrich K02s. Along with the 17-inch Arctic Trucks rims and a wider track front and rear, the AT35 is said to bound more swiftly and softly over terrain. To fit the new rolling stock, Arctic Trucks also fiddles with the Hilux’s frame and wheel wells—this isn’t just a lift kit with some big tires.
Arctic Trucks further dresses the AT35 up with its fender flares, side steps, and re-geared front and rear differentials. The truck can also be equipped with the available Vision X front light bar, an onboard tire inflation/deflation system, and a compressor.
Toyota’s 201-hp turbo-diesel engine and a six-speed automatic carry over from the Invincible X, and Arctic Trucks says the Hilux AT35 is rated to tow and haul the same amount as the regular Invincible X. Oh, and you can actually walk into a Toyota dealer in Europe and buy one of these, fully warranted, and drive it to your nearest ice floe or frozen tundra and have at it. The conversion runs £18,780 ($25,000 at current exchange rates!) not including VAT (taxes) or the price of the underlying Hilux Invincible X. Or, you know, you could just run down to your local Toyota dealer here and scoop up a commercial-spec, base-model Tacoma for basically that same amount ($25,630 all-in) that can’t go Arctic exploring but probably will do just fine in cold weather.
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