Toyota unveils baby ute concept

Toyota unveils baby ute concept
Toyota unveils baby ute concept

Toyota has unveiled its second small ute concept in 12 months – and previews a heavy-duty hybrid reportedly due in Asian showrooms next year.

Japanese car giant Toyota has unveiled its latest vision of what a heavy-duty ute smaller than the HiLux could look like – and it is reportedly coming to South-East Asian showrooms in the next few years.

Unlike car-based, so-called ‘lifestyle’ ute concepts, this design is based on a heavy-duty (or “ladder frame” chassis) for added capability.

The Rangga concept unveiled in Indonesia this month is an evolution of the IMV 0 show car revealed in Thailand last year, and previews a smaller and more affordable – but still heavy-duty – Toyota ute to be positioned beneath the HiLux in developing South-East Asian markets.

Overseas reports claim Toyota has confirmed plans for a production version of the Rangga concept.

MORE: Further details of Toyota HiLux’s smaller affordable sibling emerge, due by 2026 – report

However – even though the Toyota HiLux has been Australia’s top-selling vehicle for the past seven years – there is no guarantee the smaller sibling will come to local showrooms, if it is engineered for developing markets with less stringent safety standards.

Toyota unveiled the Indonesian concept with a number of accessories and fit-outs, from a regular single-cab work ute to an ambulance, ice-cream truck and a low-riding sporty model.

According to Top Gear Phillipines, Toyota has reportedly confirmed the production vehicle will launch with petrol and turbo-diesel engines, ahead of hybrid and electric versions at a later date.

Arrival timing is yet to be disclosed, however it is expected to reach select markets next year.

At the unveiling of the IMV 0 concept last year – the forebear to the Rangga – Toyota’s then-president and CEO Akio Toyoda said: “Its official launch is actually over a year away, but I wanted all of you to be the first to see it.”

The Rangga is thought to be the sub-HiLux-sized Toyota ute confirmed by South African executives early this year, planned for production at the Japanese car giant’s factories in the nation in 2025 or 2026.

“[The ute is] something that’s in the same space but more affordable than the HiLux that we’re looking at releasing around 2025/26,” Glenn Crompton, Toyota South Africa’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications, was quoted as saying earlier this year.

Asian media reports also suggest the vehicle will be built in the south-east Asian region. Toyota has factories in Thailand – where the HiLux is manufactured for Australia – as well as the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Phillippines media reports claim Toyota plans to revive the Tamaraw name – used on a utilitarian pick-up sold by Toyota through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s – with a new vehicle that could be based on the Rangga concept.

There has been speculation this vehicle could adopt the Stout name. A report last week claimed Toyota is considering a ute based on the next Toyota Corolla’s underpinnings, as a rival to the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz car-derived pick-ups sold in the US.

The Rangga appears to derived from last year’s IMV 0 ute concept, which is short for Innovative International Multi-Purpose Vehicle – and is designed to allow the vehicle to be swapped from a ute to a van, or other conversions for different industries based on a common chassis.

The IMV tag has been used internally for the past two generations of Toyota HiLux.

MORE: Toyota Corolla-based ute on the cards – report

While not confirmed, the transfer of the IMV tagline to the Rangga – which is smaller, cheaper and more utilitarian than today’s HiLux – hints the next-generation HiLux could move “upmarket”, with a stiffer, more expensive chassis and less focus on workhorse buyers.

It is in line with reports the next-generation Toyota HiLux is planned to adopt the Japanese car giant’s TNGA-F architecture spreading to nearly all body-on-frame Toyota vehicles, from the US-market Toyota Tacoma ute to the full-size LandCruiser 300 Series.

However this remains speculation for now, and has not been confirmed by Toyota.

The post Toyota unveils baby ute concept appeared first on Drive.

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