The Toyota Hilux became famous for its durability after Top Gear put one through an absolutely brutal series of tests, including demolishing a building with a Hilux on top. The Hilux is more than just an unkillable truck, though. It’s also a great starting point for a number of utilitarian applications. A UK-based upfitter, 6×6 Hiload, specializes in converting the Hilux into various six-wheeled emergency, utility, and even military vehicles.
6×6 Hiload’s converted chassis adds 1,230mm (48 inches) and an additional axle to either two- or four-door Toyota Hilux cabs. That converted chassis isn’t just longer, though, it’s also beefed up, with a payload capacity of 3,000 kg (6,613 lbs), and is available with a self-leveling air suspension. As for the 6×6 drivetrain, it features a transfer case that can lock it in 6×6 or 6×4 configurations.
The applications for the 6×6 Hiload chassis are almost endless but the company mainly provides chassis to specialist conversion companies, along with engineering support.
Fire and recue applications include light-duty, off-road firetrucks and ambulances, both for emergency services and even militaries. For firefighting, the massive payload allows the 6×6 Hilux to carry all of the water, hoses, and various other bits of firefighting gear, while its six-wheeled drivetrain allows it to get into heavily wooded areas for forest fires. As an ambulance, its added length allows for a large rear passenger compartment for both patients, EMTs, and all necessary medical equipment.
There are several other military applications as well, such as troop carriers (which can come with massive extendable ladders), and even mobile heavy weapons. There are 105mm cannon and even 120mm mortar systems that can be fitted to the 6×6 chassis.
For less dangerous situations, local governments and contractors can use the 6×6 Hilux chassis for commercial vehicles, such as plows, dump trucks, and even powerline repair trucks. 6×6 Hiload is also working on an electric mining truck, in partnership with FD 4×4 Centre in Holland, who makes a Hilux-based electric truck for underground mining.
The Toyota Hilux is one of the most durable and reliable vehicles on the planet but 6×6 Hiload proves it’s also one of the most versatile.
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